Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August- Planting Fall Crops

Late Summer in the garden is a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  It's also time to plant cool-season crops, so you can harvest fresh vegetables well into the Fall and Winter.   As we harvested mature crops that we planted in the Spring, like garlic and onions, we created open space for new plantings.  One  the best parts of planting in August is that the soil is warm.  Therefore, the seeds germinate quickly and the beds will look full again fairly quick.

Our August 1- plant list:
bok choy
lettuce- mesclun mix

Our Late August- plant list:
fava beans

Soil preparation- we added soil-building compost to several beds that were lacking organic material.

Kale seeds saved from plants that were planted last Fall.  The seeds ripened in July.

Planting tip- the weather is often warm with little rain in August.  Water the soil well before planting if the soil is very dry.  Water after planting to settle in the seeds.  Lightly water daily to make sure your soil doesn't dry out.  You want your soil to be like a damp sponge (not a soppy-wet one).  When your seedlings are an inch tall or so, the roots should be down far enough that you can water every two or three days depending on the weather and how well-drained your soil is.

Once we get further along into September, the rains return and the temperatures cool, so watering is no longer a chore.

Young Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale

Pest Tips- White Cabbage Moths are still out and about laying eggs on the leaves of Brassica plants (cabbage, kale, turnips, rutabaga, etc.)  Place clean white eggs shell halves (not crushed) around your young plants to discourage the moths from landing.  They are territorial and think the shells are other moths.  

Also, if you notice holes in your brassica leaves, look for the tiny green caterpillar and squish it.  Keep an eye out for slugs too.  They love bok choy and lettuce.  

Soil Preparation for Beets- we added wood ash from our fireplace.    

Young Beets- Cylindrical, Red Ace & Winterkeeper

Peas- we lost some fresh peas in the back of the fridge, they sprouted, so we decided to take them back outside and plant them.

Young Mesclun Mix- we're eating fresh salad once again.  It only took one month from planting to reach our plate.

Every year we like to try to grow something new.  For this Fall it's Fava Beans.  I read that they love cool weather and will overwinter.  I'm so excited to see how they turn out. 

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