For many gardeners, the month of August offers unique gardening opportunities. First, the garden is hardier than you think and there are plenty of tasks this month that will keep your flower and vegetable gardens growing longer. Secondly, many begin to prepare and get a head start on the fall growing season. Below are a few things to consider as you begin the seasonal transition.
• Pick herbs for fresh use and for drying. Continuing to harvest herbs will keep them growing longer.
• If annuals or perennials get leggy or overgrown, cut them back by one-third or more. Not only will this make them look neater, but pruning will encourage new fresh, growth and/or bloom. Fertilize and be sure to water after cutting to further encourage growth.
• Remember to “deadhead” flowers, if needed, in the garden as well as your hanging baskets and containers to prolong their beauty.
• If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of vegetables to harvest this month. However, high temperatures can cause some edibles to stop producing. Be patient, keep watering, and wait for cooler temperatures when production will most likely resume.
• Watering is an important task this month. Remember the basics: Water in the early morning. Water the soil, not the leaves. Water deeply and occasionally rather than shallow and often.
• This is a good month to evaluate your garden; really taking notice of what is doing well and what’s not during this challenging season. Jot it down in your garden journal or otherwise make note of it for next year.
• Make sure all planting areas have a two-inch layer of mulch. Mulches help to regulate soil temperature, conserve moisture in the soil and prevent weed development.
• Look for hungry bagworms on trees and evergreens. To control these caterpillars and prevent them from defoliating the plants, remove them by hand or spray with an appropriate insecticide.
• Raise lawnmower blades by at least ½ inch.Letting the grass grow taller during the summer months will cause the roots to grow deeper into the soil. You will also have to water less to keep the grass green.
• Leave grass clippings on your lawn. As they deteriorate, they fertilize your turf.
• Keep your lawn edged so grasses like Bermuda don’t invade your planting sites.
Russell Brown, General Manager