In the August Garden, the days are hot and long, sometimes dusty, sometimes foggy. We harvest an abundance of zucchini, green beans, corn, basil and favorite roots. Tomatoes begin to ripen, peppers show fruit. There’s a lot to do this month to keep the garden fresh and productive.
Water: No rain is in sight for the next few weeks, which means we are pipe bound. Continue to deeply water newly planted shrubs, trees and berries at least once a week. Containerized plantings need water every few days, depending on the weather and the size of the containers.
Plant: The days are long, the ground is warm. There is still plenty of time to start a late summer/autumn garden. Plant lettuce leaves, spinach and kale. Now is the best time to plant Brussels sprouts. Hot summer herbs like basil and cilantro grow best this time of year.
Sowing Seeds: Warm soil in the summer is ideal for starting seeds like carrots, beets, green mescluns, and even early-yielding bush beans. Sow now for a mid-autumn harvest.
Color up: Nurseries offer many one-gallon, four-inch instant color annuals and perennials this time of year. Why not put it in red? Stunning reds include ivy geranium, petunia, salvia, tuberous begonia and mimulus, to name a few. Pots of yellow daisies, sky blue lobelias, sparkling white alyssum make a statement on a sunny patio or porch. Play cool in the shade with hydrangeas, New Guinea impatiens and tuberous begonias.
Fertilize: Keep your garden lush and vibrant by providing a good summer feed. Newly planted roses, shrubs and trees, strawberries, container plantings, almost anything, benefit greatly from an application of all-purpose fertilizer this month. However, blueberries do not need to be fed in the summer. Regular applications of liquid container fertilizer will go a long way to keeping these plantings bright and blooming.
Terry Kramer is the site manager of the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has written a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at [email protected]