Seasonal Tips for Gardening Zones August-September 2003

Carol Mack shares important seasonal tips for gardening zones in New England/Maritime Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Interior, the Gulf Coast, Central/Midwest, North Central and Rockies, Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.


| August/September 2003



Timely gardening tips for where you live.

Timely gardening tips for where you live.


ILLUSTRATION: DIANE A. RADER

Learn about current August and September seasonal tips for gardening zones in the U.S.

New England/Maritime Canada Gardening

Harvest time is here, the culmination of months of seedling care, mulching and watering. Pick apples and make raspberry, blueberry or blackberry applesauce with five parts apples to one part berries — a great way to improve the flavor of the mild early apples. Are hungry birds a problem in your fruit patch? Frighten them away with scare-eye balloons or metallic flashtape that shimmers in the wind. I cover bramble rows with a fine mesh net, placing stakes with T-shaped crosspieces every 6 feet to keep the mesh from getting entangled with the plants. Or try placing a fabric row cover over the top of an entire row of berries just as they ripen. The lightest weight offers a few degrees of added heat, which can be beneficial in the North in all but the hottest weather.

Mid-Atlantic Gardening

Every-other-day harvests and canning sessions make this a busy season. But don't neglect strawberries and asparagus beds — keep them watered and weeded. Sift compost and cover it, or move it to the greenhouse to mellow over winter. Inventory garlic and perennial onion planting stock and order any varieties you will need — I recommend 'Brown Tempest' garlic and yellow potato onions for our area. Sow lettuce every five days, ideally near trees that provide afternoon shade.

About Aug. 20, switch to cold-tolerant lettuce varieties. Sow beets, carrots, kohlrabi, chard, beans and summer squash every week through August until the weather cools. Weekly sowings of radishes, turnips and hardy greens can continue through cool fall weather. When the seedlings are up, thin and weed, and under-sow with white Dutch clover. Take advantage of early September rains to transplant fall brussicas and to seed scallions and Daikon radishes.

Southern Interior Gardening

At this point in the growing season, you should be enjoying the bounty from your vegetable garden, but even with these delicious choices in hand, its not too early to start thinking about the fall season. Lettuce is an ideal cool-weather crop and should be sown in late summer. Kohlrabi is an excellent fall crop the earlier varieties are ready in 40 to 60 days after being set out. Fall planting of short-day-type onion seed will produce an early summer harvest. Mustard greens, another Southern favorite, should be planted six to eight weeks before the first fall frost. Plant radishes in late summer as well. Depending on the variety, they can lx ready to eat in about 30 days. A late summer sowing of spinach produces a fall crop, which will overwinter in mild areas and produce again in the springtime.

Gulf Coast Gardening

Its time to prepare for the best garden season of all — fall! Hot as it is, plant snow peas now to produce in the cooler weather. Plant seed for broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage transplants through mid-August. Give the seedlings some afternoon shade and you should have transplants ready to go into the ground in late September. If nematodes have been a problem in your garden, take advantage of a rainless spell to "dry-till" the soil. Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that attack plant roots and cause large knots. They require soil moisture to survive, so tilling the soil while it's dry and hot can significantly reduce their numbers. (The process isn't much fun for gardeners, either, but we usually survive.) Work compost into areas that will be planted with fall crops, and seed the rest with a cereal rye cover crop that further helps reduce nematodes.





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