Saturday, August 1, 2009

To Do List for August

From In the Garden

Happy first day of August. Soon the kiddos will all be back in school and before we know it Christmas will be here. Another year gone. August's To Do list sees us slowing down our activities in the garden. But the cannas are still red hot. The bees are staying pretty cool too. These dog days of summer still require some work in the garden. This list is based on what I do in my Tennessee garden.

1) Deadhead plants, especially daylilies but also hostas. I leave the spent blossoms of coneflowers and brown eyes on the plants for winter interest.

2) Continue to harvest vegetables. You should have most all summer crops coming in by now. Start planning for you fall garden vegetables.

3) Water only if plants are wilted early in the morning and you have not had rain in over one week.

4) Begin planting cool season crops. You can begin sowing lettuce and radishes, preferably in some shade in your vegetable garden, or you can wait until September. Soon the big box stores will be filled with starts of broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. I would plant these right away if you have space in order to get the small plants off to a good start. I usually wait until early October to sow my garlic bulbs. Pull spent crops, especially corn to make room for fall veggies.

5) Continue to cut the lawn high until good rains return in September. I cut my cool season grass at about 3 inches. The extra length shades the roots and allows for better handling of heat stress in the summer. Cut your lawn regularly-do not cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blades in any one mowing.

6) Assess your garden for bare spots. Soon there will be huge plant sales at big box stores. Take the opportunity to fill in these gaps. Some good fall planted plants are: hostas, irises, daylilies, crepe myrtles, peonies, and mums.

7) Do not prune birch trees at this time. Wait until September due to borer activity.

8) Look for pests in the garden and treat as necessary. I have noticed tons of pests in my garden this year. One very destructive one is the sawfly. Treat right away.

9) If you are going to move any plants, wait until after they are done blooming. Be patient. It is also best to only move plants when the ground is moist and rain is expected soon. A good shovelful of compost and pinch of bone meal will help the transplanted plants get off to a good start. This step is vital to success in my garden.

10) If you wish, you can cut off old hydrangea blossoms, but I leave most of mine on the shrub. I like the winter interest. When you cut off some blossoms you can dry them to bring into the house for enjoying during the winter. Do not prune mophead and oakleaf hydrangeas. Only cut the old blossom off if so desired. The plants are setting buds for next year's bloom so if you prune now, you'll be sacrificing next year's blooms.

11) Edge gardens as necessary.

12) Keep on the weeds. Some especially pesky weeds in my gardens are grasses, pokeweed, and poison ivy. They must not be allowed to get a foothold.

13) Continue feeding the birds, especially hummingbirds. Keep their feeders clean and fill every three or four days with fresh nectar. I use a recipe of one part sugar to four parts water. Make up a pitcher so it is on hand, but don't let your teenaged son drink it-label it! My teenaged son drank a whole pitcher of hummingbird nectar. Quite funny!

14) Pick up and dispose of pine cones and twigs. These can be used in fun crafts.

15) Stop fertilizing roses and shrubs. You do not want to encourage new growth that might not harden off prior to the fall frosts.

16) Stop pinching mums so they can set buds and get ready for their fall show. A dose of fertilizer for them would be helpful.

17) Note: I do not usually recommend planting or dividing during the month of August but the recent rains we have had here in this area provide an excellent opportunity to get some planting and dividing done now. Just be sure you are able to easily water the newly planted plants should the rains completely stop. The weather man says we will be back in a summer pattern soon. In the meantime-enjoy this excellent summer!

I will add to this list as I find more things to do. If you can think of something I have forgotten-please let me know.

in the garden....

It's official, according to the weathermen in Nashville July 2009 will go down as not only one of the coolest Julys ever, but also one of the wettest. I tell you that if the south could have summers like this every year it would be so awesome! The gardens are doing so well that it has really been a gardeners dream here in my area.


  1. So many things to do. i like to leave the seed pods also. Not only do they provide winter interest, but they attract birds that harvest them.

