Tired of that Hampton Roads summer heat and humidity yet? Wondering what to do in the garden in August besides melt? No one would blame you if gardening was the last thing on your mind and for many gardeners the month of August begins the downhill turn of the summer garden. Not to worry, fall is just around the corner and August is the perfect time to get your garden ready for the cooler months ahead.
Here's a few tips on to how get a head start on your autumn garden, as well as how to keep your summer flower and veggie gardens going longer:
- Continue to harvest fruits & veggies to stretch the season.
- Pick herbs for fresh use and for drying ~ and like all edibles, harvesting will keep them going longer.
- Plan and purchase spring bulbs for planting.
- Spread a mid-season layer of compost or manure.
- Freshen up mulch or pine straw.
- Continue to deadhead blooming plants to prolong their bloom time ~ this really works!
- Begin saving seeds and taking cuttings.
- Prune summer-blooming shrubs (Hydrangea, Clethra, Caryopteris) as their blooms begin to fade.
- Trim and fertilize hanging baskets to prolong their beauty into the fall.
- Begin dividing perennials.
- Take pictures of container combinations you would like to repeat next summer.
- Begin planning your fall veggie garden (leafy greens and root vegetables). You'll be surprised how much you can grow in cooler months!
- Plant fall-blooming bulbs Crocus and Lycoris, so they'll bloom on time. These are gorgeous fall blooms you'll definitely love.
- Begin to plan perennial beds for fall and winter color with ornamental grasses and fall-blooming bulbs. This is also a good time to plan for the addition of trees and shrubs, since fall is the best time to plant.
- Water, Water, Water! Remember the basics ~ water early in the morning; water soil not leaves; water deeply and occasionally rather than shallow & often; and of course water containers extra often.