The dog days of summer have arrived, and water remains a key concern for gardeners everywhere. It’s also a time to balance keeping the gardens going while starting fall preparations. If you’ve let your lawn go dormant in the heat of summer, now is the time to start soaking it again to encourage fall growth. Do a “mulch check” to see where you need to add or replace any mulch which has decomposed and built up your soil structure.
Gardeners of edibles should harvest herbs now to dry or freeze; continuing to pick them will encourage them to produce new growth until fall. Fruit tree branches are good and full by now – so full they could break under the weight – prop up any branches that might be in danger, and throw a net over them to keep birds from picking at your bounty. For fall crops like lettuce, spinach, kale or even peas (depending on your hardiness zone), now is the time to plant.
For flower gardeners, remove diseased leaves on your perennials before the browning fall leaves make it difficult to identify disease. Gather some beautiful blooms to dry while they’re at their prettiest. Fertilize full-blooming perennials for the last time, and start dividing those that have finished for the season. August is also a good time for the final pruning of your hedges.
Don’t forget to take some photos of your gardens and make some notes for next year’s planting. And if you’re planting spring flower or garlic bulbs this fall, get your order in now – fall will be here before you know it!