Table of Contents

Garden Tasks and Tips for August

Embrace the Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are upon us, and like clockwork, my garden and I both find ourselves in a rather disheveled state. Hot, parched, and utterly exhausted – that’s the three-word portrait of us both in August. But if this year is anything like 2021, we may be facing the opposite problem, with pounding multi-inch rainfalls at least weekly in my neck of the woods. As Margaret Roach from A Way to Garden eloquently puts it, “We must push back where we can, so it helps to think of the August chores almost like a form of spot cleaning.”

I’m not giving up, and not just for aesthetic reasons. Yes, I can trick the eye to make the garden look a bit fresher with targeted trimming, deadheading, edging, and mulching. But doing so also reduces opportunities for pests and diseases – it’s a win-win. Nothing a slug or a fungus likes more than a declining, overgrown mess. Out, out now with not just weeds, but anything that has seen better days too.

Taming the Beasts

One year it was knee-deep in rabbits, the next year it was voles. In 2020, I had eight woodchucks, and in 2018, a personal best of 10. This year, I’ve only seen two, but the bunnies are galore. As Margaret recommends, I’ve been turning to the experts for advice on nuisance wildlife control, like Ohio State’s Marne Titchenell.

And those pesky Japanese beetles? The adults are thankfully subsiding or at least focusing their energies on activities other than chewing leaves. But I still make it a habit to handpick them each morning and evening, drowning the little buggers. As Margaret advises, we can’t eliminate them, but we have to manage them. I’m also considering a biological, non-toxic control to reduce the overwintering grub population.

Tending to Troubled Tomatoes and Squash

Speaking of pests, my tomatoes and squash have been giving me a run for my money this year. Margaret’s plant pathologist tips have been a lifesaver, helping me diagnose and tackle issues ranging from blight to cucumber beetles. It’s not all doom and gloom, though – she also shares some of her favorite pepper varieties and tips for storing the bounty.

Nourishing the Soil

As areas in my vegetable garden come empty from harvest, I’m taking the opportunity to sow cover crops. These green manures will be turned under to improve soil tilth and fertility. But I’m careful not to sow in areas reserved for fall-planted garlic or where I plan to grow crops for a winter harvest, as Margaret suggests.

Speaking of soil, I’ve also taken Margaret’s advice and sent in samples for testing. Her guide on how to do it properly has been a huge help. After all, healthy soil is the foundation for a thriving garden.

Extending the Harvest

I’m not just focused on maintaining the current garden, though. I’m also looking ahead to extend my harvests well into the fall and even year-round. Margaret’s tips on re-sowing carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce, and more have me excited to keep the fresh produce coming. And her conversation with Niki Jabbour on year-round vegetable gardening has me dreaming of a 365-day harvest, even up here in Zone 5B.

Prepping for Fall and Beyond

Of course, August isn’t just about the here and now. I’m also keeping an eye on the future, both near and far. Margaret reminds me that mid-August through mid-September is prime lawn-repair time in the Northeast, so I’d better get my orders in for those spring bulbs I want to plant.

And speaking of fall, I’m eyeing big old clumps of certain perennials, thinking about where divisions might go next month if regular rain and hospitable temperatures invite transplanting or adding new things. Margaret’s advice on daylilies, peonies, and more has me feeling inspired and ready to get my hands dirty.

A Holistic Approach

Throughout it all, I’m taking a holistic, organic approach, just like Margaret advocates. It’s not just about aesthetics – it’s about creating a healthy, balanced ecosystem. I’m making more habitat for natural enemies, the so-called “good bugs,” and learning how to better support our native pollinators.

And when it comes to weeds, I’m not just pulling them willy-nilly. I’m taking the time to identify them and understand the best tactics and timing for control, as outlined in Margaret’s stories. Some are even best targeted in late summer and fall, like bindweed and Japanese knotweed.

A Garden for All Seasons

As I navigate the dog days of summer, I’m grateful to have Today’s Gardens and Margaret Roach’s wealth of knowledge to guide me. With her tips and tricks, I’m not just surviving the August onslaught – I’m thriving, looking ahead to a bountiful fall harvest and a garden that continues to delight and nourish me all year round.

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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