It's all too easy to push monthly garden chores aside in August as families are preparing for a new school year and dealing with the heat and humidity so common with the dog days of summer. Don't let that gardening to-do list slip away though. Weeds are quick to take over this time of year, and daily watering chores are necessary for most areas.
Regional Gardening To-Do List
Here are a few more region-specific gardening tips for August:
Beat the heat and humidity this month in the Northeastern states by reserving the cooler morning and evening hours to tackle these garden chores on your August to-do list:
- Harvest and dry herbs for cooking, potpourri, and herbal teas.
- Continue hilling potatoes to increase yields.
- Make a note of perennials that need to be thinned or moved.
Central Ohio Valley
August is an active month for agricultural fairs. Keep up with your monthly garden chores and your county fair entries might earn you a blue ribbon. Here’s what to do in the Central Ohio Valley:
- The tomato, pepper, and corn harvests will peak this month. Make your favorite salsa recipe.
- Pull out dead veggie crops and replace them with fall crops.
- Deadhead summer flowers. Water to rejuvenate blooming.
Overnight temperatures in the Upper Midwest region begin to dip this month. Take advantage of cooler evenings to complete your late summer gardening to-do list.
- Order spring bulbs for fall planting.
- Sow fall crops like peas, bok choy, and lettuce.
- Collect and dry seeds for next year.
Northern Rockies and Central Plains
In higher elevations of the Rockies and Plains, the first frost of fall can quickly end the growing season. Be sure to add these tasks to your August to-do list.
- Donate unwanted veggies to your local food bank.
- Move houseplants inside as overnight temperatures begin to fall.
- Prepare for early frosts by gathering old sheets or building cold frames.
Moderate temperatures prevail throughout many parts of the Pacific Northwest, making this month a good time to work outdoors. Here are some gardening tips for August:
- Plant fall crops of leafy greens like kale, lettuce, and spinach.
- Thin overcrowded strawberry beds.
- Fill dips in the lawn with quality topsoil and reseed bare spots.
Peak hurricane season begins this month in the Southeast states. High winds and torrential rains can wreak havoc on the garden and landscape. Leave time on the August to-do list to clean up from storms.
- Pull out spent annuals and mulch the bed to discourage weeds.
- Pinch back poinsettia and mums to promote bushier growth.
- Fertilize palm trees and prune yellowing fronds.
Hot, dry weather in the South-Central region makes watering a priority over other monthly gardening chores. When you have time, don't forget these other tasks:
- Start tomato and pepper seedlings.
- Put out hummingbird feeders or enjoy these migrating birds as they feast on nectar in the garden.
- Check the lawn for chinch bugs and grubworms. Treat, if necessary.
Hot August temperatures in the Southwest can leave gardeners wondering what to do in the garden. It's not prime planting season, but there are gardening tasks that need your attention.
- Recheck irrigation systems to ensure they're working properly.
- Move planters and potted plants into shadier areas to prevent sun scalding.
- Use organic deterrents to protect plants from grasshopper damage.
Fewer rainy days this month provides plenty of time to complete your gardening to-do list. In the western region:
- Continue watering and fertilizing fruit trees.
- Deadhead and prune roses.
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.