Thinking About Fall Veggies in August

We can all agree it is really too hot to be doing much in the vegetable garden in August. If your garden looks anything like mine, it is a mess. Spent tomato vines, corn stalks and the remains of some pulled sweet potato vines litter the beds. And while I am anxious to get it looking pretty again, I know the main reason is fall is right around the corner. Here are a few tips, all good reminders of what to do as the next month comes and goes.
1. Anything dead, dying or finished producing should be pulled out and placed in the compost pile. Any weeds that have gone to seed should not go in the compost pile, not unless you want these weeds coming back up next summer. Make it pretty and clean!
2. Move the “ready” compost out of the compost bins and into the planting beds. Two of my piles are dark brown with no signs of the pieces and parts of what it looked like when it went into the piles. This means it is ready. I will be spreading it on top of the cleaned planting beds. The important part is to dig it in.
3. While I am spreading compost, I add in some natural-based fertilizers. One of my favorites is Bradfield Organics. They can be found locally at reputable garden centers. I always have a few bags on hand. I cover the ground with a light dusting and then dig this and my homemade compost into the beds.
4. I never have enough compost, so I will be adding mushroom compost to make up the difference. Try putting on 3-4 inches. It usually is a little hot and can burn tender transplants until it has a few weeks to get rained on and cool down on its own. This is one of the best reasons to get it in the beds now.
5. Go through your cool season crop seeds and make plans to buy now. Need to know what cool season crops grow here. Clemson University Extension has the perfect list. Then order seeds. Three of my favorite companies are Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savors Exchange.
6. I add a 3-4 Inch layer of mulch on the surface of my beds after adding in new compost even though I will not be planting for a few more weeks.This holds in moisture, cools the soil and most importantly helps keeps the weeds from growing back.

And while the afternoons can be uninhabitable in the garden take some time early morning or late evening to make some headway now to be prepared for the approaching fall garden season.

My compost is ready to go into the beds. Just makes me want to get my hands in all that good stuff!!!!!

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