  2. HA to the son drinking the hummingbird food! What a riot, those kids! You have inspired me, Tina, I am back home and this is my first day back in the garden with work clothes on. I hope to get muddy and accomplish lots including cutting the very long grass and harvesting all the ripe tomatoes for sauce. I have bought the canning stuff to make pickles too. See you later, I'm out!

  3. That is a lovely hosta bloom. Too bad we can't smell it through cyberspace.

  4. Ah, I can add to the list...
    Pick up fallen pine cones, twigs and branches from high winds with pop up storms! Arggg, enjoying the bit of rain but not the messy winds.

    Beautiful hosta bloom. Guacamole salad anyone?

    Happy Friday and everyone have a good weekend!

  5. I love that hosta bloom. Wow you made a great list of things to do in the garden. Most of those things I can relate to in my own garden as well. I leave my coneflower & blackeye susan seed heads for the birds too. And I always leave my hydrangea blossoms to age on the plant, they dry and become so interesting in the fall. Happy Friday and Happy 1st day of August!

  6. Gee, I wish my camera would photograph that close. I first thought it was a lily and was asking myself "where did she get light purple and pink?"

  7. Hi Mother Nature, So glad you are dropping by. A few of us are getting together for dinner soon and it occurred to me you might live close enough to join us. Can you email me?

    Cindy, My sentiments exactly-I would love for you all to smell this hosta bloom. One of the few I have found to smell great!

    Skeeter, I shall add it in as this is a true do thing-daily sometimes.

    Thanks PG! It is a great month and I do love August way more so than July. Do you have oakleafs? Sometimes mine self seed which is great-another reason to leave those blooms.

  8. Dawn, It so does look like a lily! I was hoping someone would notice as that is what I thought at first too. Put your camera on macro and keep about one foot away from the subject. But the subject has to be in the mood for a closeup shot. I get many bad ones and it just so happened today the Guacamole was cooperating.

  9. Great picture of the hosta! Your son must have thought the hummingbird food was cool-aid or something! I'm looking froward to those plant sales!

  10. Hey Dave, I asked Brian if he drank the pitcher. He said yes. Then I asked if he thought it tasted funny. He said kind of (getting very suspicious now). When I told him what he drank he just laughed and said no wonder! We always get a big laugh out of it and take care now. Plant sales here you come! I am done, done DONE planting.

  11. Tina,

    What a comprehensive list you have! I am not done begins again in the fall! Kids...they keep us on our toes!


  12. LOL, it seems growing boys will eat/drink anything.

    Also, this is the time to STOP fertilizing roses and shrubs.

    Love the hosta/lily:)

  13. Great list of things to do. I don't usually start my cold weather crops until the middle of Sept. down here on the Coast. I have replanted tomatoes and squash though, and I will probably put in more peppers, I didn't have enough big ones to stuff.
    I am defenitely putting in collards this year. We both love those.

  14. Gail, Yup, kids-gotta love them and stay up on it all. My one at home is eating me out of house and home! There are NEVER any leftovers and never any food!

    Marnie, Yup, he learned his lesson. I mean come on-sugar water and he didn't even know? Drank the whole pitcher. I added to stop fertilizing roses. Thanks! You sure helped me as I don't grow many roses and I am sure many others reading this do.

    Eve, I am very interested in your veggie garden so keep us posted here. Your zone is quite a bit hotter than here; which makes it great you can have multiple crops. You might just inspire me to do collards too. I never have but this might be the year. :)

  15. I also thought it was a lily. Very pretty anyway, no matter what it is.

    Oh my goodness...the whole that is really funny!
    It seems from what I have seen, starting with my brother, teen boys will eat you out of house and home!!!! Now I see it does not even matter what it tastes like. Maybe Brian will be down this weekend and I shall have to tease him about it. I'll just tell him I have some humming bird nectar on hand in case he wants some.

