- Remember that August is a good time to weed, and get things ready for fall season planting. September is an important time to plant perennials so they can get established during the late September and October times of moderate temperatures and rainfall. Fall-planted trees and shrubs have time to develop roots and perennials can get settled before the deep frosts of late November.
- August is a good time to get in your catalog orders for fall, both for your plants and especially bulbs. If you wait, you may not have the selection you hoped for.
- Keep your plantings watered, it is only a little longer ’til the fall rains and cooler temperatures. Watch out for mulch, it is great for keeping moisture in the soil, yet if it is very wet along with August heat there could be disease problems. Stir it up with your cultivating hoe, and pull it back from plants that might be susceptible to rot. Root rot can be caused by water-logged warm soil.
- Collect seeds from your favorites that are setting seed. Dry them carefully and package for next year. Don’t forget to label and store in a place that stays cool, dry, and frost-free
- Like January, you might want to use the hottest days to plan your fall gardening schedule, keep your journal, and just sit in the shade and enjoy your garden
- Dead-head, compost ( which you could turn if the heat abates), and shape up some of the plants that get all sprawling at this time of the season. Prune the summer-blooming shrubs when they finish. (The general rule for pruning blooming shrub is right after their flowers are finished)
- Do you have perennial flowers that have gone into dormancy? This is a good time to move those, such as Oriental Poppy or Bearded Iris. Bearded, the type with rhizomes, can be cleaned up, cutting out signs of borers. Replant with compost since they are heavy feeders. It’s too late to add fertilizer, but you could add in bone meal, a slow acting fertilizer good for roots and bulbs. Time to make more hostas with divisions now. It is vital to water newly divided plants. and it doesn’t hurt to protect the roots, even give protective cover for a day or so in really hot weather. As we move into late August, it is a good time for moving peonies and planting new ones. They take a couple years to really get settled in well, so don’t move them unnecessarily.
- If you heat with wood in the winter, August is time to replenish the woodpile; order it if that is how you get your supply. Don’t leave too many chores until the nice autumn weather, it will be overwhelming enough with jobs that must wait until then.
- Veggie gardener? I don’t need to tell you that this is your major harvest time, or that you will be planting the fall cool weather crops, but if you are new to the kitchen garden, those are your August garden chorelist.
- Stop feeding, if you haven’t already. Plants need to get ready to sleep for the winter and a big meal before bedtime has bad effects. Once they are dormant you can add the type of fertilizer they need for the winter root feeding. So much secrecy goes on under the frozen earth! Just think those thoughts when the mercury is rising in August …Think cool be cool 😉
Those are the top ten things to remember in August: weed, prepare for fall, order plants and firewood, keep things watered and keep tabs on the health of your garden, harvest, collect seed, dead-head/divide/prune as needed, divide dormant plants, plant cool season veggie seed, and Don’t Fertilize your trees, shrubs or perennials. That is it in a nutshell, I think.
Use A Journal
You could use your garden journal to record good varieties that have done well for you this year, and notate your list of to-do in the garden, or make your fall plant wish-list. Fall is one of those seasons that have more work than you have time for, and if you have 100 bulbs or so, you will wish you had a plan. If you are planting beds of them or areas of a group- it saves so much to have already prepared the area. That is just my experience, and granted I am a very disorganized serendipitous type of person, but even you diligent types will be glad to follow encouragement to take advantage of whatever breaks August gives you for actual work, and map out the work plan for those days that zapped your best intentions.
And what if you go on vacation, or give into reading that great novel you lost yourself in? That is perfectly ok, the garden will wait for you. That is why these were all suggestions…Gentle encouragement.
Do I follow my own good advice? Sometimes. I have been tackling weeding when there are no heat advisories, and I always am game for planning- that is just a step away from day dreaming. Always a pleasant way to while away a summer day, iced tea in one hand, pencil in the other. And there is always the computer (insert a mischievous grin) for doing research, et al. How virtually virtuous of us.
I have many years of gardening behind me, and I know the disappointment of having waited until September for getting my garden ready for plants or dividing some of my plants. As it is, life is too short for the full panoply of gardening, so anything to create the constant balance between the work and the pleasure is a benefit.
Some of my to-do list will be subject to your own tweaking.
It is a time to take cuttings of plants you want to winter, and most people don’t even think of the old fashioned woodpile.
Some people are showing their flowers and vegetables at county fairs and exhibits, some dry their flowers for arrangements and some wouldn’t think that seed collecting was worth their while… It is just the great variety that is the occupation of gardening.
It expands and contracts with life and demands, but August is a useful time for all who love plants and who are thinking of their own lists of things to do.
Tags: August, gardening tips, top 10