AUGUST GARDENING CALENDAR
August is often dry and hot, so be sure to water your crops and ornamentals that need irrigation to produce, especially those that must not dry out (primroses, chrysanthemums, etc.). Pay attention to the timing of harvesting vegetables and cut flowers. Harvest and dry herbs also. Collect seed from perennials, shrubs, trees to plant; gather flowers and pods to dry. Prepare soil and beds for planting lawns, fall bulbs, perennials and roses using organic amendments. Be sure to bring in house plants when night temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Apply potash in the form of kelp meal or alfalfa meal mid-month to harden trees and shrubs for winter. Stop watering garlic, storage onions and shallots in late July or about August first. The bulbs will need to dry off in the ground for two weeks before digging. Slow down watering of ripening potatoes when foliage dries. For long-season winter squashes, pumpkins or melons Pinch off female flowers to hasten ripening before frosts of those set on the vines.
During the first week of August, direct sow spinach, radishes, turnips, peas and lettuce. In cold frames, greenhouse or under tunnels, sow cabbage and cauliflower for late fall/winter frame crops.
Other crops that can be sown and grown on inside a frame or tunnel for extended harvest into winter include: beets, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, chicory, dandelion, kohlrabi, lettuce, mizuna, tatsoi, onions, onion sets, parsley, parsnips, radishes, sorrel, and turnips.
When harvesting cabbage, cut heads above the bottom leaves at a steep angle to avoid rain or irrigation water rot. After new cabbage buds appear, thin to 3-4 per plant for a crop of mini cabbages. Cabbage can be prevented from cracking by withholding water and root pruning on one side or twisting the head ¼ turn.
Harvest onions, garlic and shallots. Dry them on screens in a shed or garage. Hang dried bulbs in net or jute bags to keep them dry.
This month, direct sow seeds of biennials and early blooming perennials. Sow bulb seeds. Transplant seedling perennials out into nursery beds. Direct sow pansy seed in place for next summer. Cut back violas selected for division. Encourage and peg down runners to replace mature violet plants. Prepare frames to over winter violets to bloom in winter.
Repot auricula primroses in first week of August; take of offsets and pot up. Sow fresh auricula seed now, saving half for January/February.
Tie paper bags loosely over grape clusters to protect from birds.
TREES, SHRUBS AND ROSES
Do not give any nitrogen to your shrubs, roses and trees as that will cause late soft growth easily damaged by frosts. It is helpful to apply potash instead, as described above. In August you can plant lawn seed. Make sure your soil is raked smooth and roll or stamp the seed in so it will not blow away. A light mulch of dry grass clippings or pine needles will protect the seed until it germinates. Water the seeded area three or four times a day for a few minutes each time to keep soil moist. Usually, grass seed comes up within 10 days.