Planting Cool Season Vegetables

August is a month of transition in the garden. Some plants like dahlias and crape myrtles  are in full glory while others are starting to wind down. If you look closely, dormant flower and leaf buds are just starting to form on lilacs, rhododendrons and camellias. Seems we’re still waiting for summer it’s been so cool but many plants count night time hours and it’s getting darker earlier and earlier.

Time to plant seeds for cool season vegetables. Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard, brussels sprouts and collards in containers. Fill flats or pots with potting mix and moisten the mix thoroughly before planting. Sow seeds of carrots, onions, beets, peas and radishes directly in the ground after amending soil with compost.

Cool season vegetables grow best and produce the best quality crops when average temperatures are between 55 and 75 degrees although they can tolerated slight frost when mature. The food value of cool season vegetables is usually higher per pound and per square foot than that of warm season vegetables because the edible parts of the plant are the vegetative parts-such as roots, stems, leaves and immature flower parts-rather than the fruits.

Examples include_
root – beet, carrot, parsnip, radish, turnip
stem – asparagus, white potato, onion
leaf – cabbage, celery ( fleshy  petiole ), lettuce, spinach
immature flower – broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke

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