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Helpful Hints and Insights
from your friends here at RVIS
Planting in August
Broccoli can take up to 80 days to mature, so it’s best to get it in the garden in early August so you can enjoy October and November roasts. Summer-planted broccoli often needs to be started indoors in June or July, then transplanted in August. This ensures that the broccoli develops in warm weather and then flowers during the cooler season.
You are probably noticing the fall brassica pattern by now. Cabbage is another cole crop that makes use of the warm August and September weather to get established before it starts heading up and accumulating sugars in October. Fall cabbages average 50 to 60 days to maturity and tend to perform better than their spring-planted counterparts. However, prolonged nighttime temperatures under 50°F can cause premature bolting in some varieties. If you think a cold front is coming at the end of the summer, use row covers to protect young cabbage plants.
3. Purple Daikon Radish
Thanks to their vibrancy and unique flavor, purple daikons are my all time favorite fall root. They are best seeded in the summer and sweetened during the cool weather of fall.
This Korean-type radish is elongated like a white daikon, but with vibrant fuschia tie-dye skin and interior. They maintain their purple color when cooked and add a gorgeous hue to fermented kimchi. They take longer to grow than your classic salad radishes– around 50 days– however, they reward your patience with a longer storage life and far more flavor. ‘KN Bravo’ is the most commonly grown purple daikon, however some specialty seed companies offer heirloom types.
An underrated crop for succession planting, carrots make great August planted crops. If you truly love the sweet, nutritious roots, you should be sowing them every 2-3 weeks all season long! This means that you will have new carrots coming up just as you begin to harvest the last batch. Varieties like ‘Bolero’, ‘Narvik’, ‘Napoli’, ‘Dragon’, and ‘Mokum’ are particularly adapted to summer plantings for fall harvests. They take 55-65 days to establish and accumulate extra sugary flavor during the cooling nights of October.
One of the most is notoriously cold-tolerant veggies, spinach is a must for August planting. But that doesn’t mean it won’t take advantage of the quick growth opportunities of mid-to-late August! As long as the soil is cooler than 85°F, spinach should germinate just fine. You can direct seed spinach throughout late summer and early fall to enjoy continuous cuttings. The best cultivars includes ‘Auroch’, ‘Lizard’, ‘Kolibri’, ‘Kookaburra’ and ‘Acadia’. Many of these can even survive through the winter in zones 5 and warmer.
6. Collard Greens
Although they’re most popular in southern cuisine, collard greens can be equally as exciting for northern gardeners. At just 50 to 60 days for maturing, August-planted collards are ready to start harvesting by early October. Like their cauliflower and broccoli cousins, it’s usually best to start seedlings in May or June. The optimum ambient temperature for collards is around 60 to 70°F but some varieties will still produce a good crop under warm conditions. Choose ‘Flash’, ‘Hi-Crop’, or ‘Top Bunch’ for nice rounded collard leaves that are slow to bolt and cold-tolerant.
You can’t plan for an autumn garden without kale! While some kale plantings last all season long, I often find that my spring-planted kale is a bit tired by the time August rolls around. Planting a new succession of frost-hardy kale varieties like ‘Winterbor’, ‘Red Russian’, and ‘Black Magic’ ensure that you get delicious fall and winter harvests in one.
A uniquely knobby root, tumeric typically falls under the herbal category. Traditionally used in Thai or Indian curries, turmeric has also found its way into superfood smoothies, supplements, and veggie dishes. This heat-loving tropical plant can be grown outside almost year round in zones 8 and warmer. Let the “seed turmeric” nubs (actually pieces of the rhizome) scab over before planting them in your August garden. In zones 7 and colder, you may need to sprout turmeric roots indoors earlier in the spring or in pots so they have enough time to mature before cold weather hits.