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August Gardening Checklist-Tips for your Summer Garden

The dog days of summer are here! The garden is in full swing and the squash, beans, tomatoes, peppers and more are overflowing our harvest basket. Here is a handy list to help you through the month of August and prepare for the fall and winter garden. Tricia shows you what she is doing in her garden in our video, August Gardening Checklist.

1. Keep up on the Harvest

Your garden does not take a vacation when you do. If you are leaving for an extended vacation, make sure that someone comes over and harvests your cucumbers, summer squash, and fresh snap beans. They will stop or slow down on new fruit production if not picked regularly. If you have too many cucumbers, make some pickles. If you are not into canning, then refrigerator pickles are easy, quick and require no canning. Check out recipes for a refrigerator pickles at our blog site under Recipes and Preserving.

2. Check Your Fruit Trees

August is a month for fresh fruit like peaches, plums, pluots, apricots and nectarines. Pick your fruit at the peak of ripeness. Peaches will smell, well like a peach, they will give slightly when squeezed and no longer have any green undertones. Same holds true for nectarines, except they will smell like a nectarine. Ripe plums and pluots will have a sweet, fruity smell and give slightly when squeezed. If you have more fruit than you can eat, think about preserving them by freezing, making jams, jelly or compotes.

3. Seed a New Lawn or Fix Bare Spots

Now through September is a good time to seed new lawns or fix any bare spots in the existing lawn. Watch our video, Organic Lawn Care for helpful information on caring for your lawn and reseeding it.

4. Check Your Irrigation Lines for Leaks

August is a hot month and the garden still needs regular watering. Check your irrigation lines for leaks, rodent damage or low flow due to clogs or kinks.

5. Pinch off Flowers from Your Herbs

Keep the flowers pinched off your herb plants to encourage more growth. It is especially important to remove the flowers from your basil plants. This will encourage bushier plants which will translate into more leaves for making pesto or to use fresh or dried.

6. Remove Squash Flowers

If you want less fruit but bigger winter squash or pumpkins, remove any new female flowers and new fruit.

7. Prune the Tall Blackberry Canes

Continue pruning the tall primocanes of your blackberries (this encourages lateral branches, which is where next years berries will be born). Prune them to the height of the support or fence. Floricanes can be cut back after berries have been harvested.

8. Divide your Iris Plants

If your bearded iris plants have slowed down on flower production or it seems that the plants are really crowded, then it is time to divide them. Watch our video, Dividing Perennials for helpful information.

9. Remove Spent Flowers

Deadhead existing flowers, you may get a second flush of flowers. Sow seed for winter pansies and violas and plant sunflower seed for fall display.

10. Weed Control

Weeds continue to grow and should be removed before they go to seed.

11. Pick Your Sweet Corn at Its Peak

Sweet corn might be ready to harvest. To pick at the peak of sweetness and flavor, harvest early in the morning when the sugar content is at its highest. Also the corn is ready to be picked when the silks have turned brown and drying up, and the ear feels full. You can peel back the husk on one ear to check the kernel size.

12. Monitor Plants for Heat Stress and Sunburn

If you see sunscald on your tomatoes or peppers, put up some shade cloth to protect from the intense sun. For any signs of heat stress, try giving your plants a little compost tea or kelp.

13. Feed Your Heavy Feeding Plants

Cucumbers, squash or corn will benefit from a feeding with a balanced fertilizer.

14. Pre-order Your Garlic

Garlic planting time will be here before you know it and now is the time to pre-order your garlic. Some varieties sell out quickly, so for the best selection, reserve your favorite variety.

15. Plant Some of Your Fall/Winter Harvest Seeds

Plant some seeds for your fall/winter garden. Veggies like turnips, beets, carrots, kale, greens, broccoli, radish or cabbage can be planted now for a fall or winter harvest.

6 comments

  • Mary, for planting of cole and root crops, it kind of depends on where you live. If you live in a cold region, it might be too late to start broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower from seed. You still should have time with beets, turnips, radishes, greens, lettuce and possibly rutabaga. If you live in a region with mild winters you can start all of these from seeds now. For herbs you can put in cilantro, and most herbs can be put in a pot and brought indoors over the winter. For flowers pansy, viola and sunflowers (they will grow pretty quickly)

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
  • What are the August suggestions for companion, flower, and herb planting for the cole and roots crops on the list?

    Mary
  • Nicholas, It might be too late for this year for your corn, but we do have lures that you can use in conjunction with a sticky trap that will help catch the adults, https://www.groworganic.com/corn-earworm-and-tomato-fruitworm-lure.html. We do carry quite a few products that are labeled to control for corn earworms. This solution chart will help you, https://groworganic.com/media/pdfs/PestSolutionChart.pdf. It lists all of the products that are listed for corn earworm.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
  • So I go out to harvest my “sweet corn at its peak” and 7 out of 10 ears are half-eaten by a huge green caterpillar. I believe it’s called the corn earworm. Not the first year my corn is ruined. What do I do about this pest? Does Peaceful Valley have some organic spray specifically for the earworm?
    Thank you!

    Nicholas Larsen
  • Dee, melons, watermelons and peppers are happily growing strong really just need harvesting, but we did mention peppers under tip 12, watch out for sunburn.

    Melons should be ripening, so just monitor for when they are ripe. Check out our Tip of the Week on when melons are ripe, https://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/tip-of-the-week

    Keep all of these watered, but water deeply and less frequently. Keep your peppers picked so they keep producing.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
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