• Still Plenty of Time to Plant Vegetables and Flowers in August
    Friday, July 29, 2011 at
  • Harvesting vegetables should be in full swing in August, but if you haven't started your garden, there is still time to enjoy a healthy crop of vegetables and annuals if planted now.

    Tomatoes: Tomato plants planted in June are beginning to look scraggily and are nearing the end of their production cycle. Plant more tomato plants in full sun. Tomatoes from the new planting should be ready before November.

    Plant Herbs and Cool Season Vegetables: An assortment of herbs can be planted in August and still provide a hearty harvest. Plant basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme and mint from transplants. To squeeze out longer life in your current herb plants, pinch any sign of flowers immediately. Doing so will keep leaves soft and prevent them from tasting bitter. Vegetables such as beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, green onions, white potatoes and turnips, if planted now, will produce crops in fall.

    Plant More Annuals: Summer annuals planted in June may have shed most of their flowers by August. If an annual is looking sickly, remove it and head to your local nursery to pick up a new assortment of already-blooming plants. These include marigolds, petunias, zinnias, impatiens, cosmos, California poppy, chrysanthemum and snapdragon. Intersperse the garden with summer-to-fall bloomers like African daisies, alyssum, red sage, verbena, vinca and poppies to ensure a full garden into October or later. Your nursery can tell you what grows best in your area. Perennials may be showing some fatigue. If that's the case, cut back the stems so only a few inches remain. Perennials will bounce back in spring with fuller, healthier growth.

    Protect Your Summer Fruit: Dreams of freshly picked summer fruit can be dashed by hungry birds that, if given the chance, can happily eat all or just small bits of a piece of fruit. Put netting on the trees two or three weeks before the fruit begins to ripen to protect it from birds and tree squirrels.

    Slug and Snail Protection: Strawberries are a delicacy for slugs, snails and pill bugs (rolly pollies). These pests wait until the berries are almost ripe before digging in. While they are still growing, keep the strawberries off the ground. Place them on wooden boards, on slippery cans--anything that makes it difficult for the pests to reach them.

    Give Your Yard a Tropical Look: Banana trees can thrive in Southern California. They can reach as high as 25 feet and will start producing fruit a year or more after planting. The soil around the trunk should be well drained but kept moist. Banana trees should be planted in the warmest area of your yard--with the most sun and protected from wind. Trees can survive in sub-freezing temperatures for a short while. To be safe, wrap the trunk with a blanket if very cold temperatures are predicted.

    Keep Pruning Roses: Lightly prune and water roses on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on the weather. This will encourage the bushes to flower continuously into late fall. When blooms fade, prune down to the first five-part leaf. New blooms will appear in about three weeks.

    For more gardening tips, go to http://www.agromin.com.

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