By Jannie Vaught,
Planting in mid -season or shoulder season, generally there are 2 garden seasons, but if your are a gardener in a warmer climate with less frost or deep freezing the shoulder or mid-season are very productive.
We have annual and perennial plants in our gardens. And many of the annuals are actually perennial, meaning they will grow year round for m zone 8a here in Llano, Mason and surrounding areas then it will switch to 8 just a few miles south east. It depends on those pesky frost dates and now with the heat and dry weather, it is a huge question mark, pay attention and keep a journal for next hear.
The problems we are having with the dry heat is the plants become Heat Stressed and simply give-up. So if you are wanting to keep those peppers or tomatoes going consider a large shade cloth above the raised beds or even in-ground growing area. I have been encouraging trees and shade and found growing in partial shade in Fiber Planters or even a old bottomless cattle water tank my garden is using less water and still growing. The bottomless water tank is tall and needs a lot of fill, which is first layer paper and cardboard, next layer sand excess from the flood last October and then top soil and compost. This is located on the drip line of a large Ash tree and I just wish I had a few more of these tanks, they are deep and easy to reach since they are tall.
If you are considering growing and planting in the mid-shoulder season you will find it difficult to purchase plant starts. But there are many plants that can be direct seed planted now, Here is a list from our Vegetable Garden Planting Guide : Asian greens. snap and Lima beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,carrots cauliflower,chard collards,garlic,kale,kohlrabi,mustard greens,English and snap peas,radish ,shallots,spinach,turnips and rutabaga. Broccoli, cabbage and lettuce are often pre-started under lights.
Soon you will see onions start and leek starts for sale in our local feed stores. While I have left some sunflowers for the birds to eat they are now ready to be cut down and returned to the com poster and even some of the millet and sorghum I plant for pollinators are now bare. This dry heat has made natures creatures hungry and the bees are working the garden and the wild amaranth for pollen and nectar.
The rain will come and the cooler temperatures will return and shoulder growing season is beginning. Sharpen and clean your garden tools it is time to start digging and planting.
Growing green with Jannie