August is the hottest month — allegedly, as it started out as pretty cool here in Missouri, but now the heat’s finally showing up. At any rate, the vegetable garden is going like gangbusters right now. Here’s a little list of chores for the August garden, just to keep you up to speed.
* My grandma and I froze some sweet corn. She uses a simple recipe to freeze her corn. You cut the kernels off the cob until you fill up a kettle. Then you scoop out eight cups of corn into another kettle (or any container that will hold it). To the eight cups of corn you add 1½ teaspoon of salt, ½ cup sugar, and 1 cup water. Then you mix it together and put it in your containers (freezer bags are fine), label them, and put them in the deep freeze. No cooking necessary!
When you take out a packet later, defrost it, then cook the corn until it’s tender. It’s just as sweet as when you cut it off the cob.
* Plant lettuce and fast-growing crops to replace the crops you’ve harvested.
* Order your garlic for September planting.
* Weed the strawberry patch and mulch it with compost.
* Compost and till under residues from harvested crops.
* Sow beans, beets, spinach, and turnips for the fall garden. Keep the seeding areas mulched well and watered, especially on those hot days.
* Spinach might germinate better if you put the seeds in the fridge for a week before planting.
* Cure onions in a warm, dry place for two weeks before you store them.
* Once your gourds have achieved adequate fruit set, snip off the growing tips of the vines. This makes the plant direct its energy toward ripening the fruits, instead of vine production.
* Set out your broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants in the garden now for a fall harvest. Keep them mulched and watered.
* Keep adding to that ever-growing list of zucchini and tomato recipes.
* Pick herbs to use fresh or to dry them. If you keep picking them they’ll keep producing. Snip them in the morning, as their flavors are strongest then.
* Clean out the cold frame to get it ready for fall use. It’ll be here before you know it.
* For goodness’ sake stay cool!
FROM DON’T THROW IN THE TROWEL: Vegetable Gardening Month by Month by Rosefiend Cordell