The bounty of summer has finally arrived! It seems as though everything in the garden is ripe for the picking.Along with collecting this year’s harvest, now is also time to start planting for fall in the garden. From harvesting to canning, planning and planting, the list of chores is long, and so are the days. This gives you plenty of hours of sunlight to improve your garden and your farmers tan!
Annuals are at their peak this month. If they are starting to get long and leggy, pinch them back and feed them to encourage new growth.
Continue your water and fertilizing schedule. Irrigation is critical this time of year!
Heat loving perennials are thriving this month. Sun loving plants like Daisies, Echinacea and Rudbeckia are also drought resistant so if needed, scale back your watering schedule.
Now that the days are longer and hotter, new plantings may require extra watering. Their roots have not spread out into the existing soil, so their small root zone can dry out quickly. Make sure they are getting plenty of H2O this month.
Problems in the garden can appear over night! Continue to monitor for diseases (i.e. Rust) and quickly treat any issues.
Deadhead annuals to keep them blooming. Simply pinch or cut the spent blooms below the flower and above the next set of full, healthy leaves.
Late crops in the garden like squash and cucumbers will need fertilizer, even as you harvest, if you want them to keep producing.
In the garden, this is prime harvest time. Pick ripe fruits and vegetables to encourage more production. Fertilize producing crops, but avoid too much on tomatoes as they are prone to problems with excess nitrogen in the soil.
As summer crops finish, consider planting fall/winter crops in the vacant spaces. This month turnips, radish, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and onions can be planted from seed. Yum! Also consider planting winter kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, parsley and Chinese cabbage.
Now that plants are actively growing and producing, don’t let them dry out. Continue to monitor your irrigation needs closely.
Mid-summer plantings of peas should be enation-virus-resistant varieties. Enation is a virus that is spread by aphids during warm weather. A few examples of resistant varieties include: Oregon Giant, Oregon Sugar Pod II, Oregon Trail and Cascadia.
Watch for corn earworm on early corn this month. The eggs and larvae will first appear on the corn silks. As the larvae crawl inside the husk to the ear of the corn, controlling them becomes more of a challenge. There are a variety of treatment options’ including sprays and hand picking. Select what works best for your situation.
Leafy vegetables are especially susceptible to caterpillars. Pick them as they appear, or, if necessary, spray with an insecticide containing bt-k.
Treat potatoes and tomatoes for early and late blight. Blight can spread quickly from one plant to the next and can kill infected plants. To help prevent this blight, look for and purchase plants that are labeled blight resistant.
Maintain healthy strawberry beds by applying fertilizer and keeping them clean and tidy.
After harvesting your cane-berries (such as raspberry or blackberry.) it is time for pruning. Along with removing the canes that just produced berries, be sure to cut down any diseased or damaged canes. Now there is room to train the new healthy growth!
Prune cherry trees before fall rains begin. This will allow the fresh cuts to callus in dry weather and will help minimize the spread of bacterial canker.
Cut your lawn at a height of 2½ to 3 inches in the summer. Raise it to 3 to 3½ inches during summer heat stress periods. Raising the mowing height provides more insulation from heat and reduces water loss from your soil.
If you plan to install a lawn in September, now is the time to get started with soil preparation and irrigation. Perfect germination weather is often too wet to grade and till.
Various Jobs Around Your Oregon Garden
Long hot days require attention to watering. Avoid summer stress on new trees or shrubs with deep watering. The first summer is the most difficult for new plantings. Good soil and mulch help reduce water needs. Often new plants fail among old plants because the increased need is not observed until too late.
Moderate pruning of trees, including new growth on fruit trees, will lessen the winter chores. Pruning now reduces the total height without stimulating quick re-growth as often happens in the spring. Also, pruning wounds heal much faster in warm weather. This is especially true of junipers, which should never be pruned during wet weather.
Start planning for fall planting. August is a great month to find bargain plants at nurseries and garden centers. Containerized plants are safe if their water needs are met. Place in the shade and water well 3 or 4 times a week.
During hot weather check your Camellias to make sure they are getting enough water. Plant stress can negatively impact the development of next spring’s flower buds.
Watch out for yellow jackets! Traps and lures can reduce their numbers. Keep in mind however, that they do good work in the garden by helping to control garden pests.
Many garden pests (spider mites, root weevils, etc.) are active in the garden. Watch for signs of infestation and/or damage. Continued monitoring and early treatment will limit plant damage.