Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Care

August

TomatoesDuring the first week of August, plant short-season snap beans, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, carrots, mustard greens, spinach, and radishes for fall harvesting.

Cool-season lettuces, mesclun mixes, and unusual greens that were planted in early spring can be planted again this month. If weather is unusually hot, plant these greens in partial shade.

The best quality and best tasting salad greens come from plants that were watered frequently and lightly rather than infrequently but deeply. This advice is the exact opposite to what is recommended for watering trees, shrubs, perennials, grass, and other plants.

When harvesting lettuces, cut every other plant to the ground. This practice allows each lettuce head to develop fully.

In hot weather, lettuces and cabbages can bolt quickly and form seed stalks. These stalks render the leaves bitter. Remove any stalks as soon as they begin to grow.

When buds form on Brussels sprouts, remove the lower leaves. Taller plants with more sprouts will result. Sidedress plants with balanced fertilizer when sprouts are marble-sized.

Keep vegetables picked so the plants will keep producing.

Avoid letting squashes, zucchini, etc., become giant-sized. They may win county fair prizes, but they will have little flavor.

Monitor for blossom end rot on tomatoes. Tomatoes are very moisture-sensitive. Mulch garden beds and keep moisture evenly available for these plants. They don’t grow well when exposed to cycle of rain, drought, rain, drought.

Keep records of harvest dates to help plan next year’s garden.

Continue to harvest herbs by either snipping foliage, drying entire sprigs or plants, or freezing individual portions in ice-cube trays. Pinch off developing flowers to retain essential oils and flavor in the plants’ foliage.

Herb plants that can be brought inside for a windowsill garden will be dug and transplanted next month.

Continue to monitor edible crops for disease or insect problems. Avoid spraying strong insecticides or fungicides on food products.

Hand removal of caterpillars is recommended.

If hot, dry weather persists, some fruit trees might abort their crop. Apple trees require deep watering for maximum fruit production.