We are officially in the dog days of summer! Please make sure that when you do work in your garden or mow your lawn that you try to do it in the early monring or late afternoon, after the extreme heat has passed. Make sure to drink lots of water as well when you are outside.
Our garden has about reached the end of the spring growing cycle and is looking just about ready to be relieved of its duties. And looking forward, we are already receiving calls about fall plants and when we will have them. August is a great time to get ready for fall gardening!
In the Garden
If you're anything like us, you've probably neglected your garden since the temps have started climbing up. This being our first year to do a garden of any type, we were anxious in the begining and happy when tomatoes started producing. However as the season went, we would harvest only once a week, on sunday evenings. Many of our tomato plants outgrew their cages and fell over and for some reason our jalapeno peppers never really did anything. I've taken many notes and learned many things that we will put into practice for next spring and I am really considering a raised bed "Square Foot" garden.
Anyways, moving into our fall planting season. Fall is a perfect time to get another crop of tomatoes and other great veggies that alot of people over look. Its easy to consider a garden in the spring when everything is new and fresh and ready to grow, but your fall garden can be exactly the same!
Whenever possible, your should choose early maturing vegetables for your fall garden. To check out what cna be planted in the fall, take a look at our seed planting guide. For better germination results, you can soak a shallow trench with water down the row. Plant your seeds, and then cover and firm with dry soil. To keep your soil from forming a hard crust due to frequent sprinkling, cover the row with a board or wet burlap and check daily to watch for your seeds to emerge. Make sure to remove it at first signs of life, or you might smother the tender sprouts.
Keep in mind that plants need about 90 days to produce and you want homegrown tomatoes before the first freeze.
Your peppers and tomatoes that you planted this spring will not set fruit during the heat of summer, even though you may still see flowers. If the plants remain healthy, they will set fruit again once temperatures stay below 90 degrees. You can lightly sidedress your healthy plants with fertilizer (13-13-13) to encourage new growth, and make sure to water regularly to help prevent stress. Make sure to remove any dead or dying plants.
Make sure to keep an eye out again this month for Chinch Bugs in your St. Augustine lawns. These small black and white insects can quickly destroy your beautiful grass.
Check the mulch around your flower beds and trees. A good mulch will help save on your water bill as it helps retain the moisture for your flowers and trees to use. Make sure to keep it approx. 3 to 4 inches deep.
If you want your lawn to still look good going into the cooler months, then you can apply 1 more application of fertilizer this month. You need to look for a fertilizer with a high first number, a low second number and a third number somewhere in between those 2.
Roses, like people, need a little bit of extra love during the hot summers here in Texas. Prune your roses back, although not as much as you do in late winter. But by pruning them, you will encourage new growth which means new blooms. Make sure to remove all old blooms and keep removing them as new ones blossom. Fertilize your roses with straight nitrogen, such as urea, ammonium sulfate or blood meal. Make sure to water thoroughly when you're done and cover the surrounding area with 3-4 inches of mulch.
Birds, Butterflies & Other Wildlife
Make sure to keep fresh water outfor any visiting wildlife, especially butterflies. Begining late this month you will start to notice more Monarch Butterflies fluttering around. The butterflies will be returning from their summer vacation in the North, will pass through Texas andhead to Mexico & Central America for the winter months.
Make sure to keep bird baths and butterfly baths clean and free from algae. You want to provide water the wildlife not create a mosquito colony!
You can finish up seeding with Bermuda Grass during August and you should have a good coverage before the temps start cooling down.
Make sure during these long hot days of August, you keep plenty of moisture in your grass or it will start to look dry and crackly when you walk on it. Try to water early in the day so excess water has time to evaporate. Even though we might see a few rain showers during August, unless we get at least a 1/2 inch, you still need to water. You can use the 'can method' we talked about last month to tell how much moisture your lawn is receiving.