August

Lagenaria siceraria, female blossoms
Lagenaria siceraria, female blossoms
What's Growin On In August


It's still hot, and now it's sticky to boot. At least we can look forward to the cooler season by planning the fall garden. We can clear out the weeds that sprouted from the July Monsoons. In the container garden, it is always best to hand pick the weeds rather than risk pulling out little gold mines of food. If you have planters that need a break from previous harvests, now is a good time to solarize the soil. To do this we thoroughly soak the soil and then cover with clear plastic, leaving it outside in a sunny spot for four weeks. This will heat the planter up to 150 degrees, and eliminate many problems and unwanted seeds.


The average high temperature for August is 104 F and average low is 83 F. The average rainfall increases to .98 inches based on an average of 5 rainy days during the month, due to Monsoons.

The average humidity in our area for August slightly increases again to 36%, with a morning average of 46% and afternoon low of 23%.  

May, June, July and August mamey sapote may bloom.

Divide and Conquer
Senecio Serpens

Perennials let you know they need division when flowers are smaller than normal, centers of the clumps that are hollow and dead, or when the bottom foliage is sparse and poor. If you missed the early spring opportunity and can't wait until the fall division opportunity, you may have to divide a clumping perennial. If you must, never do so on a hot, sunny day. Either bring the plant inside or wait for a cloudy day with potential of rain in the forecast.



Watermelon Flowers
Feeding:

August, September, October may be the time for pears to receive their second half of fertilizer. When pear trees start bearing fruit, it is the time to fertilize pear trees with an all purpose fertilizer. The calculation is (1/3 to 1/2 cup * age of tree)/2.

August, September apply iron sulphate to guava, top with compost and water well.

May, June, July, August, September apply micronutrients to atemoya and mamey sapote.

When feeding, always water first, then apply fertilizers to moist soils, and then continue with the rest of the water. Near the end of the month, citrus will be ready for another dose of fertilizer. Use a formula labeled for citrus and avocado.


Help reduce the potential of fire blight on apple and pear trees by using a low nitrogen fertilizer.


Harvesting:
Blueberries


May, June, July and August may be the time to harvest blueberries, depending on the variety. May, June, July, August and September may be the time to harvest Sapodilla.

June, July and August, harvest Black Sapote.  Black sapote fruit is mature when the skin becomes dull colored and the calyx flex away from the body of the fruit. Once harvested, it can take 3 to 14 days to become soft enough to eat. 

June, July and August mamey sapote may be ripe.  Check fruits for ripeness by scratching the scurf (thin potato-like skin) to see if the fruit changed from green to an orange or red color of the fruit.

August, September harvest atemoya fruit.

August, September, October harvest olives and cure.

In August, September, October, November your figs may start producing the main crop. Some fig trees only produce a breba crop in our climate (Desert King). Check fig trees daily for ripe fruits.  Figs are ripe when they are soft to the touch, some may drip honey from the eye and the fig droops on the tree.

As your melons come in, continue placing a board beneath them. This will keep them off the moist soil and prevent insects from attacking them. In August, we can still pick from basil, blackeye beans, lima beans, pinto beans, yardlong beans, corn, standard cucumbers, eggplants, jicama, melons, okra, eppers, pumpkins, summer and winter squash, sweet potato, tomatillo, and watermelon. For flowers, our harvest includes angelica blossoms, apple blossoms, artichoke blossoms, bachelors buttons, banana blossoms, basil blossoms, bee balm, burnet blossoms, calendula, chamomile, chervil, chicory, chive blossoms, chrysanthemum, cilantro or coriander, common mallow, elderberry blossoms, english daisies, fennel, fuchsia, garden sorrel blossoms, garlic blossoms, geraniums, gladiolas, hibiscus, hollyhock, honeysuckle, lavender blossoms, lemon verbena, lilac, linden, marigold, marjoram blossoms, mint blossoms, pea blossoms, peonies, phlox, pineapple guava blossoms, primrose blossoms, queen anne's lace, radish flowers, rose petals, rose petals, safflower, sage blossoms, savory blossoms, scarlet runner bean blossoms, squash blossoms, sunflower, sweet woodruff, thyme blossoms, and zea mays corn shoots.


Ginger
Mulching:

It's a good time to apply a shredded bark or other mulch around your urban farm. Another mulching option is to plant compatible companion ground covers around the bottom of the big potted plants for a live mulch that can droop over the edges of the planter to keep the roots cooler and prevent evaporation.






Planting:

We can plan on planting for fall. Its time to stick grape hyacinth bulbs in the fridge, if not put there already.





Fuyu persimmon
Pruning:


June, July and August check to see if the female kiwi vines have set fruit. once that is accomplished, cut back the male vine to remove flowered wood, prune to shape and remove excessive vigorous growth to ensure open structure.

June, July and August prune suckers off of fruting trees to encourage a strong main trunk, if desired.

The rule of pruning is to never remove more than 1/4 of the total plant. Always use sharp, sterile, quality pruning tools and disinfect them between cuts to prevent the spread of disease. Rodale has an excellent article on garden tool maintenance. Perk up the tomato plants by cutting them down to 12" tall. Water, fertilize and water again. This will make them want to grow again and give you another tomato crop in September. Alternatively, pull them out and plant new ones in the late summer for fall production. Summer prune kiwi and grape vines during June and July. Kiwi and grapes rapidly grow during these months and pruning is vital to maintain order. Remove tangles, restrict the vine to it's alloted space and prevent undue competition between the plant shoots.


During spring and summer months, combat fire blight through pruning, if necessary.

Sowing:
Texas Ebony Seedlings

The veggie list for sowing includes basil, green snap beans, lima beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, corn, standard cucumbers, and summer squash. For August, we can sow marigold and nasturtium seeds.

Watermelon Plants
Sunning:

We certainly don't need to warm anything up for the summer months! However, we can use a solar dehydrator to sun dry some of our recent harvests. If you want the DIY, check outoffthegridnews.com.


Shading:
Shaded Cucumbers and tomatoes

We continue shading peppers and tomatoes to reduce possible sunburn. We can use sunscreens around 50% reduction from now through September. Leave corn, squash, melons, blackeyed peas, okra and grapes out in the sun.

Catsclaw
Water:

After nursing our garden through the summer heatwave, salts can build up in the root zones. Look for signs of dehydration, such as wilted leaves in the morning. If you see wilted leaves in the afternoon, it's a sign of heat stress, and you may need to provide some shade. Keep plants moist. If your using an easy watering solution, such as the Global bucket system, flush out the water, if possible. If you're looking for a self watering system, there are several DIY plans available online. Global buckets started with one design and now hosts several designs for self watering containers.