Monthly Garden Calendar for Midwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Paul Rodman

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AUGUST

"A garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature" — Jeff Cox, American Garden Writer

Dog Days of Summer. This can be one of the driest months of the year, so make sure your garden stays well watered. It will need 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. Some containers may require twice a day watering on especially hot days. Find a shady spot, have an ice-cold slice of watermelon and enjoy the moment.

Crop Preparation. Start fall crops such as beets, carrots, lettuce, and broccoli.

Water Well. Continue to deep-water trees and shrubs if rainfall is sparse. I like to use a root feeder to get the water down directly to the root zone.

Keep Fresh Fruits and Veggies Available All Winter. Can and/or freeze produce from your garden. I prefer to freeze sweet corn whereas tomatoes and green beans are better canned. New to food preservation? Contact your cooperative extension office in your county for information on classes or bulletins related to food preservation. Be sure to add all of those peelings and rinds to your compost pile.

Cuttings Tip. Take cuttings from plants such as coleus, and geraniums to overwinter indoors. Root cuttings in perlite, peat moss, rock wool or potting soil.

Beautiful Bulbs. Start to plan for your planting of fall bulbs. The bulb catalogs will begin to hit your mailbox this month if they haven't already.

Dapper Daylilies. Daylilies may be dug and divided this month. After digging, divide by gently pulling the divisions from the clump. Each division should have at least 3 stems with roots attached. Cut the foliage back to 6 inches and replant.

Rosy Disposition. Make note of which roses preformed well this year and which ones you'll want to replace in the spring. Stop fertilizing roses after the 15th of this month.

Insect Control. Prune out bagworms and tent caterpillars that take up residence in your trees. Don't burn them out; this does more damage than the worms do. If yellow jackets make an appearance in your yard or garden, set out specifically designed traps for these pests. Keep trash containers covered.

Pruning Time. Prune out raspberries and blackberry canes that bore fruit this year. They will not bear again.

Summer Harvest. Harvest potatoes when the tops yellow and die off. Let them cure for a week to ten days before storing them.

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