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NANCY SZERLAG

Gardening: It’s not too late to plant vegetables

Nancy Szerlag
Special to The Detroit News

I got a call last week from the OPC, the senior citizens center in Rochester, telling me a plot was available in their community garden and it has my name on it. Great, just in time to plant a late season veg garden. I couldn’t find a tomato plant at local garden centers, so I decided to start one from a cutting off one I’m growing in a container.

Cherry tomatoes or short season varieties, such as Early Girl and 4th of July, are your best bets for late season planting. I harvested my cutting in the cool of the morning, about a 6-inch long stem, from the top of the plant. Using a sharp knife I cut it back to 4 inches, just below an internode, and removed all but two leaves. Then I put the cutting in a tall glass of filtered water and placed it on a windowsill in bright, indirect light. Within a week roots began to emerge and I potted the cutting in a 4- inch container of damp potting soil, being careful not to damage the tiny roots. It’s now hardening off on the front porch, and when I see new growth I’ll plant it in my garden plot.

Basil is also quick to root in water, so I took some cuttings from a fresh bunch I purchased at the farmers market. They, too, have been potted up and are waiting for a break in the weather.

There’s also plenty of time to plant seeds of leafy greens in containers or garden plots for an early fall harvest. Contenders include lettuces, kale chard, spinach and broccoli raab. Carrots, peas and beets are also on the list along with parsley, cilantro and chives.

English Gardens carries Botanical Interest seeds throughout the year at all their Metro Detroit stores or you can get them by mail order from Renee’s Garden (888) 880-7228. For more information on second season gardening, go to her website at reneesgarden.com/articles/second_season.html

Share garden bounty

with those in need

If your garden is overflowing and you’re up to your ears in zucchini and tomatoes, here’s the perfect solution: Donate your extra produce to a soup kitchen or a food pantry.

To locate one near you go to pantrynet.org and click on pantry locator. It works by ZIP code. Don’t have a computer? Pop over to your local library and ask for assistance. Or, check with local churches. Many have started food programs to help out folks.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to Yardener.com and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnews.com/homestyle.