by Gary Crispell, EMGV
Just in case you were napping when it happened, IT’S AUGUST! The dog days are here. That means at our house that the dog is permanently camped on an AC vent. Who knows? Maybe she’s got the right idea. However, if you are one of those people who insist on torturing yourself in the garden, here are some hints to get you in and out of it quickly.
About the only things that will benefit from fertilizing in August are strawberries. If you don’t have strawberries don’t even think about fertilizer.
Plant pansy seeds in flats for transplanting into the landscape in mid-September. (You can do it in the cool kitchen!)
Bulbs to plant in August include Lycoris (spider lily), Colchicum (autumn crocus) and Sternbergia (autumn daffodil).
Sow seeds for Delphinium (larkspur), Stokesia laevis (Stoke’s aster) and Alcea rosea (hollyhock) now for a dazzling display next spring.
Go all in for a fall veggie garden by planting beets, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, radish, spinach, winter squash and turnips.
NO!! DO NOT! Sharpen and oil the shears and hang them back up where you can find them in January.
Watch for spider mites in coniferous evergreens and potted annuals especially if the plants are water stressed. Spray if you must.
Keep up with your rose program.
Peach and nectarine trees need their trunks sprayed for borers at the end of August.
Watch the cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) for worms and spray squash (except butternut) for squash vine borers.
Maintain the weekly program for bunch grapes and fruit trees.
August is an effective time to apply broadleaf herbicide on Similax (greenbrier), kudzu, Campsis (trumpet creeper), and Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria).
If you think of grubs as, well, grubby now is the time to apply an appropriate pesticide.
It is time to prep bluegrass and fescue lawns for fall overseeding. Sorry, but if you want Yard-of-the-Month next spring ya gotta overseed in the fall. The other option is a really big natural area (with HOA approval, of course). Or you could look into sustainable landscaping which is really cool stuff.
Other Activities to Make You Hot and Sweaty
Take your landscape plan out (You DO have a landscape plan, right?!?) and see what you might be ready to add to the yard in the fall. Fall is for planting.
Water stuff when Mother Nature is slack in that department.
Build a compost bin.
Dig your Irish potatoes. This time of the year I dig them in a sour cream potato salad.
August is also your last chance to chill out and rest up before fall planting and harvesting season.