August 2013 Gardening Tips for the Backyard Gardener

For most of us summer is a second dormant season, or at least most of us want it to be one. In August the true gardeners are most evident. Even in the heat of August there is still much to be done. Okra, southern peas, sweet potatoes, peppers, and melons can all be planted. Just keep them watered and they will thrive. If you want to have a fall tomato and pepper crop now is the time to get plants into the ground.

August is a good time to prep your gardens for fall planting. Weeding, mulching, trimming back trees and shrubs, deadheading and removing spent blooms and plowing are all things you can do at this time. August brings more fall planting into the garden, summer squash, cucumbers, green beans, can all be planted now for a fall harvest. Also seeds of cole crops (broccoli, kohlrabi, and cabbage) can all be started indoors. As mentioned in our March/April newsletter now is a good time to sow your bluebonnet seeds for spring color.

As you already know watering and keeping your garden hydrated is top priority at this time of year. Be sure to saturate the soil thoroughly so the roots will not be drawn near the surface of the ground. It’s also important not to overwater especially in the heat of the day, doing so might cause your plant(s) to yellow and possibly die.

In September check the acidity of your soil and mulch your azaleas. Chrysanthemums should be given a commercial liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks until buds appear, then weekly until buds show color. For large flowers, leave the center bud in each cluster and pinch off all lateral buds before they begin stemming. Fertilize beds if needed.

Herbs that can be planted include: chives, coriander, dill, garlic, lovage, and winter savory. September is a good time to prepare your vegetable garden. 1 part soil, 1 part sand, 1 part pine bark mulch or moistened peat moss approximately 12-18 inches is a good soil for beets, carrots, onions and turnips.