Summertime does not signal the end of your simple garden chores. In fact, you need to do things now that maybe you haven’t done yet. Nobody likes to get out in the middle of a summer day unless there is a beach or a pool involved. I recommend that you save the garden chores for early mornings or late evenings on hot days. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated. Your garden isn’t all that suffers in the summer heat. Read on for a list of super simple chores for August.
Now is a good time to cut back old canes from your blackberries, raspberries, and the like, and leave the young flowering canes. This should be done after you gather your last harvests from them. Continue to deadhead your flowers as this will promote a longer blooming season. It is also a good idea to remove dying leaves to keep the plants healthy. Removing fallen leaves or blooms from underneath the plant will likely keep disease and certain insect pests away. Be sure to check the moisture in your containers and pots every day during dry hot weather. Keep your summer vegetables picked daily to promote a higher yield over time. If you have plants that are no longer producing, be sure to remove them from your garden. A decomposing plant is a good starting point for disease and harmful pests. Keep your weeds pulled before they have a chance to go to seed. If they drop seed, they are already ahead of the game for next spring. Nobody needs all that extra work first thing before you even get anything planted. Check your plants for disease and pests often by looking at stems, stalks, and both sides of the leaves. Some common pests to look for are, thrips, tomato fruit worms, tomato hornworms, spider mites, chinch bugs, scale, snails, and slugs. They may be small but they can have a big impact on a garden if not kept in check. See? I told you this would be super simple.
The most time-consuming chore for your August garden will be planning for your cold crops and yes, now is the time. You can sow your peas directly in the ground right now so that they have warm soil to germinate in. Plan the seeds that you would like to plant and start them indoors. A lot of cold crops will not survive the summer heat. Leafy greens will do much better after the weather cools a bit, closer to the end of August might be better than the beginning. Now you can concentrate on starting the things that take a bit longer to germinate, such as brussels sprouts, radishes, beets, carrots, turnips, cabbage, and kale. You can sow them directly into the ground. Or, you can start them inside. if you start them inside, be sure they receive a lot of light. Otherwise, they will become leggy right out of the soil, or it may take them longer to germinate. The plus side to starting them inside is that the birds and field mice won’t eat your seeds. The downside is finding enough light. If you are planning on lettuce, spinach, or swiss chard, might I suggest a raised bed or large container? You want the furry mammals to have to work for their meals, don’t you? No reason for them to have a super simple chore list for August. This list is for human gardeners only.
By the time you finish all of this, it will be time to tend to your cold crops. Before you know it it will be spring again! Between cold crops and spring flowers, the list will get quite a bit shorter, so you’ll have time to enjoy some cocoa and a snowman. Till then, keep the sunscreen, your big old floppy hat, and some lemonade handy, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. As always…