Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Coast North United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Amy Stewart

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AUGUST

There's something about August that feels like the end of summer to me. Maybe it's a holdover from school days, when August meant the winding down of summer vacation. But in fact, for most Zone 9 gardeners, August falls right in the middle of the garden season. Warm afternoons stretch late into fall, and flowers don't start to fade until October.

Deadhead and Mulch. Don't let your garden go to seed just yet. Keep deadheading and mulching, make sure you're watering deeply, and if you like to plant annuals, keep them coming!

Flower Power. Set out a fresh crop of snapdragons, zinnia, bachelor button, cosmos, and sunflower. In cool-season areas, look for calendula, Iceland poppy, and stock.

Watering Tip. Give trees and large shrubs a long, deep soaking once a week.

Tame Your Plants. Cut back catmint, ornamental oregano, and other low-growing perennials that start to look shaggy this time of year. You'll get a fresh bloom before winter.

Beautiful Bulbs. Look for fall-blooming bulbs like crocus in the nursery, and place your order now for spring bulbs. The best selection—and the best price—is often available if you order early.

Keep The Vegetable Garden Upright. Tie sprawling vines, especially tomatoes, to their supports, and prune green leafy sucker growth to increase air circulation. Consider donating surplus produce to a homeless shelter or food bank.

Prevent Rotting Crops. Place a little rice straw or dried leaves under pumpkins and winter squash to prevent rot as they ripen.

The Artistry of Raising Artichoke. Artichokes can be cut down to the ground to encourage a second crop, or the last few buds can be left on the stalk to open into magnificent blue thistles.

Sow Sweet Peas For Fall Blooms. Pre-soak seeds for 12 hours in water before planting to speed up germination.

Weed Watch. Stay on top of weeds, and in particular focus on those that are blooming. If you attack them now, you can prevent them from setting seed.

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