Tuesday’s Tips — August Gardening

We are deep into summer weather now and it’s proving to be even hotter and drier than last month in SoCal — no real surprise there. What’s also not too surprising is our general lack of enthusiasm for gardening lately. It always happens this time of year. Most of the plants are well past their big flowering and there are far fewer things to anticipate and look for as we walk around our gardens.

Of course that doesn’t mean that we can take a gardening vacation. There are fruits and vegetables that need picking and preserving, weeds to get rid of, and lots of deadheading to do. And, for goodness sake, pay attention to your thirsty plants. When the temperatures rise you need to give your plants additional water, especially the containers, sometimes as much as once a day. So put on your sunblock and get out there!

Things to do in your garden in August:

  • Deadhead roses and other repeat bloomers
  • Remove suckers from roses and prune lightly to improve circulation
  • Continue to spray roses and other plants for powdery mildew
  • Remove seed pods/berries from fuchsias, cut back by about a quarter
  • Pinch flowers off of coleus and cut back a bit if they’ve become too leggy
  • Remove spent bloom stalks from agapanthus, daylilies and society garlic
  • Pull spent stems from alstroemerias – yank them right out of the ground! Sounds violent, but it will encourage new blooms
  • Feed flowering plants, ferns, and tropicals
  • Harvest vegetables regularly
  • Keep an eye out for those voracious green monsters, aka tomato hornworms
  • Keep up with your weeding. Doing it after you water will make it much easier
  • In the mountain region, it’s time to get row covers installed to protect your crops from the cool night-time temps

The fall catalogues are starting to show up in our mailboxes and that means it’s time to start planning for fall planting and cool-weather crops. You can even do a bit of preparation for spring planting by taking pictures of your garden when it’s in full bloom. This winter when you’re ordering for next year’s garden you’ll have pictures to remind you of where the empty spots are and to help you decide on some new color combinations.

Stay cool!


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