The Vegetable Garden

Zones 7-8 Garden Calendar and Monthly Garden Tips - Aug - Dec

August

  • Plant the following no later than the dates indicated below:
  • August 15 - Snap beans and Irish potatoes (seed can be sprouted two to three weeks before planting).
  • August 31 - Cucumbers and squash; plant varieties resistant to downy mildew.
  • In order to calculate the planting date, determine the frost date and count back the number of days to maturity plus 18 days for harvest of the crop. If snap beans mature in 55 days and your frost date is November 15, you should plant on or before September 3.
  • Start plants for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale and onions in a half-shaded area for setting out in September.
  • Prepare soil for September to October plantings of "cool-season" crops. Apply fertilizer and prepare seeded so rains will settle the rows and make it easier to get seeds to germinate when they are planted.
  • If watering is necessary to get a stand, open the furrow for seed, pour in water, plant seed and cover. Use starter solution on the transplanted crops.
  • Water the garden as needed to prevent drought stress.

September - October

  • Choose the mild weather curing this period to plant or transplant the following: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips. Plant your second planting of fall crops such as collards, turnips, cabbage, mustard and kale.
  • Refurbish mulch to control weeds, and start adding leaves and other materials for the compost pile. Store your manure under cover to prevent leaching of nutrients.
  • Water deeply and thoroughly to prevent drought stress. Pay special attention to new transplants.
  • Harvest mature green peppers and tomatoes before frost gets them -- it may not come until November, but be ready.
  • Harvest herbs and dry them in a cool, dry place.

November - December

  • Why not get started early for next year?
  • Spread manure, rotted sawdust and leaves over the garden and plow them under; you'll be surprised at the difference this organic matter will make in the fertility, physical structure and water-holding capacity of the soil.
  • Take a soil sample to allow plenty of time to get the report back. Lime applied now will be of more benefit next year than if it is applied in the spring before planting. Always apply Dolomitic limestone in order to get both calcium and magnesium.
  • Save those leaves for the compost heap.
  • Take an "inventory." Maybe you had too much of some vegetables and not enough of others - or maybe there were some unnecessary "skips" in the supply. Perhaps some insect, disease or nematode problem got the upper hand. Make a note about favorite varieties. Start planning next year's garden now!
  • You're wise to order flower and vegetable seeds in December or January, while the supply is plentiful. Review the results of last year's garden and order the more successful varieties.
  • You may have seeds left over from last year. Check their viability by placing some in damp paper towels and observing the germination percentage. If the percentage is low, order new ones.
  • Before sending your seed order, draw a map of the garden area and decide the direction and length of the rows, how much row spacing is needed for each vegetable, whether or not to plant on raised beds, and other details. That way, you won't order too many seeds. This same advice applied to the flower garden. Try new cultivars, add more color, change the color scheme, layer the colors by having taller and shorter plants - don't do it the same way year after year.
  • Look around for tools you do not have and hit for these for Christmas presents.

Start Planning Next Year's Garden Now!