  16. Yup Mom, Ask Brian if he would like a bit of hummingbird nectar. Poor hummingbirds! Have a great visit with him and that adoreable grandson of mine!

    I hope all had a very lovely day. Overcast most of the day here. A little thunder but no rain as yet. Things are wet already. Temps have dropped a little making it more enjoyable to be outside.
    Like the "to do" list Tina. Will help to remind me what to do this month. Seems my "senior moments" are getting longer & more frequent. lol
    Tina I have big white mushrooms growing in my front lawn---What is causing that & what can I do for it. I think the rain may have something to do with it. Some of them are huge.

    I too thought the pic was of a Lily. Should have looked closer to realize it was Hosta.

    I found a cute little Salvia {lovely lt. blue} & a bug eyed frog today. Put the frog under the Purple Leaf Plum in front yard. Hope he isn't taken. May bring him in to prevent that. Put my big rooster over by whiskey barrel. I hope he helps with bugs. lol

  18. Lots to do for August and in hot weather too. That gaucamole bloom is so pretty!

  19. I love your first-of-the-month postings, Tina--great reminders of what we need to do! Let me ask you about bearded iris--I've never fully understood how deep to plant them--some part of it needs to be above ground for it to bloom, right I have plenty that bloom and plenty that don't, but I've never quite understood what part to leave showing.

  20. Lola, Hello there. To the mushrooms. Mushrooms are normal and indicate there is much moisture and some dead organic material in the ground. Also, if your soil is very acidic it may produce more mushrooms. They are nothing to be concerned about. They work themselves our but you might also do a soil test and check and see if you need to add lime.

    DP, Hot! Yes indeed.

    Cosmo, Irises are one of my favorite plants. The rhizome is actually a modified stem that needs some light. When I plant new irises or split old ones I usually cover the rhizome to about halfway and make sure the roots are firmly in place. I always leave some rhizome showing and keep all mulch away from it. I also cut the leaves so that the plant does not fall over so easily. This step is NOT necessary for the health of the plant but looks better and makes the plant not so top heavy. If you have irises that are not blooming it might be because they are planted too deep or that they are crowded and need to be divided. Best thing to do would be to dig, divide and replant with a good dose of compost. Sometimes the first year after planting they might not bloom but usually are very reliable and do bloom. Try it out and let me know how it goes.

  21. Hi Tina. I have noticed that the mushrooms only occur when it's rained a lot over a short period of time. And Young'un doesn't bag everytime he mows. I know that the cut grass is supposed to be left but can't do that here as it's cause for having unwanted things to grow. We also have the wire grass {the kind that grows on the side of the high way that has the tall stalk with black seeds on it. Hard on mower blade also}.
    Have you ever heard that if an animal wets on your grass that can cause the muchrooms?

  22. Hi Lola, No, I have never heard of mushrooms growing where animals have used the bathroom. Usually where my dogs pee the grass sometimes dies out, but no mushrooms.

  23. That's what I thought. I have no animals, my backyard is fenced in {chain link} & not too many animals {dogs} run free around here. Cats, that's a different subject. Can't keep them from roaming unless they are strictly house kept.
    Thanks a bunch.

  24. That's quite a list Tina! This is time in our garden where we can relax for the most part. Except for chores like deadheading, plucking off ugly foliage, pulling a stray maple seedling or two, and watering, at this time of year our garden takes pretty good care of itself.

    Our guacamole hostas have just started blooming too. I'm heading out there to sniff them now. I didn't realize they were fragrant.

  25. Lola, You are welcomed. Do a soil test and I bet it will say you have acidic soil. Adding lime will reduce the mushrooms but not completely eliminate them.

    Garden Girl, August is a good month for easy care in the garden. Let me know if your Guacamole smells as sweet. I just love mine.

  26. Dee/reddirtramblingsAugust 6, 2008 at 7:57 AM

    Excellent to do list.~~Dee

  27. Hi, Tina--I'm back to blogging after a week off, and I wanted to thank you for the advice about the iris. I will take it, and post about the results!

