A Note From Rick | August - Full Steam Ahead!

August 15, 2022

By Rick Bogusch, Kathleen Kennedy

Bridge Gardens

Summer squashes, cucumbers, kale, chard, carrots and summer lettuce joined the first tomatoes, peppers and eggplants of the season to make a substantial harvest for the food pantry this week. Expecting similar bounty in the weeks to come, our weekly harvest volunteers are busier than ever!


Eggplants ripen on the vine

We’re grateful for our reliable volunteers who help us manage the bounty that comes from our edible landscape and especially in the vegetable gardens. Deliveries to the food pantry are every Monday by 11:00 a.m., and being able to provide their clients with fresh produce every week is a highlight for us.

You may have noticed that the sun is starting to set a little earlier and the evenings are a little more enjoyable than what we experienced during the oppressive heat and humidity of just a week or so ago.

This doesn’t mean that summer is coming to a close soon - we’re full steam ahead as we plan for late summer and early autumn harvest. Now is the time to sow seeds of cabbage, broccoli and fennel, as well as carrots, bush beans and beets. If you want fresh lettuce in the coming months, sow seeds in flats for planting out in a couple of weeks, when the sun isn’t as strong and the weather a bit cooler. Cucumber and zucchini can be seeded like this as well - try it.


Swiss chard, kale, tomatoes and more, rimmed by marigolds

One of the best things about the summer season is the number of visitors I’m seeing in the gardens. So many people stop by to visit, stroll the garden pathways, and enjoy the picnic tables with a friend or two. Stop by with your lunch and relax under the shade of the large white pine, one of our oldest trees here at Bridge Gardens.


Pink coneflower, purple globe thistle and our white pine tree

There’s so much in bloom in the Herb Garden right now. In the ornamental bed, you’ll notice the purple spikes of globe thistle, bright pink coneflower and yellow coreopsis drawing the attention of all manner of pollinators.

In the culinary bed, varieties of basil, mint, fennel, oregano, thyme and more scent the air. While I try to harvest these at their peak, I am content to let the bees, tiny wasps, and many butterflies enjoy the nectar that is found throughout. Many varieties of herbs can be grown and dried for use in winter months. If you don’t have a large garden space, a patio pot - or two - will do just fine.


Culinary herbs

The textile bed offers bright yellow black-eyed Susan, zinnia, marigold, and even a burgundy-leaved cotton plant. The planning of our 4-quadrant herb garden was originally the work of Bridge Gardens founders, Jim Kilpatric and Harry Neyens. I’ve worked to enhance their design by adding new and interesting varieties of both perennial and annual herbs that are both useful and beautiful. I hope you enjoy the new signage we’ve placed throughout the herb garden that identifies what you are seeing.

Our community gardeners have been enjoying large harvests, the fruits of their labor from spring seedlings and seedings. All 24 of the garden plots are very productive, and gardeners are harvesting everything from zucchini, peppers and tomatoes to artichokes, beans, kale and plenty of beautiful zinnias, dahlias and more.

In the orchard, planted only three years ago, we’re seeing ripening apples and a few pears. The harvest is light but the trees are still fairly immature. At this year’s spring pruning workshop, led by Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics, I learned some important tips that I hope will make the harvest more plentiful in years to come. In the meantime, the orchard is managed using only organic applications, and the orchard grows in our low-mow, grassy meadow. Permaculturalists encouraged me to plant spring daffodils around each tree to deter damage by voles. It seems to work.

Now is a great time to enjoy your own garden, and to visit us! There’s much to see at Bridge Gardens in August as perennials, shrubs and trees flourish in the warmth of late summer.

See you in the Garden,

~~~ Rick


Japanese anemone

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