The Washington Post

Late-summer gardening advice from Adrian Higgins

After his Local Living cover story on late-summer gardening, Adrian Higgins hosted an online chat with readers. Here are some of his top tips:

1. For a fall crop in a planter box, try greens.

“I confined my piece today to lettuce, but there are many other greens that will grow merrily in the fall, such things as mesclun mixes, radicchio, spinach, kale, bok choy and other Asian greens. This is also the season for turnips.

2. Romanesco broccoli likes more temperate climates.

“The key is to provide sufficient moisture to forestall bolting. You might have better luck putting them in the garden in early August for a fall crop. “

3. Save garlic planting for the fall.

“Garlic is best grown from cloves planted in October. The bulbs are harvested the following summer. Garlic doesn’t grow as well here as in less hot and humid places.”

4. Don’t despair over hydrangeas that didn’t bloom.

“This is down to the harsh winter, which killed the buds of flowering stems that developed last year. As long as you don’t prune them harshly, they should bloom next year if the winter cooperates.”

5. Don’t despair over pea gravel, either.

“I love pea gravel in the soil — especially our dense, clay soil. Your plants will like it, too. It opens up the soil and brings in air and drainage. You would be amazed what likes to grow in gravel soil.”

6. Consider uprooting a fungus-inflicted plant.

“Any plant that needs fungicide on a regular basis should be replaced, in my view.”

More on summer gardening:

Read about the five annuals you should plant now to revive a hot summer garden.

See photos and read more about the plants.

Margaret Ely is a digital editor for Lifestyle. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.
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