How Does Your Garden Grow?

Tending your garden in August

By Katherine Clarkson
Posted 8/6/21

In August your garden is flourishing, the zucchinis are taking over, perennials and annuals are thriving. Yet, some plants appear spent and sunburnt. It is time to head out to your garden and tackle …

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Tending your garden in August

Posted

In August your garden is flourishing, the zucchinis are taking over, perennials and annuals are thriving. Yet, some plants appear spent and sunburnt. It is time to head out to your garden and tackle goals to make certain your plants will remain healthy and transition to fall gardening. Here is a handful of chores to include in your August to-do list.

Apply mulch to your bare soil. This will help retain moisture and prevent weeds. You can likewise add compost which will add nutrients. During the hot temperatures avoid fertilizing to prevent your plants from struggling to grow in the hot weather. Water regularly and in the morning. A slow watering is better than several small ones. Weed often so they do not compete with your plants for moisture and nutrients. In addition, get your shovel out and divide perennials that have finished producing flowers. Bearded iris and daylilies are examples of plants that can split.

Plant your fall vegetable garden now. Fall vegetables will be fine through frost and the cooler temperatures will cause them to taste crisp and sweet. Vegetables that can be planted in August include leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, collards, and kale. Radishes, beets, and turnips can be started from seed. Likewise, garlic can be sowed in the fall and harvested in the summer.

Approximately two weeks into August remove flowers from your tomato plants. The plants will concentrate more on ripening instead of putting energy into forming more fruit. Additionally, begin preparing your perennials for the winter by hardening them off. You do this by reducing the quantity of water. It is now time to prepare your garden for frost or snow.

There are many options for frosty weather protection, such as cutting plastic bottles in half and placing them over small plants. Or you can use greenhouse plastic and PVC pipes to make a homemade hoop structure. To do this, hammer metal stakes into the ground and slide 10-foot segments of PVC pipe on the stakes to form an arch. Next, cover the pipes with heavy plastic and secure it using clips. Once your plants are protected, look for seed heads that can be collected and saved. It is the easiest and most natural way to grow your favorite plants for free.

Once flowers fade, most seeds are ripe for picking. We should do seed harvesting on a dry sunny day and harvest the seedpods after they have changed from green to brown. Use a clean sharp pair of garden scissors to cut the pod or seed head from the plant and place them in a paper bag. It is necessary to use a paper bag, as seeds can spoil in plastic and remember to label. If you collect seeds that are not completely dried, spread them out on a screen or piece of paper and dry them at room temperature. Store them in a cool and dark spot over winter. Most seeds will store well for one-two years. Last, it is vital that you make sure your garden journal is up to date. Be sure to note any success or failures for next year’s reference.

Now that you have completed your August to-do list it is time to putter around the garden and even think about sitting down and enjoy being in it. Thank you for reading and if you have any suggestion or comments, please reach out to me at katherineclarkson2@gmail.com or at parkcountymg.weebly.com/contact.html. The Park County Master Gardeners will be at most Big Horn Basin Farmers’ Markets on Mondays in Powell and Thursdays in Cody.

(Katherine Clarkson of Wapiti is the president of the Park County Master Gardeners.)

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