• Get the Most From Your Garden During Hot, Dry August
    Friday, July 31, 2015 at

  • With water restrictions in place, maintaining robust vegetable and flower gardens can be a challenge especially during the hot, dry month of August. With proper planning and maintenance, it can be done.

    Keep Roses Blooming: Established rose bushes need only be watered weekly or even biweekly. Keep them pruned so the plant can focus on strengthening its strongest stems. Remove dead flowers. 

    Don't Mow As Often: When water is plentiful in summer, lawns tend to grow quickly. With less water, growth slows. Mow every two to three weeks. Keep grass blades at least an inch long to protect the soil from heat, against water evaporation and to stimulate deeper root growth. 

    Plant Indoors: Indoor plants are not subject to the intense heat that outdoor plants can experience in summer. Consider planting flowers in indoor pots. Flowering plants that do well indoors include hibiscus, lilies, geraniums, begonia varieties and Boston fern. Use "grey water" collected in the kitchen or bath to keep these plants well watered.

    Maintain Your Garden: No need to keep yellowing vines and stems or droopy flowers in your garden. These just take away energy from the healthy parts of a plant. Remove all nonperforming portions of plants several times a week. Plus, remove weeds as soon as they appear before they can rob nutrients from your garden soil.

    Cut Back Perennials: Perennials may be losing their luster about now. If it looks like their best days are behind them, cut back the plants so only a few inches of the stem remains. The plants will grow again in the spring.

    Prevent Creatures From Eating Your Crop: After going through weeks of watching fruit and vegetables ripen, one of the most discouraging aspects of gardening is to find animals have taken a bite out of a beautiful piece of fruit or vegetable (or have taken off with it entirely). Protect fruit from birds just before they begin to ripen by placing bird netting over the treetops to cover the fruit. Make sure there are exit holes so the birds are not trapped if they do happen to find a way in. Consider placing mini-fences (sold at nurseries) around the garden to discourage rodents from stealing vegetables. Another option is to wrap plants in bird netting. Spread crushed eggshells under plants to keep snails and slugs from getting close to strawberries and other low-to-the-ground fruit and vegetables.

    Keep Mulching: Add organic mulch to your yard throughout the summer to hold in water, keep roots cool and suppress weeds. Water first before applying mulch so the soil stays moist longer. Mulch should be at least two to three inches thick under trees and shrubs and around vegetable and flower plants.

     For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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