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SUN August 2022 Newsletter
August 01, 2022
The answer is YES, but it depends on where you live. Since I garden in the North Central Texas area, Zone 8a, the crop information herein will be specific to this Zone. However, it is possible to grow a fall garden in most other Zones in the USA. The crops are usually similar. The difference is when you typically get your fist freeze and when to start, plant, and harvest your crops.
Texas basically has two seasons to plant crops: Spring and Fall. We typically don't get much from the garden in Summer as we routinely get temps over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple weeks at a time. Without a greenhouse, I don't garden over the winter either. However, getting a greenhouse is on my bucket list!
Fall gardens in general are designed to be harvested before the first frost, which in Zone 8a is usually early to mid-November.
Right now, we’ve had triple digit heat for all of July and we’re just now entering August with no letup in sight. You literally can fry and egg on your sidewalk or the dashboard of your car if it’s been sitting out in the sun (not that I recommend either)!
In this addition of SUN: Org Tips Newsletter, I will focus on best fall garden crops in Zone 8a.
March through September is the best planting time in Zone 8a. Garlic prefers a loamy soil with a ph in range of 6.2 and 7. Lower is too acidic; apply lime to correct. Add compost or hummus to create a good growing environment. Prepare soil to depth of 12 inches. To encourage fall planted garlic to send out roots, add a feeding of low nitrogen at planting and higher nitrogen in spring.
My favorite place to order garlic is MadRiverGarlicGrowers
I’ve never been successful in either Spring or Fall growing English green peas. I keep trying but I'm always disappointed as I really like them. However, black-eyed peas (a/k/a cow peas) and purple hull peas tend to do quite well. Depending on where you live, you may not know of these varieties, but you might want to check to see if they are good to grow in your area and give them a try.
May is the best time to plant pumpkins. Be sure they get plenty of water during the scorching heat of June, July, and August. Consider a shade cover if they get too hot.
Due to the unusual growing season in Zone 8a, it is possible to plant another round of regular potatoes.
Once you harvest your regular potato crop, you can plant sweet potato slips immediately and they will be ready before the first frost.
If you’re backyard gardening, this isn’t a good item to plant. However, if you have some acreage, you can plant peanuts at the same time you plant your sweet potatoes (after you harvest your regular potato crop).
In Zone 8a, it is possible to get two crops of both turnip greens and mustard greens. While they aren’t everyone favorite, they are quite tasty if you prepare them properly. They will continue to grow and produce until the first frost, just make sure to reduce your fertilization routine and give them plenty of water.
It’s best to plant strawberries in October and November in Zone 8a. Cover them with a protective light layer of straw, pine mulch or other mulch. This will keep them snug over winter. Come spring, you uncover them to allow them access to sunshine. They should be ready to harvest by Easter.
This is just a short list that I complied for my use that I thought I would share with you. I’m hoping to get back out there soon and get some more veggies planted and harvested before the cold sets in.
Be sure to check out websites that are specific to your particular growing area and get out there and get planting!
What's New on SUN?August is a time most kids go back to school. If you have children, the information on these pages might help you get started:
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