August to-do’s

Published 3:06 am Saturday, August 10, 2019

By Sheri Bethard

Orange County Master Gardeners Association


A couple of weeks ago, I submitted an article titled “Scarecrows – what happened to them?” Well, one of my readers and fellow Master Gardeners answered the question very smartly and rightly. She said they all went to Shangri La for the Scarecrow Festival that is held every October. So beware, the scarecrows will be back in force October 8 at Shangri La Botanical Gardens, 2111 West Park, Orange.

Now on to August business – what should we be doing with our gardens during these hot days? Well, besides staying inside in the cool, I have a couple of ideas you can do in the cool of the early morning or late after the sun goes down for you to think about. 

When you do work outside, stay well hydrated and cover-up, the sun is brutal. 

When you are out and about, look around and see what is still blooming and make a note of it, as you might want to add those plants to your landscape for next year.

Keep watering as needed. If you water in the early morning it is fine to get the whole plant wet but if you water in the evening, water at the soil level not wetting the plant.

This will help keep fungus and disease away on the leaves. Your pot plants may need watering more often than the ones in the ground.

If your gardens are in need of mulch, it would be a good idea to add more as the mulch does help keep the soil moist and the temperature cooler.

If you use an irrigation system, check your emitters to make sure they are all working properly and replace those not.

Run hose-end sprinklers at least an hour for deep penetration, moving the sprinklers to avoid runoff.

If you have not started your fall garden, now is the time to get to it. Tomatoes take about 90 days to set fruit and ripen. Planting Aug. 10 would result in tomatoes around Nov. 10.

Now is the time to plant fall vegetables like pumpkins (“Appalachin, Connecticut Field, Small Sugar or Triple Treat”), radish, beets, kohlrabi, lettuce, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green beans, turnips, mustard greens, collards, and peas.

Keep your fruit trees watered to maintain healthy foliage as next year’s crop depends on this year’s energy that comes from photosynthesis on the leaves.

Watch for the Monarch migration coming thru on their way to Central America and Mexico for overwintering. Sometimes they lay eggs on their way and those Monarchs will head south once they have developed. Provide milkweed for the Monarchs and the caterpillars.

Purple Martins start gathering in flocks in preparation for their migration south.

And remember to always keep fresh water available for your backyard wildlife. In these dry days, it is hard for them to find places to get a little sip of water.

For garden, plant and other horticultural questions, feel free to call our Master Gardeners Helpline at 409 745-9708 or 409 882-7010. The Helpline is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. or you can call anytime and leave a message, someone will get back with you. 

The Orange County Master Gardeners Association meet monthly on the second Thursday of each month at the Orange County EXPO Center at 6 p.m. with a potluck social, 6:30 p.m. business meeting and 7 p.m. a speaker. 

The public is welcome to attend and there is not a cost.