As the summer sizzles onward, those lazy days still include some gardening maintenance. A garden to-do list for August will keep you on track with chores so you don't get behind as fall looms. Gardening in August may occur during some of the hottest days of the year but can also be the most productive.
Making a Garden To-Do List for August
The Northwest has some of the nicest summers in the Northern Hemisphere. It would be good to lay in the shade on a chaise lounge with a glass of iced tea and a good book, but first we must attend to our Pacific Northwest gardens. Keeping up with gardening tasks for the Northwest will actually give you more overall time for the tea and novel.
Your veggies must really be going and the flowers in full swing by August. It's time to start harvesting, start some fall crops, keep watering and weeding, and many more chores. While the focus is often on our fruits and vegetables towards the end of summer, there are other plants that need attention too.
In the region, August is a great time to start a new lawn or fill in patchy areas of the existing sod. You can also do light pruning of trees and shrubs, divide daylilies, and start end-of-year clean up. Cane berry plants may be pruned after harvest. It's never too soon to start soil amendments for the next growing season.
Gardening in August
While existing fruits and veggies are being harvested and processed, it's a good time to plant for an autumn crop. If you started seedlings, plant them out. These are vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Kale and certain greens, like mustard greens, may be directly sown. Areas that are already harvested can be sown with cover crops.
Temperate Pacific Northwest gardens can direct sow crops like leeks, lettuce, kohlrabi, green onions, and Swiss chard. This is also the best time to place an order for your garlic. For a fresh look in fall, plant new annuals like cold hardy pansies to replace spent annual plants.
Other Gardening Tasks for the Northwest
If you want to plan a bulb garden, now is the time. Order bulbs and plot where you will put your displays. Many flowering perennials are becoming spent, but some, if you cut them back, will reward you with a late season bloom flush.
Pests are at their worst in August, so practice vigilance and hand pick or spray.
Even though many crops are getting to the end, it is still important to keep up a watering routine and keep weed pests away from plants. After regular yard maintenance, it's time to can, dry, ferment, and otherwise preserve your crops.
August is a busy month for gardeners but take time out to have that glass of iced tea and enjoy the fruits of all your labor.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.