What to do in the garden in August

promix-gardening-pruning

It’s the long, hot dog days of summer. It’s perfectly acceptable to dedicate a few hours to laying around in the shade. 

Things may be slowing down a bit, but there are still plants to care for, weeds to pull and bugs to eradicate.  

  • Ask a neighbor to water your potted plants and hanging baskets if you’re headed out on vacation. They won’t last long without water during the hottest month of the year.  
  • Gather poppies, statice, yarrow, lavender and cornflowers and dry them for winter arrangements.  
  • Continue to spray roses if black spot and other fungal diseases are causing problems this summer. 
  • Cut back annuals hard if they’re looking worn out. They’ll surprise you with a new flush of blooms. 
  • Feed asters, mums and other fall-blooming perennials one final time before temperatures begin to drop. 
  • Divide and replant bearded iris. Discard worn out centers and other nonproductive sections. 
  • Purchase spring-blooming bulbs for planting this fall. Spend a little more for big, plump bulbs.  
  • Continue to deadhead hardy annuals, but leave a few blooms if you want them to self-sow. 
  • Trim and feed plants in containers and hanging baskets to keep them blooming until the first frost. 
  • Stake tall perennials like lilies and dahlias. 
  • Start dividing spring-blooming perennials. 
  • Get a head start on annuals for next year’s garden. Take cuttings of tender plants like geranium and fuchsia to propagate and grow indoors this winter.  
  • If you’ve let your lawn go dormant during the summer, give it a good soaking this month to promote healthy fall growth. 
  • Sow a last fall crop of frost-hardy plants like kale, peas, beets, spinach, turnips and beans. 
  • Set squash and pumpkins on boards or shingles to lift them off the soil and prevent rot.  
  • Sweet corn is ready to harvest when the juice is sweet and milky.  

promix-gardening-corn

  • Continue to feed tomato plants regularly. Remove leaves from the lower part of plants to increase air circulation and prevent disease. 
  • Cut back herbs to encourage a new flush of growth for one last harvest 
  • Clean up leaves and other plant debris from vegetable and flower beds. 
  • Water plants thoroughly and deeply when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid frequent, shallow watering which produces weak roots.  
  • Water mature shrubs periodically during dry spells. Provide enough moisture to soak the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm.) 
  • Watch for spider mites if conditions are dry and dusty. Remove them with a strong stream of water or insecticidal soap spray. 
  • Stay vigilant in your war against weeds. Don’t allow them to go to seed.