Gardening TipsWhat you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb
Gardening Chores for August
As the summer days are getting shorter and fall is in the air, it is time to slowly wind down the garden. There is still lots of time to enjoy the yard and garden but to ensure healthy plants and get the most out of the garden there are a few things that can be done now.
Most vegetable gardens are at their peak right now. Local gardeners are enjoying the harvest from all their hard work! Don’t let a cold frost ruin frost tender plants such as corn, cucumbers, squash, beans, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Keep a frost protection blanket such as ‘Reemay’ near by so that when temperatures dip, the garden can be covered. Not only will it protect the garden from frost but it will also keep temperatures slightly warmer under the blanket, which in turn will quicken the ripening process. In our home garden, we like to cover the ever bearing strawberries also, to protect the berries and ripen them faster. Take the cover off during the day to allow pollinators around the flowers.
If you have a greenhouse, don’t forget to close the door and vents over night to keep temperatures warm over night. Open the door and vents during the day to allow good air circulation.
This time of year, tomato plants can be trimmed back so the plants energy will go towards ripening the fruit on the plant. Remove non-productive stems and flowers, and take the top off the plant.
Apple trees are heavy with fruit this time of year and it is a good idea to help support some of the heavier branches so that they don’t break because of too much weight. When apples are ripe pick them quickly to prevent wildlife in the yard. Apples are ripe when the seeds inside the apple are brown. White seeds mean that the apple still needs more time to ripen. Apples ripen from the outside of the branch inwards, so pick an apple from the outer edge of the tree branch to check for ripeness.
Trees, shrubs and lawns need to get ready for winter. You want them to slow down their growth so that they are dormant by the time the cold weather is here. This means no more regular fertilizer after mid August. There are fall fertilizers available at the garden centre which are low in nitrogen and high in potassium, and this helps strengthen plants so that they are better equipped to go through the winter months. Fall fertilizer can be applied towards the end of August.
Spring blooming bulbs such as tulips and daffodils that have been growing in the same spot for the past 3-4 years can be dug up and separated this time of year. You may have noticed that the flowers were smaller this spring than other years and this is an indicator that the bulbs have become overcrowded. Bulbs are dug up, air dried, separated (tossing out any very small or diseased bulbs) and then stored for until September, when they can be replanted again.
The season might be winding down, but the weeds continue to grow. It is important to keep up on the weeding, because a weed that goes to seed will mean lots more future weeds. Every couple of weeks go through the garden and landscape and remove the weeds as they appear.