With temperatures continuing to rise, August is the month to give your garden a bit of extra TLC. This will help keep your garden healthy and prepare it for fall planting.
Water deeply but infrequently throughout the month, especially in dry areas. Be sure to check for pests and diseases and remove dead foliage.
Plant Cool-Season Vegetables
August is a great time to plant cool-season vegetables. Gardeners who only rely on heat-loving summer vegetables are missing out on some of the most delicious harvests and beautiful flowers available to grow.
Seeds must be sown at least a few weeks before the first frost date in your area to ensure they mature before cold weather kills them off. In addition to being hardy, many cool-season vegetables are also highly adaptable to a variety of growing conditions and can be sown again in the spring or fall to extend your food supply into the winter.
August is a great time to plant beets, cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, peas, radishes and spinach. These crops can be sown directly into the garden soil or purchased as transplants at a local nursery.
If you’ve not yet sown biennials, now is the perfect time to get started. Sowing them early will ensure that you have plenty of flowers the following summer.
Sowing a few of these biennials, such as sweet alyssum, onions or parsley in August gives them time to grow a strong root system and top growth before the winter sets in, giving them an excellent chance of spring flowering next year.
Another biennial you could plant in August is rudbeckia, an old-fashioned cottage garden favourite. Its silky yellow petals are flushed crimson in some varieties, and the flowers look great emerging through grasses.
If you’re planting a vegetable patch, August is also a good time to sow spinach, which can be overwintered in a greenhouse or under a cloche until autumn. Its fast germination makes it a satisfying addition to the vegetable plot.
August is a great time to plant perennial flowers, such as hostas, Oriental poppy, lily and daylilies. Dig up clumps and divide them into smaller pieces or divisions in early August, then replant the new sections as soon as possible to ensure they flower in time for autumn.
For a late-summer burst of colour in a garden border, try planting vernonias. These traditional hardy annuals are self-seeding around your borders, so once you plant them in the fall, they will reappear every spring.
Alternatively, if you have a sunny, but shady area in your garden, consider growing polyanthus. These perennial plants grow best in dappled shade and will happily self-sow, so once you have planted them this month, they will reappear in the spring.
It’s also a good time to start planting flowering shrubs such as hydrangeas. These will take advantage of the cool, moist conditions in autumn to set down roots, ready for their riotous blooms in spring next year.
Herbs are a great addition to your garden. They are easy to grow and can be harvested throughout the summer months.
August is a good time to harvest herbs. The leaves of some herbs can be used for tea or fresh in salads. Others are used dry or for flavoring food.
Many herbs are available in dried and frozen forms for future use. If you plan to store herbs over the winter, it is best to pick them while they are still young and tender.
Basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley are some of the most popular herbs to harvest in August. The leaves of these herbs can be used in salads, sauces, and cooking.
Other herbs that are easy to grow and can be harvested throughout summer include lemon balm, mints, thyme, and rosemary. The leaves of these herbs can be used for tea or fresh in fruit salads.