WAXAHACHIE — Vegetable gardening in August can be a real challenge in Texas. Usually, August is a dry month and 100-degree temperatures are not uncommon. It is of particular importance to provide water for your garden when needed.
For example, soak the ground deeply when you water, then do not water again for several days, and, to determine if the plants need water, look for wilting.
If you mulched the plants, the soil will remain cool and hold water. Many plants can take the heat, but not their roots. If heavily mulched, the roots will stay considerably cooler and the plants will continue to survive. A big plus is that you’ll use less water.
Tomato plants that are still alive and healthy looking will go semi-dormant. Just keep them watered.
When the weather begins to cool the plants will once again provide another crop.
Early Girl tomatoes are one of the better choices for continued production into the fall season. Juliette’s are good producers for fall, too, but they are small tomatoes. They will, however, possibly provide tomato’s through October if weather permits.
If your tomato plants, or any other plants, are diseased, look yellow and wilted or full of bugs, it is best to pull them up and remove them from the garden. Get rid of them. Don’t compost them but rather bag them and put them out with the trash. Composting them will harm the soil, and will not be suitable for any new plants added to the garden soil.
The peppers from your spring garden will also go semi-dormant, but will produce a lot of blooms in the fall and probably give you a better yield than you had in the spring.
For larger peppers, thin the number of peppers on your plants. By removing the smallest ones, the remaining ones will grow larger. Give them a fresh layer of mulch, keep them watered and when the weather cools provide them with foliar fertilizer.
Broccoli plants can be cut back, mulched and with a little water they may reproduce. It is possible that the insect population has feasted on them and they are not salvageable.
So what can be added to the garden in the fall or early August?
Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower can all be planted in mid-August. Cool season crops such as lettuce, spinach, kale, turnips, beets and carrots can be planted through mid-to-late-August.