I can’t say that I’m sorry to see July end. I may not have mentioned it before, but I really don’t like the super-hot weather, and last month was just a little too much for me. It was also a little too much for many of the plants in our gardens. Are you wondering why your tomato plants stopped putting out new fruit and the tomatoes you did have weren’t ripening? Blame it on the heat. When temps go over 85° for extended periods, tomato plants slow down production and ripening. With the slight cool-down we’ve been getting the last week or so, you should be seeing better production from your plants now, as long as it doesn’t heat up too much again. And we finally got some real rain! Of course, that was after I spent the day moving the sprinklers around my flower beds yesterday (after all the promises of rain this summer, I didn’t believe it was really going to happen). So my flowers, shrubs, and grasses are really well watered – for now.
August Featured Garden Product: Tree Watering Bags
This summer has been especially dry in the Chelsea area. With so little rain, it’s been hard to keep up with all the watering our gardens have needed. Even more challenging are trees and shrubs that have been planted recently. Newly planted trees and shrubs need to be watered regularly because their roots aren’t able to take up enough water from the soil until they are established. This is true even in a normal summer, but it becomes more of an issue when we have the kind of summer we’ve had so far this year.
The Arbor Day Foundation says you should water new trees “generously” every 7 to 10 days during dry weather. To make sure that the water gets to your tree’s roots, it should be applied slowly, allowing it to soak into the soil, rather than running off. But who wants to stand there with a hose on a trickle, making sure that the water goes where you need it to?
That’s where tree watering bags come in. Zip one up around the trunk of your tree, fill it up, and then walk away. The water will seep out slowly, over a few hours, into the ground around your tree’s roots – right where the tree needs it. You don’t need to do anything more for another week to 10 days. There are also low donut-shaped watering bags that can fit under shrubs.
In this month’s issue of Let’s Get Gardening
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for seasonal gardening advice and recommendations for your garden, yard, and bird feeding. In this month’s issue:
There are all kinds of things to do in the garden in August, especially watering:
- Everything needs at least an inch of water every week, and when the temps go really high, they need even more. Mother Nature hasn’t been doing her part this year, so it was up to us to make sure that everything stayed hydrated.
- If you haven’t been watering your trees, you should really consider doing so. Providing a good drink on a regular basis until we start to get regular rains again could make all the difference to your trees.
Deadheading, harvesting, planting, pest control, bird baths and humming bird feeders …
- Deadhead your annual flowers in beds and containers to ensure continuous blooms. Perennials that bloom at this time of year should also generally be deadheaded regularly.
- Harvesting is the major activity of vegetable gardening in August. Many of your vegetable plants, including zucchini, cucumbers, and beans will stop producing if you don’t keep harvesting.
- August is also the time to put some “succession” plants in your veggie garden. Beets, radishes, lettuces, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and peas all can be planted in August for harvest into the early fall. Take a look at the seed packet for the “days to maturity” to determine how late you can plant and still harvest before frost.
- The lack of rain this summer has not been an entirely bad thing for gardeners. However, high humidity and heavy dews can also allow these diseases to get going, and high heat and low humidity are good for other diseases. In other words, don’t get complacent. Treat your garden with fungicide on a regular basis in order to prevent diseases.
- What’s bugging your garden these days? Japanese beetles, aphids, grasshoppers, cabbage worms, and slugs are the biggest issues in the my gardens. I’ve also seen a few squash bugs and cucumber beetles recently. There are a number of options available for pest control, including some organic choices that are very effective. If you are using any kind of product to kill insects, you also run the risk of killing bees. So target your spraying carefully.
- Keep your birdbaths cleaned out and filled – the lack of water affects the birds in our area as much as our plants. Your birdbath may be the only nearby source of water for them when it’s dry.
- Same thing goes for your hummingbird feeders – keep them clean and filled so as not to promote bacteria, and to provide food and water for the hummers.
More info on all of these tips can be found in our monthly newsletter: Read the August 2018 issue of Let’s Get Gardening
Store News & Specials
- Chelsea Sidewalk Sales: August 16-18. Stop by the Garden Mill for sales, specials, and fun as we celebrate the third annual Chelsea Sidewalk Sales. Merchants throughout downtown Chelsea will have end-of-the-season closeouts, discounted merchandise, and introductions to new merchandise coming this fall.
- Sign up for our email newsletter for more details, tips, and monthly gardening advice from the Garden Mill, plus a $10 off any $50 purchase coupon
Come in often to see all the great new stuff and find just the right piece for your garden!