Gardening project tips for August

The vegetable garden is demanding time with daily harvesting of crops. Cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, and peppers should be picked as soon as the fruits are ready. This not only captures the best flavor, but it also makes way for new fruits.

It’s also best to harvest crops in the morning or evening when the sun is not as bright and hot. You will find the vegetables will stay crisper in picked when the heat is not as intense.

Often at this time of year we get so busy in the garden that we neglect the flowerbeds and yard.

You can select one of these projects to do every day or every other day. It will only take a small amount of time and will be a pleasant break from the vegetable garden.

If you have noticed a gap in your perennial bed between spring and fall blooms, visit a local nursery to see what’s in bloom there. Ask for advice on what to plant for mid to late summer blooms. At this time of year you may get a great deal on perennial plants.

Sow these perennials outdoors for next spring: aquilegia, Phlox paniculata, digitalis, centaurea, and primrose. It’s also time to plant bulbs for next year.

Cut back the flower stalks of perennials that have finished blooming. There are two reasons for this. Removing old decaying stalks will help prevent insects and disease. Many perennials will produce a smaller flower or start new growth for the following season if they have more room to grow and more light.

Cut delphinium flower stalks to the ground, and a new, though smaller, flower stalk will develop. The flower will survive the coming cold days and even light frosts.

Rock-garden plants should be checked to see if they need thinning. Overcrowded plants will not stay healthy or attractive. And one of the reasons for a rock garden is to emphasis the rocks and if the plants are taking over the rocks get lost.

This week I have spent a lot of time working with the perennials, making a list for new plants and creating a rock garden in the front yard. And as I do this I am also mentally planning for next years vegetable garden. It’s never too early to plan!

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