DIY





August Gardener's Almanac

Regional and seasonal gardening tips for where you live from the Gardener's Almanac.

| August/September 2005

Maritime Canada & New England

Tomato days have arrived. August brings the first ripe cherry tomatoes, and then a steadily increasing number of larger fruits. By September, the tomatoes sit in bowls and buckets to be turned into salsa and sauces.ays of plenty also are here as raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, currants, gooseberries, plums and cherries begin to ripen. Broccoli, green beans and summer squash abound. Harvest your garlic and hang it in an airy, dry place. The second nesting of baby robins fledge in mid-August, signaling time to plant fall spinach and greens. Edamame soybeans fill out to shelling size in late August. Blanch the fuzzy pods and cool them for easy shelling. September brings cooler nights and ripening melons, a sweet end to the season that can last all winter if the melons are sliced thin and dried in a dehydrator. As crops mature, sow oats or winter rye as a cover crop on the open ground.

 — Roberta Bailey, FEDCO Seeds, Waterville, Maine


Mid-Atlantic

Early August is the last chance for planting zucchini, cucumbers and beans. Continue weekly sowings of carrots, kohlrabi, radishes and greens. For quicker germination, soak fall beet seeds (‘Lutz Green Leaf’ is a good variety) in water for two to 12 hours before planting. Spinach seeds will germinate better in hot weather if you sprout them in the fridge for three to seven days — soak in water for several hours, then rinse and drain daily. Keep berries watered and mulched for next year’s crop. Thin the strawberries and use the thinnings to start a new bed. In September, add cold-hardy Asian greens, daikon (white Japanese radish), scallions, arugula, mizuna, kale, mustard, tat soi and winter lettuces to your weekly plantings for good winter eating. Sow cover crops of oats, rye, clover and vetch wherever the ground is open. ‘Wrens Abruzzi’ rye is adapted to the South and grows rapidly in cool weather, suppressing and smothering weeds.

 — Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Mineral, Va.




Southern Interior

It’s time to gear up for fall gardening, but find a shady spot in midday and save heavier work for cooler mornings or evenings. In northern parts, start transplanting brassicas into the garden in August, but wait until September in warmer southern areas. Plant a second crop of beans, cucumbers and summer squash to mature before frost. As the days start cooling, sow lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, beets, carrots and other fall and winter favorites. Water carefully, or keep new plantings shaded until your seeds germinate, but watch closely and remove coverings as soon as seedlings emerge. Start flower seeds or set out bedding plants now for fall. You can plant short-day onion seed in September for an early summer harvest. If your garden has any bare soil showing, there is time for a quick crop of buckwheat to crowd out weeds and enrich the soil before frost.

 — Lori Hardee and Karen Park Jennings, Park Seed Co., Greenwood, S.C.

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