August Garden Planting
I’m a summer girl and if you’re like me, fall is coming all too quickly! Here’s a way keep that summer feeling going, and maybe even get your kids to join in on one last project before heading back to school; plant some fall vegetables. It’s not too late to plant and grow a few veggies whether you’re currently harvesting and now have empty space in your garden, or you didn’t get around to planting at all this year (that would be me).
Here are a few things to consider if you choose to plant this month.
Cool-season crops that mature when temperatures drop in the fall are much tastier and have a better texture than those that mature in the heat of midsummer. You want them to mature later, so plant them later. These crops can include leafy vegetables such as lettuce, chard and spinach, the root crops including carrots and beets, and cole crops such as broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower and cabbage. They are cold tolerant, so they are not damaged by light frosts in early fall.
In deciding what you’ll plant, check the days to maturity for each crop you want to grow; add a week or two to the days to harvest, to factor in the shortening of days as autumn approaches. Consider starting with plants versus seeds to have a more prolific yield. Choose crops that can come to harvest before frost, or crops that do not mind being touched by frost or cool weather. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Orem’s first fall frost occurs around October 10 with a 30% probability.
Another thing to consider planting now would be fruit trees and bushes, which would yield next summer, and add beauty and an edible landscape to your yard.
Cooks Farm & Greenhouse and Sun River Gardens are two Orem nurseries that have both vegetable and fruit plants available this month, and have specialists on hand to answer questions and give advice.
If you do decide to start anything from seed, you’ll want to consider keeping the soil moist, which can be a trick in higher temperatures. You’ll want to sprinkle them down daily and even twice per day when it’s hovering around 100 degrees or higher. Covering them with burlap or Reemay fabric is another great idea. This holds the moisture and lets you water without washing away the seeds.
Finally, to see a major difference in your garden, fertilize the plants at planting, and according to your nursery specialist. That gives a bigger plant with much better yields, and most people don’t realize how much difference that makes in their garden.
You can enjoy so many benefits from an August garden – watching things grow, enjoying fresh grown produce, and spending time with Mother Nature. What could be better?!
-Tanya Harmon, Beautification Commission Member