Aug. Gardening Checklist: Edible Plants
With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information. Edible plants are the focus of this NoteStream. Also see our NoteStreams on Flowering Plants, Fruit Trees and more.
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The information, dates and techniques in this blog are as accurate as I can currently offer.
During the past three decades I have cared for, nurtured and observed tens of thousands of plants. With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.
Plants are directing much of their energy now toward fruit production.
Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the feeding of grapes is in six to eight week intervals following the first application, which was applied when the new growth was just emerging. Following this schedule, four applications are usually sufficient.
Grapes need a well-balanced fertilizer that contains trace minerals. Organic products usually are a good choice. Depending upon the variety, continue harvesting fruit when it is fully formed and well colored.
If birds or wildlife are a problem, protect the plants with nearly invisible black nylon netting.
Continue irrigating regularly and deeply in the warm summer temperatures. Watch for signs of powdery mildew on the foliage. Usually this is due to poor air circulation around the plant, too much shading, or the lack of a winter dormant spray. If treatment now is necessary use an organic Neem oil product.
You can still get a decent harvest of basil if you get it planted right away.
Keep pinching the flowers off as they develop. Flowers not only reduce the quantity and size of the foliage, but change the flavor of basil as well.
Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round, even during the heat of August if they are watered carefully. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena, St. johns wort, tansy, tarragon and thyme.
If strawberries attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them and they will continue to bear fruit.
Keep watching for signs of spider mites, which love the hot dry summertime. Rinsing the leaves with overhead watering occasionally will reduce this pest problem considerably.
(See also the information under Avocados, and Citrus in this NoteStream)
Keep feeding now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and sub-tropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.
These are all growing well and many, but not all, are in bud or bloom now.
Keep them fertilized with a general-purpose organic fertilizer.
This is also a good time to plant these heat lovers like papaya, banana, mango and others. However, they will need to be kept well watered to help them get established.
Watering should be frequent now. Remember, most tropicals and sub-tropicals need quick soil drainage.
This is the last chance if you are planting “fall tomatoes”.
If your spring planted tomatoes are still doing well, leave them in, but they are often about done by now. Rather than trying to nurture the last few fruit off each plant, pull them out and start over now. The earlier in the month the better. Some warm-season vegetables can still be planted, but keep them well watered. At this time of the year quick-maturing or “early” varieties will often be good choices.
From transplants try beans, cucumbers, eggplants, lima beans, squash and tomatoes.
This is your last chance for corn, which is planted from seed. If strawberries attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them and they will continue to bear fruit. Beets, carrots, chard, radish and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only. Be extra diligent about keeping the small seeds watered in this hot weather.
Check tomato plants for hornworm caterpillars. Hand pick them or use the safe and organic BT spray.
Keep tomato plants trained inside their cages or alternatively up sakes or obelisks. Since most annual vegetables are shallow rooted and quick growing, feed them regularly with a well balanced organic fertilizer. Keep the vegetable garden well watered during the hot summer. Harvest your crop frequently, before they get too large or past their most flavorful period. They will grow and mature quickly in the August heat.