August is one of my favorite months in the summer. Tomatoes and peppers are ripening. Days are warm and daylight lasts till 8pm. August is the perfect month to start seeds. This gives you a chance to start seeds you want to enjoy well into fall. I had some spinach and radish go to seed before I was able to enjoy their bounty due to high heat this July.
If you’re lucky and in a warmer climate you could plant some zucchini and be enjoying zucchini bread by Halloween! Some great short season zucchini varieties to try are early summer yellow crookneck and cocozelle summer squash both only take 42 days to maturity!
With the soil warm it is a perfect time to direct sow your Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are in the brassica family. Which seem to taste better with a little frost on them.
You still have time to get a full crop of lettuce, mustard, spinach, and chard growing in the garden. These are all great crops that you can succession plant all through the summer. Even with a shorter growing season you can eat these as micro greens since these crops don’t have a ripening period, like an apple or an orange.
Don’t forget your roots crops! Like the brassica family root crops don’t mind a little cold snap towards the end of the season, in fact they taste sweeter with a light frost. So find those leftover seed packets half full with beets, radish, carrots, turnips and parsnips!
It’s too early to plant your garlic and shallots but it’s not too early to get your fall garlic and shallot order in! If you’re looking for a great flavored garlic try Inchelim Red or the Spanish Roja! But hurry these varieties go fast!
More varieties below for fall harvest.
Have you ever planted all of your lettuce all in one batch and now its harvest time and you have so much lettuce you don’t know what to do with it? I know this has happened to many gardeners. The trick is to succession plant. Succession planting is to follow one crop with another. This is a really great tool to learn so you can maximize your gardens yield and enjoy crops for longer. I have come up with a simple chart that will help you know what intervals you should be planting your crops.
Succession Planting Guide
Arugula- 14 Day intervals
Bok Choi- 10 Day intervals
Beets- 14 Day intervals
Bush Beans- 10 Day intervals
Broccoli- 14 Day intervals
Carrots- 21 Day intervals
Cucumbers- 21 Day intervals
Endive- 14 Day intervals
Head Lettuce- 10 Day intervals
Kohlrabi- 10 Day intervals
Leaf Lettuce- 7 Day intervals
Melons- 21 Days
Mustard Greens- 10 Day intervals
Peas- 10 Day intervals
Radishes- 7 Day intervals
Spinach- 7 Day intervals
Summer Squash- 30 Day intervals
Sweet Corn- 7 Day intervals
Swiss Chard- 21 Day intervals
Turnips- 14 Day intervals
This spring I have had a ton of questions on when to plant seeds indoors? When to transplant them outdoors? What should be planted directly in the ground? There is no exact answer as we all live in different climates and each have our own micro climate. I have come up with a planting guideline that should help you gardeners out. First things first! You need to find out what your last average spring frost date is. You can get this from senior gardeners in your area or you can call your local state extension agent and they will have an answer for you. For example Ellensburg’s average last frost date is about May 1st.
BEANS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 52 degrees.
BEETS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 50 degrees.
BROCCOLI: Seed indoors. Seed indoors 4-6 weeks before you want to plant outdoors. Transplant outdoors 2-3 weeks before average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.
BRUSSEL SPROUTS: Seed indoors. Start transplants 8-10 weeks before last frost. Set out transplants 2-4 weeks before average last frost.
CABBAGE: Seed indoors. Start transplants 6-8 weeks before average last spring frost. Transplant outside 2-3 weeks before the last expected frost date.
CARROTS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 3-5 weeks before the last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.
CAULIFLOWER: Seed indoors. Start transplants 4-5 weeks before the plants are needed to go outdoors. Plant transplants outdoors 2-3 weeks before the average frost date in spring.
CHARD: Sow seeds indoors or outdoors. Plant outside 2-3 weeks before last spring frost date. Continue planting seeds at 10 day intervals to have all summer.
CORN: Sow directly outdoors. Plant seeds 2 weeks after last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 60 degrees.
CUCUMBERS: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 3-5 weeks before spring frost date. Transplant outside no earlier than 2 weeks after last frost date.
EGGPLANT: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before soil warms up to 60 degrees. Transplant outside when soil warms.
KALE: Seed indoors or sow directly outdoors. Extremely frost hardy. Plant as soon as ground thaws.
LETTUCE: Sow directly outdoors or seed indoors. If seeding indoors start seeds 4-6 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant seedlings 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost. If sowing directly outdoors seed as soon as your ground can be worked. Light frost is okay.
MUSKMELONS: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Muskmelons need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.
ONION TRANSPLANTS OR SETS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil can be worked.
PARSNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Sow as soon as soil is workable. Cold hardy crop.
PEAS: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors 4-6 weeks before last spring frost.
POTATOES: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors when soil temperature has reached 52 degrees. 2-3 weeks after average spring frost.
PUMPKINS: Sow directly outdoors or sow indoors. If you have a short growing season sow indoors 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Be sure to harden off seedlings before transplanting.
PEPPERS: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.
RADISH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date.
SPINACH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the soil can be worked. Spinach need 6 weeks of cool weather. Minimum soil germination temperature 35 degrees.
SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI: Sow indoors. Plant 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant outside 1-3 weeks after spring frost.
STRAWBERRIES: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the ground can be tilled.
TOMATOES: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.
TURNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil is tillable.
WATERMELON: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Watermelon need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.
Here is a great resource to find your local extension agents information.
Seed storage. How long do seeds really last?
There is only few times in the day you can find me outside in the frigid cold. One is, if I have any bottle calves or lambs to feed, and two would be running out to my car to get it started. Yeah I know what you are thinking, what kind of farm girl are you? My husband calls me the fair-weather cowgirl. I just really really hate the bitter cold! So in the winter you can typically find me warm and toasty on the couch with a cup of tea.
When I get tired of reading or binge watching Alaska the Last Frontier, I like to skim through my Irish Eyes Garden Seeds catalog and see what I should grow in my garden this year. Once I make a list of vegetables to grow I gather all my seed jars and see what seed I can use for this year and what I should just throw away.
Containers to store your seeds in….
Plastic bins: These are inexpensive and you can keep them in there originally package with a filing system to organize your seeds by variety.
Shoe Box: This is the same idea has the plastic bins other than they are free! I like free.
Mason jar: I put everything in mason jars…I have plenty, they are reusable and you can usually find them at Goodwill.
Wooden crate: If you’re handy you could build one! This would be a really great gift for the gardener in your life.
Ideal storage conditions…
Seed stores best in a cool dark spot. So consider a cool dark basement, mudroom, or closet. Freezing seeds is not necessary but you can use a refrigerator to keep the seeds in.
Celery 2 years
Eggplant 2 years
Herbs 3 years
Onions/Leeks 1 year
Peppers 3-4 years
Parsnips 1 year
Summer Squash 3-4years
Swiss Chard 5+years
Winter Squash/Pumpkins 3-5years
Tomatoes 2 years