Monthly Garden Calendar for Alaska

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Linden Staciokas

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AUGUST

August has never been a favorite month here. Gardeners in the interior know that our first frosts will be arriving toward the end of the month, so the rush is on to harvest and process our garden's bounty. We must also protect tender plants from light but killing frosts. While you are doing these or any of your other chores, it is a good time to figure out what went wrong in your garden and keep notes so you don't repeat the mistakes next year.

Tomato Tips. Slice off the top six inches off your tomato plants and pinch off the blossoms around the first weekend of August, to force the fruit into ripening. If your plants have more foliage than tomatoes, you probably applied too much nitrogen to your soil earlier in the summer.

Hanging Basket Care. You can enjoy your hanging baskets into September if you bring them inside at night to protect them frost.

Woeful Weeds. Prevent weed problems by pulling out weeds before they set seed. Weeds compete with your plants for food, water, and sunlight and can compromise yields.

Pull Those Potatoes. Pull out some baby potatoes by either digging up an entire plant or sneaking in at the side and grabbing a few. Harvest a few leeks--the thin ones are sweet and tender enough to be cut up and tossed into salads. If you have not hilled your leeks and potatoes all summer, go out and do it as soon as you read this.

Watch Your Crops. Draw a map of you garden or photograph it, so that you can remember what was planted where next year.

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