University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
BERRIES AND OTHER AUGUST GARDENING TIPS
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Planting fall vegetables, rejuvenating
annual flowers, and freezing berries are some of the garden tips for this
Most poppies resent transplanting, so a good way to
propagate Oriental poppies is by root cuttings. Once the plants have dried up,
dig up pieces of root and cut them into smaller pieces. Plant these sections,
and sprouts will form this summer. By next year, you'll have new flowering
There's still time to plant fall crops of beans, beets,
broccoli, carrots, Chinese cabbage, kale, lettuce, and peas. Plant lettuce in
the shade of tomatoes or other tall crops to keep it cooler, or use shade
If your annuals are looking
peeked, they may bounce back with a good dose of fertilizer and some trimming.
Pinch stems back by about a third, and remove any dried out stems right at the
base. Also give container pansies and lobelia some shade in late afternoon.
Salicylic acid, or aspirin, has been found to boost plant
growth, so give it a try. Dissolve 3 aspirins in 4 gallons of water and spray
plants. Or take two of the same type of plant and spray one and not the other
and then compare results.
Stop pruning trees and shrubs. Any pruning done after July
will stimulate new growth that might not have enough time to harden off before
cold weather arrives. This can result in winter injury to the plant. The same applies to fertilizer—apply none to
trees and shrubs after July. It is good
to keep fertilizing annual and perennial flowers, though.
Even if you can't eat them all
right now, take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits and berries. Freezer
jams are surprisingly easy to make, or at the very least freeze some berries
for later use. Simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and place it in the
freezer; once they've frozen, pour them into freezer bags and seal.
Take cuttings late in the month of
favorite geraniums, coleus, begonias, and any other annual flowers that you
want to overwinter for replanting next year. You can also bring these plants
indoors for the winter if you have a sunny spot. Several popular bedding plants
are perennial in warm climates and can be brought indoors as houseplants if you
don't wait until the weather gets too cool. Cold temperatures can set them back
and make it hard for them to recover. Gradually move the plants into shadier
locations so they are better adjusted to the reduced light levels when you move
As you remove spent plants from
your garden beds, sow a cover crop, such as winter rye. This will help reduce
weed infestation, minimize erosion and compaction from fall rains, and will add
nutrients and organic matter to the soil when it is tilled under next spring.
If you're making a new bed, it's also a good idea to build the soil with a
cover crop for a year before planting. Till in the cover crop before it
goes to seed, either later this fall or early next spring.
If you go on vacation, even for a
few days, make sure your plants will have a plant sitter to keep them
watered. This especially is important
for container plants and hanging baskets which may need water daily in hot and
If you return from vacation to find tired plantings, you
have two choices: cut them back and fertilize and hope they rejuvenate in time
for you to enjoy them; or toss them and start anew (giving up is not an option
yet!). You can still find annuals at more complete garden centers, or pot up
some blooming perennials that you can plant in the ground later in the fall. Or
consider a combination of foliage plants, such as coleus, that you can bring
indoors for the winter.
If you have bare spots in the garden where early season annuals
have finished flowering, or early blooming perennials such as bleeding heart
have died back, consider container plantings to add color. Make a note on the calendar now, for next
year, when potting annual flowers in the spring to pot some extras in large
pots just for this purpose. Sweet potato
vines and nasturtiums hanging over pot edges might be used, as might be the
large-leaved upright and colorful cannas.
Return to Perry's Perennial