August Snapshot – Home Vegetable Gardens


by: Sarah Dyer, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent & County Extension Coordinator
UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Dade County UGA Extension

Hello Dade Gardeners! I know many of you have been enjoying the bounty of your gardens lately! It is a
great time to be outside, tending to your garden, and harvesting fresh yummies! Continue to harvest crops
during their peak, enjoy some of the fresh product, and remember to set some aside for canning. We’ve
had a decent amount of rain during the peak of summer, but lately we have had a couple of dry spells in
various parts of Dade county. If you notice dry spells in your area, be sure to water your garden to prevent
drought stress. If you’re going on an end-of-summer vacation, remember to ask a neighbor to water your
garden while you’re away. Mulch can help conserve moisture and also acts to suppress weeds. If you
don’t use mulch, remember to cultivate between rows to suppress broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds.
It is about the time where summer crops have reached the end of their growing season. As you harvest
crops and summer rows become bare, be sure to pull up plants and clean off these harvested rows right
away to prevent insect and disease buildup. Consider planting a fall garden. One advantage of a fall
garden is cooler days that make working in the garden more enjoyable. Another benefit of a fall vegetable
garden is that most fall vegetables are leafy, green plants that don’t require pollinators to produce the
parts we eat. The major challenge to a fall vegetable garden in Dade is the short growing time we have
available before the first frost. In Georgia as a whole, it can be very challenging to get cool-season
vegetables to survive through the end of summer. There is a delicate balance between starting them early
enough to allow them to mature (50 to 60 days) before a hard frost and getting them through the end of a
hot, dry summer.

If you plan to have a fall garden, fallow soil (leave soil unplanted) to conserve moisture for germination
of fall crops and to help reduce the nematode population in the soil. Prepare soil for plantings of “cool-
season” crops by applying fertilizer according to soil test results. Also, prepare beds so rains will settle
the rows and make it easier to either get seeds to germinate when they are planted or to get transplants
settled in. As you prepare your fall vegetable garden spot, think of what you want to plant. Good fall
vegetable garden crops include snap beans, Irish potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale,
onions, turnips, radishes, spinach, and lettuce. In order to calculate the appropriate planting date for these
crops, determine the frost date (likely late Oct. or early Nov.) and count back the number of days to
maturity plus 18 days for harvest of the crop. You can do this for any crop to determine if you have
enough time to plant from seed. Some fast-growing fall vegetables such as radishes and spinach can be
planted from seed if planted soon. Some fall vegetables take longer to mature, and with our limited fall
growing season, those vegetables are best purchased as transplants. When calculating planting dates of
transplants, remember to use the number of days left to maturity from the current transplant age, not the
total number of days from seed to maturity. Now is the time to purchase any transplants and get to