VISITING GARDENS AND OTHER AUGUST GARDENING TIPS
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior Horticulturist
National Gardening Association, and
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Visiting gardens, making plans for next year, and harvesting herbs are some of the gardening tips for this month.
Harvest herbs in small batches and freeze or dry them for winter use. For single large flowers, such as red clover, merely pluck flowers from stems. For clusters of flowers, such as tansy, harvest the top foot of stem or so. Herbs are best harvested (the most essential oils) on a sunny day, in midday. Harvest roots of herbs in early morning. Plan to make pesto once a week rather than waiting until the night before a hard frost to pull up all your plants.
Now is the time when strawberry beds can become a mass of baby plants. Control the runners, encouraging them to root where you want them. Keep the bed well mulched and watered.
During periods of frequent rainfall, nutrients are washed from the soil (ďleachedĒ) of container plants. Give them a dose of liquid fertilizer to keep them producing flowers for the rest of the season.
By late summer your garden should be more under control, so take some time and start making plans for next year. Note what plants worked well together, or in a certain site, and which ones didnít and so may need moving. Note plants that will need dividing. Spring is the best time to divide most perennials as they are emerging. Some such as Oriental poppies, bearded iris, and peonies though are best divided in late summer or early fall. Check around clumps of Oriental poppies for new seedlings to transplant.
Take time to visit gardens to get ideas, particularly on design and plant combinations. If taking a summer vacation, first make sure you have a plant sitter to water your containers and flowers. Then check in books, magazines, and online to see what gardens you might visit. Visit local perennial nurseries to see what is in bloom this time of year, to add late season color to your own garden.
Other tips for this month include sowing spinach and leaf lettuce early, under row covers, for fall harvest. Harvest onion, garlic, and shallots when leaves are 50 percent brown. Order spring-flowering bulbs, for fall planting, if you havenít already. Visit the National Gardening Associationís web site (www.garden.org) for more information on gardening and regional reports.
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