Colorful Swiss chard growing in a garden bed

This one goes out to all you new gardeners, as well as some of those “fair-weathered” gardeners cleaning out your vegetable beds and putting away your tools for the season. Is that you? Are you enjoying your tomatoes? Have you been sharing your bounty with your neighbors, whether they want it or not? Good! These are the gifts of summer. Enjoy this moment.

But don’t pack it up too quickly. It’s not time to go back inside and wait for May to roll around to start gardening again. There’s so much more planting left to do this season!

Here in the PNW, we are lucky to enjoy a long growing season that extends even into November for some crops. Make the most of this time by replacing your harvested crops with something new.

Let’s Keep this Party Going

You have a couple of options available if you had a great season and want to keep planting.

First, you can choose to do what is called succession planting. Succession planting is the planting of a second, third, or fourth crop after the first crop has been sown or harvested. Washington State Extension gives an example of succession planting as seeding a crop every two weeks for three or four plantings so that it will mature a week or two apart throughout the season. This planting method is well-suited to crops that mature in 40–60 days and are harvested once, such as turnips, beets, radishes, lettuce, and kohlrabi. This means that by staggering the planting, you can enjoy a continuous harvest into fall. Check out Al’s planting and harvesting calendar to determine when and what you should plant next.

Crop rotation is another option. Rotating crops by family helps prevent soil-borne diseases from building up in the soil, such as Verticillium wilt and Phytophthora root rot that are common in the Pacific Northwest, according to Washington State Extension Program. Crop rotation is commonly done each season, but you can also rotate crops within the same season.

Oregon State University Extension Service’s Vegetable Growing Guide states that, “In general, avoid planting crops from the same family (for example, tomatoes and peppers or broccoli and cabbage) in the same place 2 years in a row” Take a look at their Table of Plant Families for Crop Rotation to plan your rotations.

There’s More To Do in August

Do you just want an excuse to stay in the garden? August is the time to fertilize cucumbers, summer squash and broccoli to maintain production while you continue harvesting. It’s also the time for another round of broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard and to start thinking about garlic.

Beyond the vegetable beds, August is prime time for maintenance and care around the garden. According to OSU Extension, take care of these items on your to do list in August:

  • The optimal time for establishing a new lawn is August through mid-September.
  • Clean and fertilize strawberry beds.
  • Use mulch to protect ornamentals and garden plants from hot weather damage. If needed, provide temporary shade, especially for recent plantings.
  • Camellias need deep watering to develop flower buds for next spring.
  • Prune raspberries, boysenberries and other cane berries after harvest.
  • Monitor garden irrigation closely so crops and ornamentals don't dry out.
  • If you want your lawn to stay green, you'll have to water frequently during periods of heat and drought stress. Al’s has a popular expandable hose available in our stores and for online shoppers.
  • Prune cherry trees before fall rains begin to allow callusing in dry weather. This will minimize the spread of bacterial canker. Bring your dull pruners in to Al’s of Sherwood each Saturday from 10am-2pm until October and for $5/tool, our friends at Whetstone Sharpening will get them ready for pruning!

Keep Planning for Fall!

Oregon is an exceptional region and fall is ideal for gardening. Take advantage of the warm weather while the rain takes over the watering for you. In fact, some of the best vegetables are produced during the warm days and cool nights of fall. Let’s plan to stay out in the garden even longer this year! Take a look at all the Advantages of Autumn planting Growing Guide and get a little motivation by reading our fall posts from the past:

Decide which winter cover crops you will be planting in the vegetable garden. Cover crops planted in late summer are an inexpensive way to build better soil for gardening. They are grains, grasses, or legumes that will grow during fall and winter and that you can plow, spade, or till under in the spring. They help reduce soil compaction and prevent erosion. Read OSU Extension’s publication on cover crops and discover which are best suited for your garden and start planning now!

Don’t let the heat keep you hiding indoors. Get out there, get dirty, and if you need to, water yourself along with your plants.