The longest day of the year is past and I hope all of your gardens are well mulched and producing abundantly. If things are going well you should already have your first vine ripened tomatoes. Now is the time to finish Planting Successions of Hot Weather Vegetables and start focusing on “summer planting for fall and winter harvest”.
July is the time to start broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower in flats for your second season garden or you can sow your fall brassicas directly in a rich raised bed under spun polyester row cover to keep insects off. Plant it thickly and on a wet day in August (4-6 weeks later) when the plants are bigger, you can space the seedlings out into other beds. Transplant Brassicas at 4 leaves(4-6 weeks)and other greens earlier. Keep them under row cover until they are large and sturdyenough to outgrow most pests. Harvest the spring potatoes 2 weeks after the tops have died back in late July. Cut back all the celery to encourage a second harvest.
Direct sow bush cucumber seeds like Spacemaster now for a bonus second season harvest. These cucumber plants bear fruit earlier than vining types, and they are easy to care for and harvest into the fall season and are perfect for containers. Continue direct sowing beans, carrots, salad greens, beets, and radish seeds weekly for a healthy fall harvest.
Sow collards, Swiss chard, leaf beet, kale, winter radishes, and more Chinese cabbage in late July or early August. Keep up harvesting vegetables every other day and planting more seeds every week.
For garden fresh salad all summer and fall plant salad greens every week. Soil temp must be below 80F. If very hot cover seed rows with ice, or sow in plastic flat in fridge. Choose a fast-growing summer crisp lettuce like Sierra, increasingly popular seasonal mixes, appetizing mesclun or many other flavorful summer salad greens like Malabar spinach or Goldberger purslane.
Keep things weeded mulched and watered. Enjoy the harvest of beans, beets, blueberries, cantaloupes, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, corn, cow peas, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, lettuce, okra, onions, peppers, plums, raspberries, scallions, squash, tomatoes, and zucchini.
For even more info about what to plant now read Pam Dawlings’ guest post on SouthernExposure.com Summer Succession Crop Planting:Avoid Gluts and Shortages.
BY: Ira Wallace Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
and author of Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia