August was another humid month full of rain and high temperatures. The cover crop of blackeyes peas continued to grow as a few other plants were grown indoors. We had the first possibility of a hurricane affecting us this month here in Florida, and while it did not locally, our prayers go out to the Bahamas. Below is our August 2019 Garden Update.
What’s Growing in August
The remaining banana peppers were harvested this month and pickled. They reached the end of their growing season as the humidity and heat continued to rise. The key lime fruit is continuing to ripen and the cucumbers vines are growing well and starting to produce flowers.
Cucumbers were planted in two of the raised garden beds last month, one with and one without a shade cloth. The ones that were not under a shade cloth didn’t make it while the ones that were under a shade cloth are continuing to thrive. This was validating to my theory that the shade cloths really do make a difference, and a considerable one at that. (Though I’m still sad I’ll have fewer cucumbers). The afternoon thunderstorms have provided a steady amount of water for the cucumbers.
Here’s what was growing in August here in hardiness zone 9b:
Vegetables: Peppers, cucumbers, and cowpeas.
Fruit: Limequats and Key limes.
Flowers: Mexican heather, zinnias, and roses.
Herbs: Feverfew, elderberry, ginger, and turmeric.
The herbs I grow stay on a shaded patio that only gets morning sunlight which tends to extend the season for them. The feverfew started to blossom last month and continues to have flowers.
August Happenings and Shenanigans
August is a month of preparation for the fall season. This month I prepared with a cover crop and getting a head start growing a few of my plants indoors. Like previous months, shade cloths and EZ Straw has helped to keep things cool, along with a focus on watering EARLY in the mornings to keep the raised garden beds happy. Minus the days where we have a good rain, which has been happening frequently this month.
I continued to use a shade cloth for the raised bed with pepper plants and cucumber plants. Pepper plants do well in the heat, but they wilt during the hottest parts of the day. I find that the shade cloths help extend their growing season throughout the summer. As mentioned already, the shade clothes also made a difference for the cucumbers.
If you live somewhere that gets warm like Florida you may benefit from using shade cloths in the garden. Also called garden fabric and row covers, shade cloths are a great way to help your plants during extra-warm seasons. I use these shade cloths from April through October when the days are longer and hotter. Once daylight starts to get shorter your plants can use all the sun they can get.
Seed Starter Tray
I started using my seed starter tray last month and continued to use it this month. The Pro-Hex Professional Seed Starting Tray is a 72-cell tray that I currently have herbs, flower, and tomatoes growing in. By starting seedlings indoors, I’m able to prolong the growing season an extra month or two. When temperatures start to rise here in Florida it prevents blossoms from setting fruit when nighttime temperatures don’t drop below 75°F. The seedlings are now being hardened off to be transplanted outside.
I started a cover crop last month with cowpeas. Also called black-eyed peas, these southern peas are great at taking the heat and fixing the soil with nitrogen. Since the summertime is a season where very little grows in Florida, it’s a great time to focus on improving the soil. Cover crops are grown with the primary purpose to nourish the soil. These will be cut down and tilled into the soil at the beginning of September before the fall garden is planted.
Because the beans have started to develop, they will be harvested before tilling the cover crops into the soil.
How’d your garden do this month? Comment below!