Has anyone else tried working outside in the garden recently? These days of August are some of the most miserable times to try to keep up with mowing the grass, pulling weeds, and almost any garden chore as the only higher than the temperature is the humidity. If we can take solace in one thing it is that soon fall will be here and August is actually one of the best months to prepare for a beautiful and bountiful garden in autumn.
August actually is the time to plant many of our fall crops. We are lucky in Florida that we get two growing seasons for most of our traditionally spring crops so you can put in tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, and pole and bush beans now. They should grow well until our first cold snap this winter.
You can also begin to plant your cold weather vegetables now such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, turnips, carrots, kale and lettuce. These can produce throughout much of the winter and if a plant is harvested fully, you can keep replacing them until February. While this month may be one of your worst months of harvest in the garden its one the most busy getting ready for the next wave of fresh produce.
Bring life to the landscape
August temperatures can be absolutely brutal to getting plants started in the landscape but if kept with adequate they can be just fine. In fact, the wet weather we usually have can keep plants very happy even with higher heat.
Many perennials and shrubs can be planted now and into the early fall to give them a bit of time to become established before cold weather forces them into dormancy. With larger trees it may be a good idea to wait until cooler weather to do any planting and most deciduous trees will do very well planted in the middle of winter.
If you are looking to transplant some plants, this month is not usually the best as the extra heat can cause a lot of stress. Wait for cooler weather, especially with large or woody plants, and keep them watered until they are established.
We are in what is approaching the traditional peak hurricane season so now is the time to prepare for upcoming storms. Have hazard trees evaluated by a certified arborist (check out www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist/ to find one in our area) and see what pruning or removal may be necessary. This can help save a tree, personal property, or even lives. Additionally, think about how items in your landscape may be effected by high winds and rains and properly store items that could become a hazard.
If you have any horticultural, agricultural, 4-H, or family and consumer science questions, contact the University of Florida/IFAS Clay County Extension Office online at http://www.clay.ifas.ufl.edu or call by phone at (904)284-6355.
Also, mark your calendars for the 2019 UF/IFAS Extension Clay County Master Gardener Plant Sale being held at the Clay County Extension Office in front of the fairgrounds Sept. 7 from 8:30 a.m. until 2 pm. There will be thousands of plants for sale, live music, food and craft vendors, kid’s activities, educational workshops and a chance to get your gardening questions answered by Master Gardeners for visitors. All proceeds are used to support and expand our educational programs in Clay County. Hope to see you there!
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. USDA, UF/IFAS Extension, FAMU and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.