What to do in your early summer backyard garden

Published on Thursday, June 28, 2012

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What to do in your early summer backyard garden

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Early summer in the Upstate is a great time for backyard gardens.

If you’re like me and got sidetracked with other projects this spring, you’ve just started thinking about planting. If you’ve already been working in your garden, you’ve probably got an abundance of veggies that you’re now wondering what to do with.

I wanted to get some summer garden questions answered, so I had coffee this week with Christa Hanson, a local garden blogger and social media manager for Growing a Greener World. She’s a fantastic source of information on sustainable living, urban farming, and gardening (you can find her on Twitter here).

Christa shared the following tips with me, and I wanted to share them with you.

First, it’s not too late to plant. The greater Greer area is in Zone 8, which allows for an extended season of spring and summer planting. Here are a few veggies you can plant this weekend in your summer garden:

  • corn
  • cucumbers
  • peppers
  • eggplants
  • summer squash
  • tomatoes

If you planted a garden in the spring, chances are that by now you have more zucchini, squash, and tomatoes than you know what to do with. There are lots of things you can do with your abundance of veggies after you’ve given bags full to everyone in your neighborhood.

 • Low-pressure canning –  this is an easy way to can high-acid foods, using boiling water. Check out a how-to here.

• Freezing –  most veggies can be frozen with good success, including bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, leeks, and shredded zucchini.

 • Root cellar  – we think of root cellars as things from the days of our grandparents or great-grandparents, but they’re making a modern comeback. Root cellars are a natural way to extend the life of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips.

 • Food banks – more food banks are taking fresh vegetables. Donating your extra harvest to a food bank enables low-income families to have fresh produce, particularly in urban areas where people live in apartments. Visit Ample Harvest to see what food banks near you accept fresh produce.

 I was inspired as Christa shared her thoughts about the community aspect of growing and harvesting. “It’s a great sharing thing, a friendship thing. You can give and exchange what you’re growing with your neighbors and your friends. And even beyond that, to people in need in your community.”





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