  28. Welcome back Cosmo! Missed ya!

  29. The Saint and I are headed out into the yard to play today. Well, mow, trim, pick up limbs and the such so not really play today. More like work. arggg...

    Everyone have a great day!

  30. Where on the list is to SIT DOWN and RELAX? I'm tired just reading I love that canna pic, Tina! Have some fun this weekend :)

  31. Thanks Tina for the refresher list for this month. Grass is growing like crazy. Of course the weeds are too. Hard to do much with all this rain. Got a storm yesterday.
    Guess I could try between the sheets of rain. lol
    All have a glorious day.

  32. Skeeter, Have fun! We are headed to the lake today. Another fun day boating and fishing-hopefully he'll catch something for dinner.

    Lynn, I relax on the weekends as I try to get all my gardening when no one is home. That way they don't feel robbed. It is so hard though!! So today no gardening...well maybe a bit when I can sneak it in but I'll do my best to relax:)

    Lola, So great to have rain! Water is life giving. Our July has been like the wettest on record and I am SO happy!

    Talk to you all later. Gotta go.

  33. I'm glad you all are having a beautiful season but it's our weather! Just kidding. We may go down are the most moldy. Sun today though, rain tomorrow. I feel for the western states.

  34. After major down pours yesterday we have a sunny day today so maybe I will get ing the garden. My potatoes are blooming and so pretty.

  35. Summer can't be over already can it? Here in London it hasn't started yet, it's miserable!

  36. I like this shorter list for August--looks like we can sit back and just relax a little...well, maybe I do have some weeding to do. I buy the packaged hummingbird nectar mix because it's not that expensive. I always thought it looked and smelled like Kool-Aid. Did the Jimster like his?:)

    Our July was the coolest on record, too; I'm not complaining!

    P.S. This post didn't show up on my sidebar...wonder why?

  37. Dawn, Can I send you some of our normal weather and keep yours??:)

    Mom, Get out there and work! Yeah for the sun!

    Matron, My mother and sister in the northeast feel the exact same way-maybe we'll have a really great fall so that it feels like summer and hold off the winter??:)

    Rose, It was actually my older son who drank the nectar, many years ago. We still joke with him about it. He said it tasted different but still he drank it. Kids will do anything for a cool drink on a hot summer day I tell you. That nectar works pretty well-convenient for sure. Cool Julys rock! This post normally does not show up in feeds because I recycled it. I may stop re-posting it though since it is on here anyhow and maybe do something different (like take the day off:)

  38. Hi, just popping on here for a minute. We had another thunder storm, the rain poured like sheets. Now everything is full--ditches, yards. My back yard is like a lake again. It is good for all things.
    Hope all had a wonderful day.

  39. Whew, I'm going to be tired if I do all those garden chores this month! But yard work is the good kind of tired, right? My hubby hasn't minded the birds mess yet, but I keep it cleaned up!

  40. I always feel a little sad once it's August because I know the gardening season is wrapping up. I just mowed our weeds since they are the only thing growing, the lawn is pretty much dead. It is very hard for me not to move plants, in fact I admit I moved one today.

  41. Great lists!!! Your monthly to-dos are one of my favorite features! That's so funny about your son drinking the nectar. LOL! I've been so busy just with the garden maintenance, the garden edges are disappearing, I'd better get out there and quick.

  42. Lola, Rain is the word this summer. We just got more too.

    MsRobin, The best kind of tired for sure. So glad your husband has accepted the birds-they are so fun!

    Catherine, It is so hard when the cool season grasses go dormant. Usually ours are dormant by not but with all this rain (your weather I think) they've been happy. Don't worry they'll bounce back.

    Lzyjo, That is so funny you like these posts. I am not going to do them anymore. They are in the archives and will stay there but you can access them there. The 1st will be a day off for me. We still get a chuckle when we think of Brian drinking a whole pitcher of nectar. Silly guy. You get to work with all this rain it will be easy edging beds.