Come mid-summer many vegetable gardeners are ready to store away their seeds and hang up their trowels for the season.
That's a shame because August is a great month to plant many vegetables a second time, in the ground or a container, to take advantage of the cooler fall weather. Not only are they productive, they taste better too when maturing in the cool air.
Tips for planting a vegetable succession garden
The first step is to find room for the new comers. Whether it be in the ground or a container, pull out spent spring or summer crops of peas, lettuce, radishes, beans and beets. Be merciless and yank plants even if they still are green. Chances are they won't produce much more for you. Also, any summer crops, such as squash, tomatoes and cucumbers that have died can be removed to provide another opportunity and place to plant.
And any maturing crops, such as onions and garlic, leave space behind after harvest for planting anew. Dry these roots in a well ventilated, dark, cool location hanging them from boards with VELCRO® Brand Garden Ties attached to the boards with VELCRO® Brand Heavy Duty Fasteners.
Then decide what cool season crops you like to eat and grow. Some of the best choices are lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, radishes, pak choi, beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. The best part is all of these crops fit well in a medium to large sized container, railing planter or window box. While it's best to have started some of these leafy greens and Brassica crops indoors under lights in advance, local garden centers also will have transplants for you to grow. Root crops will need to be direct seeded into the garden.
In the garden or containers, amend the soil with compost, sow seeds on a cloudy day cover with shade cloth.
This will allow the seed to germinate faster and not dry out. Transplants are more forgiving. Cover both the seeds and transplants with a floating row cover or micro-mesh cloth to keep out insects and pests. If pests are a problem, grow these cool season crops in a container on a deck or balcony. The advantage of containers is they can be more easily protected in fall from frost by moving them indoors or to a protected location.
Keep well watered and come fall you'll be enjoying fresh greens, beans and broccoli from your garden. Because of the shorter and cooler days, the vegetables won't easily go to flower and seed, so they'll last longer in the garden for you to enjoy.
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