Tuesday, July 23, 2024

What to Plant in August in Zone 7 in Rural Appalachia

As summer progresses, gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zone 7 are presented with an excellent opportunity to prepare for a bountiful fall harvest. Zone 7, characterized by a moderate climate with cold winters and warm summers, allows for a diverse range of crops that can be planted in August. Here’s a guide to what you can plant to ensure a productive garden as the weather begins to cool.

1. Leafy Greens

August is an ideal time to plant leafy greens, as they thrive in cooler temperatures and are often more tender and flavorful when grown in the fall.

  • Lettuce: Varieties such as romaine, butterhead, and leaf lettuce can be sown directly into the garden. Lettuce grows quickly, and you can start harvesting baby greens in as little as 30 days.
  • Spinach: This nutrient-dense green prefers cooler temperatures and can be harvested within 6-8 weeks of planting.
  • Kale: Hardy and nutritious, kale can withstand light frosts and continues to produce well into the colder months.

2. Root Vegetables

Root vegetables are another excellent choice for August planting, as they develop their best flavors when grown in cooler weather.

  • Carrots: Sow carrot seeds directly into the soil. Thinning will be necessary to give each plant enough space to develop fully. Look for quick-maturing varieties if you’re concerned about an early frost.
  • Beets: Beets are versatile and can be harvested for both their roots and greens. They are relatively fast-growing, making them a great choice for late summer planting.
  • Radishes: Radishes are one of the quickest-growing root vegetables, often ready to harvest in just 3-4 weeks.

3. Brassicas

The brassica family includes many cool-weather crops that can be planted in August for a fall harvest.

  • Broccoli: Start broccoli seeds indoors in late July or early August, then transplant seedlings into the garden. Broccoli grows best in cooler temperatures and can tolerate light frost.
  • Cabbage: Similar to broccoli, cabbage seedlings should be started indoors and transplanted into the garden. Choose varieties suited for fall growing.
  • Cauliflower: Cauliflower requires a bit more care but is well worth the effort. Transplant seedlings in early August for a fall harvest.

4. Legumes

Legumes like beans and peas are excellent for improving soil fertility as they fix nitrogen. Planting them in August can provide a late-season crop.

  • Bush Beans: These beans mature quickly and can be harvested in about 50-60 days. Ensure they have full sun and consistent watering.
  • Snow Peas: Snow peas prefer cooler weather and can be planted in August for a fall harvest. They grow quickly and can be harvested in about 60 days.

5. Herbs

Perennial herbs can be planted in August to establish themselves before winter.

  • Parsley: This biennial herb can be planted in August and will continue to produce through the winter in mild climates.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro grows best in cooler weather, and planting in late summer ensures it doesn’t bolt as quickly.

Tips for Success

  • Soil Preparation: Ensure your soil is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Adding compost or aged manure can improve soil structure and fertility.
  • Watering: August can still be hot, so keep newly planted seeds and transplants well-watered. Mulching can help retain soil moisture and keep roots cool.
  • Pest Management: Be vigilant for pests that can thrive in late summer. Use organic methods such as neem oil or insecticidal soap to manage them.
  • Row Covers: Consider using row covers to protect young plants from extreme heat and pests. They can also extend your growing season by providing a bit of frost protection.

By planting these crops in August, gardeners in Zone 7 can enjoy a productive fall garden with a variety of fresh, home-grown produce. Happy gardening!

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