I was sitting on my porch the other day — yes I do that a lot — watching the birds, enjoying what breeze there was, and thinking about the things that worked, or didn’t work, in my garden so far this year.

There are always things I want to do that don’t get done but I’m better about letting them go than I used to be.



Not as much guilt that I didn’t get plants moved that needed to be moved, or divided either. In my defense, it was such a wet spring and my perennials were delayed for so long that I thought I had lost some to the layer of ice that covered them during the winter.

Now they are putting on the growth that they should have put on in June, but I’ll take it gratefully. At least they didn’t die.

Most of my plants are at mature size now, so it’s the perfect time to make a list of what will need to be divided next spring.


Keeping track of your plants, shrubs, trees, and vegetables is always a good idea. If you have a record of how they did; whether they had diseases that you might be able to nip in the bud next year, if they need dividing, pruning, staking before they keel over, or other attention, planning in advance will save you from guessing.

We always think we’ll remember, but frequently don’t. Even location is important to document.

When you go to rotate your vegetable crop next year, will you remember where everything was this year? Last year? Remember that rotating crops means not putting vegetables from the same family in the same place as other family members two, or even three, years in a row.

That means no peppers where the tomatoes have been. Didn’t know they were in the same family? I would be happy to provide you a factsheet listing family members, and rotation suggestions.


The purpose of rotating crops has to do with what has been taken out of the soil, but more importantly, what may be left behind. Vegetables in the same family as susceptible to many of the same diseases, insects, and other nasty things.

For happy vegetables, rotate every three years.

Many of you are probably thinking that I am not being realistic. If you don’t have space to rotate you can’t. That’s my situation too, but I have taken to putting tomatoes in with my perennials, and taking some time off from vegetables that I can manage without for a season.



I wanted green beans this year so didn’t plant anything in the squash family. The good folks at the Farmers’ Market grow all the squash I want and I am happy to support them.

A reminder: if your neighbors won’t answer the door when you come calling with yet another basket of zucchini, take your surplus to one of our local food shelves.


On Tuesday, Sept. 10, we are sponsoring a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Montreal. We are accepting paid reservations until the coach is full, so don’t dawdle if you want to come along.

The cost is $65, which includes round-trip transportation and admission to the gardens.

Contact me for more information at jmw442@cornell.edu

Jolene Wallace is the consumer horticulture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. Contact her at 518-561-7450 or jmw442@cornell.edu.