Plant or sow cleome, cosmos, marigold, sunflowers and zinnias for blooms until frost.
Deadhead and cut back leggy annuals.
Weed flower beds to prevent seed heads from forming.
Crowded iris plants should be divided now. Cut the leaf blades into a small fan shape and reset the dvided clumps in a sunny, well drained location. Plant the rhizomes no deeper than 1 inch. Now is also the best time to relocate spider lilies and daffodils. Transplanting now ensures that the roots are established before winter.
Check all plants for snails and slugs.
A key word during summer is WATER. Be careful. A plant suffering from lack of water exhibits the very same symptoms as one that is being over-watered, i.e. drooping foliage and branch dieback.
Insect populations are at their highest during the summer. Sucking or piercing type insects normally reside on the underside of leaves. The leaves will appear speckled because the green chlorophyll has been destroyed in small patches. Since most insecticides are contact killers, it is important to spray where sucking or piercing type insects are located - onthe underside of the leaves.
Harvest vegetables frequently to keep plants productive.
Enjoy fresh bluseberries this month. Prune blueberry bushes after the harvest. They must put on new growth and set flower buds before winter sets in. If the entire bush is too tall, then the pruning will have to take place over a two-year period. To lower the overall height, severely prune half of the plant this year (not all on one side but rather throughout the plant) and tip prune the remaining stems. Next year, cut back the remaining taller branches and tip prune the new growth on the lower branches that you pruned the previous year. This is the only way to really lower the height and still have berries each year.
The end of July is the best time to start tomato plants for the fall. Remove a few suckers from the healthiest tomato plants in your garden, dip the ends in rooting hormone and stick them in a wellwatered part of the garden.
Tomato, bell peppers and lima beans may stop producing fruit for a short time during the summer. This is only a temporary set back. Do not pull up the plants. They will start producing fruit again when the temperature falls.
Time to Pick Figs Figs are a member of the genus Ficus and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Remember the sycamore fig of the Bible? That is Ficus sycamorus (the sycamore fig of Egypt). The figs we can successfully grow is simply known as the Common fig (Ficus carica). Two recommended varieties include 'Celeste' and 'Brown Turkey'. The Common fig is delicious and quite unique in that it does not need pollination to set fruit. Growing figs is relatively easy in our part of the country. Its greatest enemies are cold weather and nematodes. A mature plant can stand temperatures down to 15 to 20 degrees F. On the other hand, soil inhabiting parasitic nematodes can devastate figs. Give your fig bush plenty of sun. Eight hours would be great. Plant it on the south side of a building for winter protection, but not within 25 feet of the septic system. Figs need plenty of moisture but do not like wet feet. Eat them fresh, make jam, cook 'em down. They are great just about any way.
August is a month in which one can sit back and relax, enjoying the fruits of the previous months’ efforts. Since it is typically very hot, all efforts in the yard should include awareness of the effects of the heat.
Drink lots of water, use sun screen, keep your head covered, and avoid working in the middle of the day if possible.
Indoor activities such as updating your gardening journal, determining which plants did well and noting diseases and effective treatments are encouraged.
Water all existing plants regularly and deeply while continuing to deadhead annuals.
This is a good time to divide bearded irises, daylilies and daisies as well as planting or moving summer flowering bulbs that have finished blooming.
Continue to mow your lawn regularly at the recommended height. Lawns are stressed from the heat. Do continue looking for disease in your lawn and treat disease appropriately.
Herbs are in the peak of flavor and drying herbs can begin now.
Don’t forget to feed, water and check your chrysanthemums for disease to ensure beautiful blooms in the fall.