August: Yep, it’s hot and humid. It’s also probably not when gardening is front and center on your mind. But experienced gardeners know that August is the perfect time to start planning and plotting for the fall garden. If you don’t start now, it’s easy to get sucked into back-to-school and other fall events; before you know it you’ve missed a fantastic planting season. So let’s all focus on fall!
For best fall results, prep your soil now. Top dress your existing landscape and raised beds with 2-4” of organic matter: compost like Farm Dirt or Nature’s Way Leaf Compost are great choices. Simply turn the organic matter into the top few inches of soils with a garden fork or cultivator. We also have soil specially mixed for your raised vegetable beds. A layer of pinestraw will keep weeds at bay until seeds or transplants have been placed. Once you’ve amended your soil with organic matter, it’s a good idea to then feed the soil to stimulate microbial activity. Medina Soil Activator will actually feed the micro-organisms in the soil which improves soil quality and reduces compaction, in turn increase water holding capabilities. Healthy plants start with healthy soil.
For fall harvest, now’s the time to direct seed some crops into the garden. Cucumbers, summer squash and bush beans can be direct seeded now. You can also start seed indoors to grow your own transplants of cool season crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, mustard greens and spinach, along with flowers such as calendula, snapdragon and alyssum. Crops such as these are often ready to be transplanted outdoors when they are 5 or 6 week old. So if you start them now, you’ll have transplants ready right on schedule for September planting outdoors. You can start new rounds of seedlings every 3 weeks so that you have additional successions transplants to plant in October and November.
Don’t want to start seeds indoors? No worries: Just come by Buchanan’s during those months and we’ll have cool season transplants ready for you to plant! There’s still time to plant tomato and pepper transplants for fall harvest. Because August sun and heat are so intense, it’s often a good idea to provide a bit of temporary shade for these transplants. Floating row cover or newspaper can be used to get plants established. Ask our garden staff and we’ll show you how.
Your roses might need a refresh in order to put on a good fall show. Now’s the time to do light pruning on them and also feed with a rose fertilizer.
Need shade? The best time to plant a shade tree was 20 years ago…but the second best time is now! Fall is the best time for planting and transplanting. If you need to add new shade trees, foundation shrubs, roses, hummingbird plants or any other perennial, let’s get that on your fall garden to-do list. If you have an existing specimen that needs moving, fall is the time to do it. If you’re transplanting, be sure to have root-stimulator on hand to apply to your plants once they’re planted in their new spot.
Now is also a great time to start planning new garden areas or spots in your landscape that need a refresh. Come on in to Buchanan’s and our garden staff will get you on the right track for all your fall gardening projects. Be sure to check out what we have going on THIS WEEK at the garden center!