Regional Gardening Guide - Zone 7-8

August 1 to August 30-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.

Here’s what’s happening in your gardening region:

August is a hodgepodge of enjoying summer harvests, tending the second season vegetable garden, preparing for fall, and looking ahead to spring. Now is a good time to take stock of what is doing well and what isn’t. Make a list of vegetables you’d like to grow next summer and those you can skip. Take note of areas within your ornamental landscape beds that could benefit from some extra summer color. Most of all, make sure to wear sunscreen, hydrate, and garden in the cool morning or evening hours. The heat indexes this summer have been brutal.

 

map for zone 7-8

Your Regional reporter

Katie Peters regional reporter photo

Katie Elzer-Peters is the author of Beginner's Illustrated Guide to Gardening, Carolinas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, Southern Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, and many other vegetable gardening books. She lives in coastal North Carolina, where she enjoys four-season gardening.

To see what Katie's doing in her garden. Click Here!

1. Learn About Pest Control

Heat, humidity, rain—the weather conditions that encourage pest and disease activity are at all time highs this month. It’s late enough in the season that you’d be forgiven for throwing in the towel and starting over with new plants. However, eventually pest and disease problems will catch up with you if you aren’t vigilant. Learn how to get ahead of common diseases of tomatoes, some tips for organic pest control, and ways to deal with dear.

2. Plan a Cruciferous Vegetable Plot

Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Kohlrabi, Cauliflower, and Collards—some of the most-eaten vegetables—are in the cruciferous family. They have their origins in cool, moist European countries, and as such, prefer growing in the late fall, winter, and spring in our growing zones. Now is the time to order seeds to sow in late August to mid September for fall crops. Here are our picks for high-performing cruciferous vegetables.

  • Brussels Sprout, Early Marvel Hybrid, , large
  • Kale, Lacinato , , large
  • Cauliflower, Snowball Self-Blanching, , large

3. Learn about how to cook and enjoy your summer harvest

Hopefully you still have some delicious produce ripening on the vine! There is absolutely nothing like a cooking and eating a fresh eggplant or squash to really enjoy summer. If you’re running out of creative ways to cook your produce, look no further than these recipes to add a bit of spice back to your diet. Here are some ideas for eggplant, tomatoes, and summer squash—all edibles that you probably have in abundance right now.

4. Plant a Fall Cutting Garden

There’s still time too plant flower seeds to enjoy throughout the summer and early fall. These are all annual flowers that will grow and bloom before the frost. We love these colors because they will look great in fall bouquets, and we’ll take fall color in zones 7 and 8 wherever we can get it.

  • Celosia, Arrabona Red, , large
  • Zinnia, Jazzy Mix, , large
  • Cosmos, Bright Lights Mixed Colors, , large

5. What You Need For Fertilizing

Heavy rains this summer have all but washed out most of the nutrients in the soil. Now is a good time to give your plants an extra boost so that they keep performing until frost. Organic fertilizers are best because they feed the microorganisms in the soil, building the quality of soil over time. Here are some of our most popular products.

  • Sea Magic Organic Growth Activator, , large
  • Dino Mite Plant Food, , large
  • Garden-tone Organic Plant Food, , large