Crops you can plant in August

My garden just didn't meet my expectations this year. I tried to get everything planted on time but life got in the way and I literally only got half done. Now it's August and what I planted is doing great...but I didn't plant as much as last year! That's ok, that just means I have enough space to plant a fall garden!

I don't usually plant very much in fall, in fact I'm normally quite burned out by now, so planting the whole garden in August is a brand new adventure for me! I live in zone 5. Actually I'm considered zone 5B. Everything I'm planting in my garden is suitable for zones 5 & 6. Most of these will do well in zones 4 & 7 too, though it gets a little iffy if you get too far away from here! 

Food crops to plant in August

When deciding what to plant in August, the first thing you'll want to do is determine your first frost date. This is pretty much the same as when we determined your last frost date, exact you're using the fall frost date instead of the spring frost date. Since I'm smack dab in the middle of Pittsburgh and Erie, I'll need to guess. My first frost should be somewhere between Oct 17 & 29. That gives me at least 60 days. 

Easiest way to preserve hot peppers

Ok, so in reality this is probably the easiest way to preserve any type of pepper, but since I mostly preserve hot peppers every year I'm going to focus on those! Why do I preserve so many hot peppers, you ask? Well, it's because I don't like 'we' certainly can't eat them all during the growing season. 

My husband loves hot peppers though and by preserving them when their growing at their peak in summer, he has plenty for his pastas, pizzas and sandwiches all winter long. Plus, saving our own peppers means we don't have to pay a premium price for fresh peppers in winter! (I love that part!)

preserving peppers by freezing

The easiest way to preserve peppers is to simply clean, chop and freeze them. Not only is it a super simple method for preserving hot peppers, but they hold up great to freezing and do not lose any color or flavor when thawed.

How to dry herbs in the microwave

The herbs have been growing like mad in the garden and they are finally ready to harvest. I have been spending a lot of time harvesting and drying herbs over the last week and started to run out of room. Since my dehydrator was full, I started using my microwave to dry herbs and it is amazing!

I have one of those multi tray dehydrators and I use it all the time. It works really well, except it takes hours to dry each batch of fresh herbs and obviously it can only hold so much. When you use the microwave to dry herbs though, each batch is done in under 2 minutes. So you literally never run out of room since it's only just a minute or so till you can put a new batch of herbs in to dehydrate! 

Fresh herbs, drying in the microwave

Plus it's really great to use the microwave to dry herbs instead of a dehydrator when it's already hot outside and I'm resisting turning on the AC. The microwave doesn't blow out warm air like a regular dehydrator does. When it's running for the 8 hours it takes to dry each batch of fresh herbs, that's a lot of extra heat. 

Drying herbs in the microwave takes much less time than any other herb drying method. Plus, it's easy. It takes about the same amount of effort as using your car as a solar dehydrator...which is not much at all!

Remove rust from garden tools

I admit it, I don't always remember to clean my garden tools when I'm done with them. Actually, I rarely remember! Unfortunately that means that as I get all my hand tools out for my spring gardening, that many of them are rusty. I guess it's time to clean the rust off the garden tools. Luckily, it's not as hard as it sounds. 

Rust is another name for iron oxide, which occurs when iron or an alloy that contains iron, like steel, is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long period of time. Also known as: evidence I didn't clean and dry my tools before putting them away. 

Removing rust from small garden tools

Rust can be removed from large garden tools with a grinder or in milder cases a wire brush and steel wool. I only needed to remove rust from hand tools so I opted to use an acid instead.

While there are many acids that could do the job of removing rust, white vinegar is around 5% acetic acid and is already in my pantry. Plus I'm cheap, so that's what we're using today! I'm all about being frugal and vinegar is the most frugal cleaner I know of.

Chive blossom vinegar

Chives are one of the first herbs to pop through the ground each spring, so it just makes sense that they would be in my first recipe of the year. When the other herbs are just starting to leaf out, chives are already blooming and the lovely purple chive blossoms are delicious!

Chives, chive blossoms and chive flavored vinegar.

I use chive blossoms in a lot of different recipes. I make chive blossom butter, I use chive blossoms in salads or as a plate garnish, and I also make chive blossom vinegar. Flavored vinegar's are easy to make and the pretty pink color of the chive blossoms makes for a lovely colored vinegar.

Flavored vinegar's are super easy to make, and once you know how you can come up with lots of different flavor combinations! All you really need to do to make an herb infused vinegar, is pick your herbs and choose a vinegar then put them together and let them marinate a while. Ok, well...maybe there's a little more to it than that! (but not much!)