Welcome to my special gardening page for those of you who like to garden yourselves! Each week, I will make suggestions as to what gardening tasks we need to do during the growing season. It will help keep you on track--as well as myself!
To keep things simple, I am using the year's weekly number, Week #1 through #52 (example: the week of January 1 is Week #1), instead of specific dates.
So, come on! Let's get our hands dirty!
Seeds to Plant in August
There is still time to extend your growing season past the first frosts, by planting cool weather crops. Planting cool weather crops in warmer weather will make them germinate more quickly, but they will slow down as the weather cools and the days get shorter. Most of the cool weather vegetables will actually taste better and sweeter after they have been touched by frost. They will continue to produce until a really hard freeze. Some, like kale and chard, may survive the winter entirely, but they will bolt and set seed instead of producing leaves next year.
Kale, Spinach, Chard, Lettuces (any leafy green)
Leafy greens are great to plant now and through the fall. All of these will improve in flavor the cooler it gets, especially after a light frost.
Start seeds in seed trays or directly in the ground. Plant six to eight seeds per plug in trays or together in the ground. Harvest at desired size, by pulling up the entire group of plants at once. They can also be planted in between other plants in the garden.
Radishes are great to grow this time of year. They are such a fast crop, that you can get maybe three or four successions planted before it gets too cold for them. So, for the best quality, plant only a small batch at a time, a week apart for the next four to six weeks. Plant in groups of five or six, either directly in the ground or in plug trays.
Again, plant in groups of five or six (see radishes). Beets that are planted in the autumn have far superior flavor compared to spring planted plants.
Hardy annual flower seeds started in the autumn mostly won't germinate until early next spring. These seeds need a period of “cold stratification”, meaning they need a period of freezing weather to initiate germination.
The exception to that would be biennials, which germinate and grow a small plant the first year, then flower, set seed and die the second year. Please refer to my blog post on biennials for more information.
Before direct seeding outside, make sure you prepare your beds before hand. Most of these seeds need to be sprinkled on top of the soil and need light to germinate, so you cannot add any compost or mulch after you have seeded.
Larkspur is a lovely spike flower that grows up to 3ft tall and comes in blues, purples, whites and pinks. It is amazingly easy to grow and reseeds all over the place.Usually, once you plant it and bring it to flower, you never have to plant it again.
This is one plant that may germinate before frost, but don't worry, it will stay a tiny plant till next spring when it will burst forth in a beautiful display.
All poppies need cold stratification, so it doesn't matter what kind you want to grow. If growing for cut flowers, sprinkle the tiny seeds very thinly in rows. If growing in landscape garden, just toss them around willy nilly amongst other plants for a serendipitous display in the spring.
Nigella (Love in a Mist)
Nigella is a delicate flower which is followed by a very interesting seed pod, coveted by florists. Again, just sprinkle on top of the soil.
Who doesn't love Cosmos! Those tall dancing daisy like flowers with lacy foliage. They come in pinks, purples, reds, burgundies, and violets. There is even a different variety that produces yellow and orange colors. These plants get pretty big, so sow sparingly and lightly rake to cover.
These are another flower that you will probably only have to plant once, because they reseed every year. These fun 2'' flowers are a great accent in the garden or bouquet. Known by most as a bright blue color, they also come in pink, white, purple, lavender, burgundy and a deep Merlot color.
This fun, tall spike flower has been a favorite garden flower for generations. Both kids and adults love them. And they smell like a candy store! Just yummy all around.
All of these hardy annuals bloom late spring and early summer and will fill the gap between early bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, and summer tender annuals, like zinnias. I hope you will try sowing seeds now for vegetables in the fall and flowers next spring!
Now, lets get busy!
If you have any questions, put them in the comments below!
Valmont Valley Farm
Where Beautiful Magic is Always in Bloom
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