August… besides vacations, other activities that will pull you away from your list of gardening duties are fairs, festivals, family outings, and back to school preparations. It really is a good thing that August is a slow month for working in your landscape.
Here are a few health benefits of enjoying the outdoors. Studies show that depending on the activity, gardening can burn between 250 and 500 calories per hour. For many people gardening is a creative outlet, for others it’s the change of scenery from the daily grind that makes a difference. Still others find that the satisfaction of reaping the rewards (those tasty fruits and vegetables, and beautiful flowers) of your efforts is what helps to reduce stress levels.
Your main tasks for this month both begin with the letter W. Weeding and watering. It is important to stay on top of the weeds. If you let them get ahead of you and they go to seed, you are going to have hundreds more to deal with this fall and next spring. Spraying weeds with an herbicide such as Roundup is one of the easiest ways to rid of weeds. Be very careful when spraying around the plants that you want to grow in your landscape. It generally is best to pull weeds that are growing in and immediately around your desirable plants, and spray those that are “in the open”. As far as watering goes, most plants will survive on 1” of water a week. A rain gauge will help measure the amount.
Mowing the lawn is another task that continues in August. Due to the usually hot and dry conditions that are the norm in August, you may be able to space your mowing times further apart. That is unless you have an irrigation system to keep your lawn growing vigorously.
If you are thinking about a new addition to your landscape this fall, now is the time to talk to your favorite landscape designer. Your designer can discuss your needs with you, design the changes or new additions, and get you on the schedule for a fall installation.
If you tried your hand at seasonal vegetable or square foot gardening this spring, here are a few ways you can enjoy a fall garden. Carry tomatoes, peppers and basil plants over in your fall garden. Direct sow beets, radishes, turnips, leafy greens and spinach now where other spring crops such as broccoli and cauliflower have come and gone for this year. Replant nursery starts of broccoli and cauliflower.
Last but not least, take care of yourself. During the hot time that is referred to as August, it is easy to over exert yourself. Drink plenty of fluids and rest in the shade as needed.
See you next month……….in the garden
Sandi Hillermann McDonald