August Gardening Chores for Islanders
Here are a few ideas for homeowners concerning yards and gardens in late August.
Right about now in mid August something about the angle of the sun, or the speed at which the days shorten, or the smell of the air will change, and if you let the deep part of your brain alert you, you will know that summer is turning to fall. Summer will stay a bit longer but we are heading towards Fall.
From that point on, the clock is ticking. All our lovely, lush summer crops and all our long, lazy nights will be over soon. You might start to feel an urgency, the gut feeling that it’s time to hurry and put more jars of tomatoes or peaches in the basement. But, there are a few more things to do around the homestead yet.
Now is the time to harvest. Look over your yard and pick and store your fruits and vegetables. Add Fall fertilizer to that grass..
Savour the moment, as they say. It won’t last for long.
“It is bittersweet–most of the summer crops will be ready to be harvested this month and next, and it’s time to start thinking about a fall garden.”
Garlic should be ordered now for planting in late September/early October. Don’t wait too long – they do sell out. I like hardneck varieties, which don’t store quite as well as braidable softnecks, but give you one layer of much larger cloves.
This is a good time to plan for any perennial purchases, too. Fruit trees and bushes that go in the ground in late fall have an entire winter to settle in before spring growth.
August is when the bulk of the harvest of beans, squash, tomatoes and the like comes on . In between canning and pickling, think about what you have enough of, what you are overwhelmed by, and what you really wish you had more of. Write this info down, along with how much of each thing you are currently growing. That info will come in handy when you plan next year’s garden.
In August, summer, lawns need approximately 1″ of irrigation per week to stay green and healthy! Even if you plan to let your lawn go dormant, water about once a month to keep it from dying back completely.
When mowing, remember that the height of the grass generally equals the depth of the roots, so keeping grass a little longer helps build a strong support system. Set your mower to medium height to avoid cutting off more than 30% at a time.
See our Lawn Calendar for more monthly tips to keep your lawn lush and healthy.
Even “drought-tolerant plants” need some water, especially in the first three years when they are becoming established.
Summer is a good time to do some light pruning to keep your plants looking healthy and neat.
Planting under conifers can be tricky, especially if you don’t irrigate the area very often in the summer.
Finally, after all the hard work you have done in your garden, take some time to play, party and generally enjoy the fruits of your labor. Gardening feeds the body and the soul, and August is a good time to reap what you have sown. Pick some fruit and flowers, run through the sprinklers, barbecue some yummy meats or veggies and dream about what you are going to change or improve next year. We all know a garden in never finished!Planting under conifers can be tricky, especially if you don’t irrigate the area very often in the summer.