FREEZING CORN AND OTHER AUGUST GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Horticulturist
and Charlie Nardozzi, Garden Consultant
Freezing corn for winter enjoyment, starting fall greens in the garden, and dividing some perennials are gardening activities for this month.
Harvest sweet corn early in the day for the best flavor. Squeeze
ears to see if they're firm and wait to harvest until the silks
have browned and dried. Eat them immediately unless you’re growing
the supersweet varieties, which will hold their sweetness for a
few days. Store ears in the refrigerator. If you don’t grow sweet
corn, or enough to store, buy some locally at farmer’s markets or
farmstands to cut off the cob and freeze for great winter eating.
Make sure and blanche the shucked ears first.
Blanching is simply boiling vegetables for a short period to kill
enzymes that cause their deterioration. For sweet corn, place
ears in boiling water for four to six minutes, then remove them
and cool in cold water. Using a knife or corn scraper, remove
kernels and place them on cookie sheets or trays in a freezer.
Once frozen, store kernels in resealable plastic freezer bags.
Make sure to use freezer bags, as regular plastic storage bags
won’t keep produce fresh in the freezer. Freezing before bagging
keeps them from freezing into a solid lump.
It’s time to start some mesclun greens and leaf lettuce in bare
spots in the garden for fall picking. Mix in some compost before
seeding and give new seedlings a dose of liquid fish emulsion. You
can even start snow peas and beans for a modest fall crop. Soak
the pea seeds overnight to hasten germination.
Late summer is a good time to divide German and Siberian iris,
rudbeckia, echinacea, daylilies, and tall phlox. If plants are
blooming well, with strong stems, and you still have space for
them, they shouldn’t need division. Don't make the divisions too
small or you'll wait longer for blooms. Wait until after bloom to divide. Trim the foliage by
at least half before replanting.
Be sure to set bearded iris rhizomes (the thick roots) just
barely below the soil surface to prevent rotting. When dividing
these iris, check the rhizomes for mushy areas with borers.
Discard affected roots, making sure to kill the borers.
Don't rely on nature to provide enough water for trees and shrubs
that you've planted this spring or summer. Deep watering once a
week will encourage deep roots, which better withstand droughts
and better anchor trees.
In the landscape, lavender is a low herb used for its gray-green
to silvery leaves, or its lavender blue flowers in July or
August. Depending on the species and season, they may bloom from
four to eight weeks. Flowers contain lots of nectar, so are
attractive to bees.
Return to Perry's Perennial Pages: Green Mountain Gardener Articles-- your reliable source of gardening information for over 50 years.