August Crops in the Greenhouse – Grow Your Own Food
August plants are growing so fast that I should have a time-lapse camera to record the speedy growth. It’s a good thing I’m home all month to watch the changes and get the next crops planted and growing. Check out my tips to grown your own food too!
In my greenhouse I am starting plants and pulling out old crops. It is like spring all over again.
Strawberries are multiplied:
I have a bench in my greenhouse where I take cuttings, start seedlings and sharpen tools. But in August I am planting strawberries in little pots to root under the bench. This is a cozy spot, out of the direct sunlight but still humid and warm. I clipped the small tufts of leaves from runners and in a week they are already rooting.
If you are nervous about cutting runners off the main plant you can just pin down the new sprouts into pots of soil. Hold down the little clumps of leaves using a twist tie or small wire so they have contact with soil and will root readily. These plants, left attached to the mother plant, continue to get water and food while they root in their new pot. Once rooted, strawberry plants are detached from mother plants and moved to their final location in the garden.
Zucchini Changes Places:
The usual plan in the big greenhouse is to remove the great big greenhouse-grown zucchini plants as soon as my outdoor zucchini are making fruit. This happens anytime between late July and early August. Then I make use of the newly available greenhouse space to start fall crops because – seriously – you only need so many zucchini plants. So this August I am pulling out my biggest and best plants to make room for a fall crop of bush beans, radish, peas and carrots. I’ll eat the radish a month after seeding and as they are pulled, the other plants expand to fill the space.
Lettuce Gets Bitter:
When lettuce gets bitter it is because of hot conditions and a water deficiency. So it is time to start new plants while the old ones are fed to the chickens, tossed in the compost or allowed to go to seed. I like collecting lettuce seed in late August, planting some immediately and holding the rest until spring. Just a note: the seed will either be white or black when mature and the best way to know it is ripe and ready is if it falls off the plants. As it starts to fall, collect the whole stem and store it upside down in a paper bag and allow the seed to fall off naturally.
Start Seedlings Now:
If you have pulled out garlic or dried up pea plants, you have a gap in your outdoor garden now. In my little greenhouse I pulled a row of broccoli because it was producing fewer side shoots and I wanted the space for winter crops. Now I am ready for arugula, radish, winter cabbage, kale, lettuce or spinach to fill the gap. Starting small amounts of each quick crop means food growing well into fall and even winter. Seed started now for transplanting outdoors or into the greenhouse when a space opens up and an opportunity arrives. It’s hot now but things change quickly next month so gardeners get ready!
For more great tips from Donna, visit www.donnabalzer.com.
You can also read Donna’s gardening books: No Guff Vegetable Gardening with Steven Biggs and her just released Gardener’s Gratitude Journal: Part Diary, Part Personal Growing Guide.