RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Even in the garden, timing is everything—as anyone who hasn’t kept up with the weeding well knows. But if you haven’t done as much gardening this summer as you wanted to, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your garden-tending window completely. In fact, there are lots of ways you can still get your hands dirty. For suggestions, Rodale.com turned to Mike McGrath, host of the radio show You Bet Your Garden, broadcast on WHYY FM in Philadelphia and syndicated nationally. Here are his picks for you late bloomers out there:
#1: Grow garlic.
“If it were up to me,” says McGrath, “This would be numbers 1, 2, and 3 on everybody’s list: Plant garlic, plant garlic, plant garlic. It’s just ridiculously easy to grow, and, because good garlic is so expensive, you’ll get a great return on your investment.” People in colder, northern parts of the U.S. should begin planting garlic in mid-August, while people in warmer climes can wait until mid-September. That means you’ll need to order your bulbs now. Order from a major seed catalog (to avoid fungus), suggests McGrath, and they’ll ship the bulbs out as soon as they’re ready for growing, which means you’ll get the best quality.
#2: Beat the bushes for bush beans.
There’s no time to mail-order seeds for these beans that grow on bushes as opposed to vines. Head to an independent garden center, scour their shelves for bush bean seeds, and plant immediately. “Some varieties will produce their first edible pods for you about 50 days after you put the seeds in the ground,” says McGrath.