Monthly Garden Calendar for Northern Tier United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Debby Flowers



For me, thinking about the month of August has always brought to mind images of warm, humid days and abundance from the garden. But if you are new to zone 3, be warned. Frost happens! Enjoy your garden now...while you can!

Tasty Tomatoes. Homegrown tomatoes are at their best this month. After you've eaten your fill of fresh tomatoes, try preserving some. Tomato sauce is easy to make.

Inspect Winter Squash, Pumpkin, and Melon Vines. You can remove any blossoms, and the smallest fruit now, as they will not have time to develop. The plant can then devote its resources to the fruit that remains.

Blackberry Bonanza. Wild Blackberries are one of the pleasures of our area. Protect yourself with a hat, long sleeves and heavy jeans, and seek them out. Capture the true taste of summer by making syrup to enjoy over pancakes or ice cream, or try your hand at making jelly.

Beautiful Bulbs. Order tulip, daffodil, lily, and other flower bulbs for fall planting this month. If you want more peonies, order them now as well, as fall is the only time to successfully plant them.

Happy Harvest. Harvesting vegetables and herbs is one of the pleasurable tasks of gardening. Check daily for beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, etc. Very large zucchinis can still be used in zucchini bread, cake, etc.

Summer Sweet Corn. Sweet corn is ready to savor this month and is best when cooked soon after picking. It is also easy to freeze: just blanch (drop into boiling water for 3 minutes), cool in ice water, then cut off the kernels, and pack into freezer bags.

Think About Your Lawn. If you are planting a new lawn or have some bare places to repair, late summer into early fall is the ideal time to plant grass.

Water Carefully. If you need to water the garden, then water smart. Give it a good deep soaking, rather that frequent small waterings. Watering early in the morning will give your plants time to dry off during the day, which can help to avoid plant problems that are caused by wet foliage.

Sowing Lettuce. Plant your last sowing of lettuce planted during the first two weeks of the month. August is usually a very warm month, so protect your little lettuces for the heat by planting them on the east side of something taller, like corn, tomatoes, pole beans, etc. You can also rig up a shade cloth or plant in the shade of a building.

Raspberry Care. When your raspberries have all been harvested for this year, give the planting some maintenance to keep the canes from becoming an impenetrable tangle. Prune out the canes that bore fruit this year, being careful not to damage the new, developing canes that will provide your fruit for next year.