August gardening checklist
Watering, weeding and deadheading are among the main activities for gardeners this month. But it's also time to harvest fruits and flowers.
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Summertime, and the livin' is easy — at least it can be for gardeners.
Aside from tasting, weeding and watering, essential gardening tasks are at a lull in August.
Never fear, gardening addicts: There's always something to tend for those who are determined. But go easy on yourself and take advantage of the occasional cool day to work in comfort. (Bing: Build an outdoor shower)
August is a relatively low-maintenance month for flowers, but regular watering isn't the only task that will keep your garden in top shape.
Keep deadheading flowers as they fade; not only will the plants look better, but if they're allowed to produce and shed their seeds, they're more likely to stop producing new blooms.
In areas with mild winters and longer growing seasons, annuals should have another feeding of fertilizer in late summer.
- Along with the tips below, water perennials weekly and deeply.
- To check on water levels, trowel into the soil and look for moisture to a depth of three or four inches, or deep enough to ensure that water is reaching roots.
- Deadhead spent blooms before they have a chance to seed.
- Dahlias are probably getting leggy right about now; if so, support them with stakes.
- Iris and other early-blooming perennials can still be divided this month and even into September. Choose a cool day or time of day, and give them a tall drink of water in their new locations.
- If you're gardening in a mild climate, fertilize roses once again this month.
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- Since August is usually the hottest month of the year, watering is a top priority in lawn care.
- Water deeply once a week (more often during scorching dry spells) for an hour at a shot.
- Raise the cutting height on your mower to keep grass longer, conserving water and helping roots stay cool.
- If water is scarce, consider letting your lawn go dormant, and reduce watering to once a month. It may look a little scrappy, but that glowing green hue will return with fall rains.
- Wildflower seeds tend to be ripe by late summer, so if you have a meadow to mow, this is a good month to hop on the tractor.
April may be the "cruelest month," but for gardens August is worse if the weather is hot. Even in mild climates, a single heat wave can put the kibosh on your garden if it doesn't receive enough water.
- Water evaporates quickly on sunny days, so water early in the morning to give plants a head start.
- Make a frequent check of flowers and vegetables for their watering needs. Generally, you'll want to give them about an inch of water each week; deep, less frequent watering is better for them than frequent surface watering.
- Add a light layer of mulch around young plants to help their roots retain water.
- If you're keeping a green lawn, give it an inch of water once a week or slightly more often.
- Check hanging baskets and container plants every day in hot weather.
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Here are a few tips for extending your growing season:
- Early in the month, plant seeds in the ground for fall and winter vegetables such as spinach, radishes, scallions, carrots and lettuces.
- There's still time to transplant greens such as kale and collards, broccoli, cauliflower and early cabbage.
- Container plants, including perennials, trees and shrubs, can be put in the ground now.
- Plant crocus bulbs for delicate splashes of fall color.
- Order fall bulbs for planting.
Keep up the battle against slugs and aphids.
- Slugs will tend to be more abundant now due to extra watering; plant saucers of stale beer around the garden, especially around mulched areas (a favorite slug hiding place) and near tender greens.
- At first notice of aphids, hose-blast them off of leaves or spray them with an insecticidal soap.
Extra watering and hot weather make August a red-letter month for weeds. Expect weeds to germinate and drop their seeds faster; pull them out as soon as they pop up.
Pruning and grooming
- Shrubs and trees are approaching dormancy and should not be pruned except in mild climates. In colder climes, they may not have time to harden off before the cold weather sets in.
- Prune hybrid roses late in the month.
- Cut back lavender once it has finished flowering.
- Pinch back tomato plants for a higher yield.
- Prune raspberries after the last harvest: Cut out old flowering canes, leaving shoot tips and three or four younger canes per foot of raspberry row.
- To avoid giving pests a free lunch, pick fruits and vegetables as soon as they're ripe.
- It's apple-pickin' time! Early apples should be ready to pick this month.
- Garlic and onions can generally be harvested now; pick them when you notice their dry tops beginning to fall over, and let them air-dry.
- Harvest raspberries, which should be producing the last of their fruit this month.
- Tomatoes and melons should be harvested as soon as they're ripe, before pests have a chance to dig in.
- Houseplants will need to be watered more often this month, especially if they're in a sunny window.
- Before you head out for your Lake Minnehaha vacation, move plants out of direct sunlight, especially those in south-facing windows.
- Check the undersides of leaves for aphid clusters and send them to their doom with an appropriate insecticide.
