Planting Vegetable Seeds in August
August may seem a bit warm to be planting your fall vegetable garden, but if you live in the Southwest it is the perfect time to get some of those seeds started. I live in inland Southern California. Even though triple digits are forecast for the next several days, we are still out there planting seeds for our fall and winter harvests.
We have already planted broccoli, which is just starting to sprout. Cilantro was sown in between the broccoli. They are excellent companions in the garden. Cilantro helps deter pests that attack the broccoli, especially cabbage moths.
The trick to starting seeds outdoors in hot weather is to keep the soil cool enough for germination to take place. If the soil is too warm the seeds will just cook. It helps to thoroughly water the soil the day before you plant. It needs to be moist several inches down. Plant your seeds according to the package directions. Corn, broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, beets and bush beans can be planted just a little deeper than recommended to help keep them cool. Lettuce and carrots should be sown per the directions.
Once the seeds are sown, water well and then cover with two layers of burlap or other porous fabric. Old towels work well. Water the fabric as soon as you lay it down, and then daily until the seeds sprout. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the fabric. If it is still extremely warm, you may need to put a shade cloth over the row to keep the plants and soil cool. When the seedlings are large enough - usually four to six inches tall, add lots of mulch. In the Southwest region, temperatures are often still in the upper nineties and triple digits well into September so you need to keep the soil cool and moist.
Vegetable Seeds to Plant in August
According to Mother Earth News, the Southwestern region includes Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona and Western New Mexico. Vegetable seeds that can be sown outdoors in August are:
- Bush beans
- Chinese cabbage
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower should be started indoors in August and transplanted out in September. (We went ahead and started our broccoli seed in early August and it sprouted fine. However, we put in a cooler spot in the garden where it isn't blasted with sunlight all day long.)
Growing for Good
My husband and I grow a good deal of the food we eat. We also grow to share with people in need, our friends, family and neighbors. Growing food is how we are doing our part to fight hunger in our community. We intentionally grow far more than we can possibly use - all for the purpose of giving it away. While we do receive a tax deduction for our donations, we also rely on the income earned from articles published here on Hub Pages and other sites to cover the cost of our ever growing and expanding gardens. If you would like to help us continue growing against hunger, please follow me here on Hub Pages and on Twitter @juliemcm. Please share our articles, as well as our photos on RedGage with your friends and ask them to pass them along. You can also find our garden page on Facebook. Your support will help us continue growing food and encourage more people to get involved in the fight against hunger.