Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garden Tips for August

It's hard for me to believe it's August already. The summer just flew by didn't it? The garden season isn't over with yet though. We can still get a lot done this year. You can sow some vegetables for fall if you are quick. Spinach, greens and lettuce and radishes can be direct sown now because they like cool weather. Do be prepared later to cover them as we get into the fall. If you are in warmer zones you can start seeds of cucumbers, squash, carrots and many other vegetables because your weather will be cooling off but you won't have frost like those of us in the northern climates.

Watering: Remember that if you don't receive an inch of rain a week, then water your garden. Windy days can really dry beds and containers out as well, so watch the soil if you've had dry, hot and windy days. If you mulched in the spring you might need to add more to your trees and shrubs, especially if they were just planted this year. A mulching of 3-4 inches can make a big difference on keeping the soil from drying out completely. Water in the morning when possible because it's the best time, before it's too hot.

Herbs: Oregano, mints and lemon balm should never be left to go to seed. They will spread like mad all over your garden and yard. Harvest or at least trim the blooms off BEFORE they go to seed. Some other herbs like nasturtiums, calendula and dill also reseed, but it's a good thing. They won't get out of control, and will come back nicely next year.

Peony Care: I wanted to mention a little bit about peony care this time of year. The dead blooms, and the heads left after the blooms fell off should be removed if you didn't do this previously. Leave the foliage UNLESS it looks diseased. If the plant looks browned, blackened or has white on the leaves then prune those areas and discard them. Remember, don't compost any plant that looks diseased. If the plants look normal, then leave the foliage until after your first frost, then cut them back.

On OFL I have an article on planting and caring for peonies, if you need more information.