August’s official birth flowers include the gladiolus and poppy.
August, eighth month of the Gregorian calendar. It was named for the first Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar, in 8 BCE. Its original name was Sextilus, Latin for “sixth month,” indicating its position in the early Roman calendar.
August 1, traditionally known as Lammas Day, was a festival to mark the annual wheat and corn harvest. Lammas also marked the mid-point between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, and was a cross-quarter day.
From experience we know that a whole packet of zucchini seeds produces just too many squashes. Our refrigerators and freezers are filled with casseroles and breads. And you know your neighbors hide when you smilingly approach with your basketful of four-inch-thick zukes. Next time, you can make do with just one or two plants, even though they’re cute when tiny.
When you plan the layout of your fall and winter gardens, consider which new crops should follow those just removed. Follow your heavy feeders with light feeders, and vice versa. Heavy feeders include beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, parsley, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, and tomatoes. Light feeders include carrots, chard, garlic, leeks, mustard, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, rutabaga, shallots, sweet potatoes, and turnips.
Fertilize tasseling corn and other vegetables that are setting such as beans, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, etc. This will produce increased yields. Plants appreciate this extra boost in food to use immediately in maturing their fruits.
Don’t forget to keep up with weeding and pests, which are aggressively growing and multiplying this month.
It seems too hot during the days to think about doing anything now but harvesting, watering, and escaping the heat, but think ahead to winter vegetables and start sowing. You’ll have a winter gold mine in your garden if you start seeds for overwintering crops this and next month.
Simple household baking soda will get rid of mildew in your home and garden. Dissolve about1.5 teaspoons a gallon of water. Indoors, wipe the solution on windowsills or other mildewed areas. In the garden, spray it onto plant leaves weekly or after rain or sprinkling. The baking soda serves both as a preventative and a cure. Mildew spores cannot spread or reproduce, so their development is stopped.
What to plant in August
It is still warm and rainy and the viveros/nurseries have marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, phlox, cleome and kniphofia (red hot poker), as well as other goodies like cyclamen and penta.
You can still plant the hot weather veggies as it won’t be cold until late October and most take 60 to 90 days to mature. Start asparagus seeds in individual containers for ease in later transplanting. You can plant artichokes, both Globe and Jerusalem, anytime from July to November. Do plant celosia, snapdragon, phlox, petunia and stock seeds now. Also, Gloriosa lily can be planted, which is easy to grow and is an exotic, climbing lily-type flower.
This is your last chance to prune your poinsettias for Christmas bloom. Keep up with weeds, fertilizer and pest control and deadheading. Cut back your herbs. They’ll just keep growing. Freeze or dry what herbs you don’t use immediately.
Find at the hardware stores or order whatever veggie seeds you will be starting in September. Your gardening friends are excellent sources for seeds and cuttings. Try exchanging some of your seeds and cuttings with theirs. Put garden clippings and non-oily, non-meat kitchen waste into the compost pile. The garden pests are out in full force. Keep an eye out for them and deal with problems at once, before they get out of hand.
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