- Flowering houseplants should be pruned after flowers fade; make cuts directly above leaf joints.
- Be especially vigilant about ventilation and watering needs in the greenhouse this month.
- Take cuttings of geraniums.
- Give tomatoes plenty of water and food.
I miss my flowering plants, but I am willing to forgo having a lush, showy this summer, knowing that if my plants die, they are dead and will not come back.
It was a late start in the Olympia area for gardening this year. I have an abundance of lettuce finally. Many of my fruit trees lost their fruit early, I think in part that June was the second warmest November on record.
Personally I would NEVER use Roundup or any other herbicide on my garden. My garden is in raised beds that I created with Free-cycled cedar fencing. I hunt slugs nightly after sunset assisted by a flashlight with a sod cutter or the soles of my shoe. The the poppies, why would I deadhead them when I can gather the sap? I am hoping that in the next few years I can grow some 8-foot tall mariju****gally.
Here in San Antonio I have given up on the garden. Too hot, water restrictions and high water bill so I pulled it all up but three tomato plants that I hope will start to produce again when it cools down or starts to rain again--which after the prayers today I believe it will soon--
I am preparing for the fall though. You can check out my garden at vegetable gardeing made easier.
Just found a brand new Western Garden book at the thrift store and it really gives a lot of info on when and what to plant in the different zones.
I moved in December. Really wanted to be able to plant stuff. Landlord said yes and even offered to till it for me. I marked out the area used round up prior to the till. The area is fill for an old foundation so wasn't sure what the soil would be like. Turned out to be not bad. Half of it is a sandier type soil, the other rocky - very rocky. I started small to see what grows best. Tomatoes bombed! But I don't blame that on the soil we had a lot of rain and when fruits developed they quickly got rotten spots on them when they were still green. Fruits are small. I used lime but did not soil test - knowing that I'll have to build the soil up. Eggplants are growing very good on rocky side. Peppers are too! Not as nice as I've had in past years but we've had a strange summer. I put in 3 pickling cucumbers all in the same area but only 1 took off and is producing nice fruits. I have 2 Acorn squash & only 1 butternut squash. I tried to start some zucchini seeds but we had a pesky squirrel that ate them as fast as I planted them. My peas didn't do as well this year, but beans were good!
I'm finding different plants/weeds growing than what I'm used too. There is some kind of plant that looks like a succulent that grow close to the ground and is every where in my garden. Also a type of grass/weed the grows taller than anything else and is very easy to pull that's spotty, but is all over too. There were a few that had prickly things on them so I had to use gloves to pull. Since my peas and beans are done I'm going to pull them. Also since tomatoes are not good thinking of removing them and then spraying the open areas with round up, maybe even cover with black plastic & let every thing get roasted out.
Does anyone know of a good identifying book for grasses and weeds?
I have a compost pile that someone had for years by the looks of it but it is very weedy and I will bag it in black plastic to kill off the weeds and seeds in it.
This garden is my work in progress. I hope to get better results each year. I'm adding peat moss to the soil to help retain water Next year will soil test to see exactly what it needs. This year I needed to put my resources towards weed killers, & basic stuff - lime, peat moss, & fertilizer. Next year I'll be in a better position to do it right! Test first! There's nothing like fresh picked in the sun goodies!
I have a question on blueberries. I think my landlord will not object to me planting them but what should I do to prepare the soil. What kind of soil do they like and what do you use to get it that way? I could ask my dad but he has some health issues right now. His bushes are producing over a quart per bush every few days. Some are towards the end. He has quarter size berries - that's what I want to have!
I had some roundup that got froze and it still worked. I used it on areas that I wanted to get rid of the weeds and grasses in the sidewalk cracks and along the concrete guides that lay along my driveway. Took 2 applications but still worked! will use it again on the weeds that are coming back up til it's gone, then will buy fresh. I will buy the concentrate. As much as the premixed but you can make a lot more of it by adding your own water rather than paying for the convenience of some one else mixing it. A gallon of the premixed stuff was roughly $20.00, a small bottle of concentrate was less than $12.00 - and makes 5 times as much! Read your labels and be aware of what your buying - No different than the grocery isles! Know what your getting!
We are moving soon and want to relocate our yard which consists of grapes, raspberries, currents, blueberries, elderberries, hollies, lilacs, lavender and a lot of other bushes and plants.
My question concerning the berries is....should I prune these bushes back before I relocate them?