Gardening in Mississippi and the South: August and September
With all the recent flooding of farmlands in Mississippi, some are predicting skyrocketing food prices and food riots by late August or early September. I suggest you head this possibility off and start your own garden if you haven’t already done so. Your family’s survival may depend on it.
In the Vegetable Garden
- Cover unplanted vegetable beds with clear plastic to sterilize soil and kill weed seeds and disease.
- Renew old beds with fresh compost, fertilize and lime if necessary.
- Sow tomato, eggplant, cabbage, collards, and rutabaga seeds indoors for a fall crop.
- Make outdoor fall plantings of cool weather vegetables like cabbage, collards, turnips, mustards, spinach, kale, cress, Kohlrabi, and Asian Salad Leaves like Mizuna and Mibuna. Also plant out tomatoes, parsnips, radishes, carrots, lettuce, garlic, and leeks and anything else you have indoors.
- Plant English peas and green beans in early August.
- Plant fall potatoes in early August for a second harvest in mid October to early November. Yellow Gold is a good choice or maybe Red Pontiac though they take a little longer and cold may kill them if there’s an early freeze.
- Pull up any bolting plants and save any seed you can.
- Weed and water regularly. Keep a large water barrel near the garden or beside the house where you can catch any summer rainfall. You can put it at a downspout to catch most of what comes off the roof. Use this water to water your garden.
- Harvest corn, peas and beans, onions, leeks, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, radishes, peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumber, fall greens. Lift first fennel and parsnips, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets.
- Cut down browning asparagus plants. Save any seed from female plants.
- Pinch out side shoots and growing tips of tomatoes and growing tips of climbing beans when at the top of supports. Fertilize.
- Cure pumpkins and squash by leaving in the sun for ten days or so.
- Empty all compost piles and add to garden soil.
In the Herb Garden
- Deadhead flowering herbs. Remove any dead foliage and annual plantings.
- Plant out any herbs grown from seed like chives, fennel, dill, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, caraway, chamomile, Spanish lavender, and lemon balm.
- Weed and water regularly.
Fruit and Nut Trees
- Plant apple, pear, and pecan trees.
- Plant blueberries, strawberries, and muscadine grapes.
In the Flower Garden
- Prune seedheads from crepe myrtles for fall bloom.
- Prune rose canes by about 1/3 for fall blooming.
- Sow annual flowers like mums indoors for fall transplants.
- Deadhead annual and perennial flowers and cut back after bloom if you haven’t done so.
- Fertilize summer flowering bulbs.
- Plant Iris, freesia, Madona Lily, and other fall and winter flowering bulbs.
- Top off mulch around plantings to protect from drought.
- Water and weed regularly.
Cooperative extension services www.msucarescom
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Gardening in Mississippi and the South in March and April
Gardening in Mississippi and the South in May, June, and July.