Gardeners start your vegetables this month. August is the beginning of nine months of great gardening that includes the fall warm, winter cool and spring warm season crops. By starting early you ensure the best harvests during the fall months.
One requirement for great crops is a full sun exposure. Some gardeners want to bargain when if comes to light. Might they be able to plant in filtered sun or maybe a half day of sun? Some crops like lettuce, collards, cabbage and onions can tolerate these conditions but best yields are still in the full sun.
Next try to improve your soil. With large garden sites this may be difficult but with small gardens you can often mix in compost, peat moss or other sources of organic matter before each planting. Also, have the soil acidity checked. Most plantings need a soil pH of around 6.5. Tests are performed at most University of Florida Extension Offices for free or a minimal charge.
Gardens in containers need plenty of room to grow. One problem with tomatoes is blossom-end rot. This is a physiological disease where the plants cannot take up needed calcium. If the containers are too small for these plants, they cannot take up adequate water and calcium. So give your larger plants big containers and keep them moist.
Speaking of moisture – make sure there is a water supply near by. It is no fun bucketing water to your plantings. Try to have a hose handy to make the watering easy. Some assemble drip or irrigation systems to take some of the labor out of watering.
Lastly feed your garden. All vegetables need fertilizer. You can choose between organic and traditional fertilizers. Both can help produce good crops when provided regularly. Usually vegetables need feedings every 3 to 4 weeks. You may make feedings easier by applying a slow release fertilizer. These can feed the crops for several months which may be the only feeding they need.
Now what are you going to plant for the warm season garden? Remember you need to plant the crops that can take the heat. Below is my list of both vegetables and herbs you might grow starting in August.
Vegetables: Cantaloupe, collard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, lima bean, okra, pepper, pumpkin, snap bean, southern pea, squash, tomato and watermelon.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme.
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