“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” ~Russel Baker
August. Those hot, sultry summer days are upon us, and winter seems a distant memory. Yet at the same time, as any school age child will tell you, fall is fast approaching and our summer days are “dwindling down to a precious few”. How do we make the most of our time remaining in the garden? The lawn has stopped growing like crazy, which is a plus, but the vegetable garden is starting to burst with produce. What to do?
Make the most of the fresh vegetables that are out there, whether from your own garden or those of others. Here in New England, the standard joke is that if you leave your car unlocked in August, you will find it full of zuchini when you return. What to do with all that free zuchini, and other veggies that friends have pressed upon you? Click here for some healthy, tasty recipes!
Manage your own vegetable garden. Your tomatoes, for example, have been probably been producing for awhile, and are likely still going strong. There comes a time, however, in mid to late August, when the new flowers won’t have time to become ripe fruit. Rather than have the plant waste its energy on producing tomatoes that won’t even get to the point of making good fried green tomatoes, pinch off any new flowers and let it use its energy for producing the best fruit it can out of what it has.
Dry herbs. For exceptional flavour in your cooking over the winter, dry some herbs now. Simply place the leaves between two pieces of paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until crumbly. Then put in an airtight container to enjoy later!
Fertilize your roses. Spread rose fertilizer like “Rose Tone” around the base of your roses once this month, and once next month, before stopping for the winter. Then water it in – or better yet, sprinkle it just before it rains. Your roses will thank you for it!
Deadhead annuals and perennials. By cutting back the spent blooms on your perennials, you increase the chances of new flowers taking place of the old ones.
Cut back spring plants which have started to die back. Plants like Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) bloom in the spring and early summer and then start to yellow and are looking pretty pathetic by August. It’s ok to cut those to the ground-they have done their thing and are ready for a rest.
Order bulbs. As crazy as it sounds, now is the time to think about planting fall bulbs and placing an order with your favorite bulb company. They will ship them at the proper time for planting in the fall, which takes some of the guesswork out of it.
Take time to enjoy. We say this every month, but that’s because it’s important! Take it slow, and enjoy the space that you have created. After all,”Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~Sam Keen
Happy August, everyone!
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” ~James Dent