Throgmorton: July/August Garden Chores

It’s a good time to sow spinach for later this fall and early next spring. Sow seeds in the garden; keep the area moist for a couple weeks. You’ll harvest healthy, great tasting spinach in a month or six weeks. This also gives you a head start in the spring. The spinach will over-winter and hit the ground growing in early spring. Sow other salad greens, too. They won’t over-winter but they will produce great autumn salads.

Plant Chrysanthemums for fall flower color. Pick plants that are tight and have lots of branches. More branches means more flowers this autumn. Plant mums in a sunny spot. Be sure you know what type of plant you have. Some mums are dainty and small, others can get fairly big.

Cut back water on trees and shrubs by mid-August. They need to start drying out and hardening up for winter. A little drought stress won’t hurt them a bit. If you’re watering thoroughly once a week cut back to once every ten to fourteen days.

Fertilize houseplants with a balanced fertilizer. Take them outside for a shower. It’s also a good time to transplant pot-bound houseplants into a little bigger container.

Deadheading annuals and perennials keeps them blooming. Remove the old flowers and part of the stem. Cuts should be made at the highest leaf or branch crotch. Most plants bloom on new growth.

Late summer is for planting or transplanting. Trees and shrubs planted this time of year do well. Divide and move any overgrown or large perennials. If you have more than you can use give some away to neighbors and friends. Move plants with the most roots. New plantings will put roots down and hit spring growing.

You can’t stop the flow of the garden harvest. What a great season to have fresh, home-grown fruits and vegetables. Even if you don’t grow it yourself, you can buy produce grown a relatively short distance away. To keep up with the flow, we freeze a lot of the harvest. It’s easier than canning. The produce still tastes fresh in mid-winter.

Tom Throgmorton, of Throgmorton Plant Management, can be heard on KUNC, 91.5 FM, every Saturday morning at 7:35 and 9:35 a.m.

Originally published on August 2nd, 2011.