| Your August Garden ‘To Do’!
COOL SEASON CROPS: It’s time for a second planting of cool season crops such as lettuce, spinach, snow peas, arugula, radishes and kale. These mature quickly enough to produce a harvest before a hard freeze and also extend learning and eating opportunities in the garden. Use a shade cover until mid-August to protect the seedlings against the hot summer sun. This can be done by creating a small “hoop house” or “low tunnel” with PVC pipe and shade/frost blankets or heavy mill plastic. See “SEASON EXTENDERS” below.
SEASON EXTENDERS: Frost blankets can provide a few degrees of protection against those early, light frosts followed by weeks of Indian summer. This article will give you more information about small garden tunnel construction. *Another option uses “U” brackets attached to the side of a wooden raised bed and PVC anchored to the “U” bracket and bent over the raised bed.
SEED SAVING: As the season progresses, you have the opportunity to reserve a small part of the harvest for seed saving – a fabulous opportunity to teach “the circle of life”. If you are going to save seeds to plant next year, remember to keep in mind the terms “hybrids” and “open- or cross- pollinated” plants. Some will not produce the exact same plant the following year depending on their original breeding? That is not always a negative. It’s cool to see what might come up the following year!
HARVEST: It’s what’s it all about. Be vigilant! Cute zucchini become baseball bats seemingly overnight. Some plants produce better when continually harvested because the plant is trying to fulfill its reproductive function. If you have excess produce, please contact the Hunger Free Hotline 720-382-2920 to be connected with a food pantry near you. There are estimates that 5 BILLION tons of produce from backyard gardens never get consumed. Start thinking about cooking activities to do with your harvest when school resumes. Check out Slow Food USA’s School Garden Curriculum.
WEEDING: It is very easy to neglect weeding at the expense of harvest and classroom activities. Just as all of your veggies are producing seed, so are the weeds. You will save your garden team loads of time next year by keeping weeds in check now.
At Home Soil Conservation The use of fertile land for crops is essential for our society. However, a report on agriculture notes that US soil is seeing high soil degradation and a drop in soil fertility. To make up for this loss, farmers use fertilizers containing...