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Your Regional Garden News - Zone 7

August 1 to August 30

 

Discover what you should be doing right now.  Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.  

Here's what's happening in your gardening region:

 

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    Learn from the experts: garden troubleshooting

    With the bulk of summer behind you, now’s the time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what you want to do differently next year. It is possible, depending on where you live, that heavy rains have caused the weeds to grow like crazy. (Although, if you’re in the southwest, you’re experiencing a terrible drought.) Learn from the experts about how to keep your garden growing through various conditions, including jungle-like weeds mounting an invasion.

     

 

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    Plan your fall and winter flower garden

    If you want gorgeous color all winter long, now is the time to plan and order seeds. Three reliable fall and winter flower types for our region include pansies, alyssum, and snapdragons. Order now and sow inside in flats so they’ll be ready for transplanting in early October. Plan to plant transplants close together. They will grow, but to have a reasonably full looking garden all winter, you won’t want to leave more than about four to six inches between plants.

     

 

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    Sow all vegetable seeds

    Fall vegetables that mature during cool evenings of October and November have to be sown in late August while soil temperatures are still warm. All of the brassicas are excellent fall crops. These include broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower. The broccoli and kale featured here are both selections that do well in areas with mild winters.

    Carrots are such a gratifying vegetable to grow, as well. There is nothing quite as satisfying as pulling up your own carrots! Sow the seeds thickly and keep them moist while they’re germinating. You can use scissors to snip young carrots off at the soil level in order to thin them out. How do you know when it is time to harvest? Keep an eye on the calendar. If you’re growing 60 day carrots, start checking around 50-55 days by pulling up one or two carrots. It’s better for them to be smaller than larger, old, and woody.

     

     

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    Learn about fall gardening

    Fall presents an entirely new opportunity for planting and gardening. Cooler temperatures make it easier for plants to flourish. It’s time to switch over the vegetable and flower gardens and enjoy entirely new crops. Get ready for fall by reading about how to grow flowers, ornamentals, and vegetables during the fall. And don’t forget the cover crops! You can add organic matter to your soil and prevent erosion problems simply by planting a “green manure” crop that you’ll till under in the early spring.

     

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    What you need to start a compost pile

    The great big switchover that happens in late August and early September yields a lot debris for composting. Start the composting process in the kitchen by throwing scraps into the Kitchen Compost Pail. Most of these scraps are considered “green materials,” that are high in nitrogen. You’ll get “brown materials,” high in carbon, from your yard and garden. Shredders are great for chopping these materials up so that they’re easier for microbes to break them down in the pile. If you have space, a composter is a nice way to keep the pile tidy and prevent tree roots from growing up into it and animals out of it. 

     

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Power string trimmers are dangerous to trees planted in turf. The tender bark of young trees is especially vulnerable to injury from the whirling nylon string as it cuts back tall grass at their base. The smallest wound provides access for insects or disease to tree tissues. Spread mulch or plant groundcovers over tree root zones to keep grass and trimmers a safe distance from trees. If a tree is damaged, clean the wound with a sharp knife to removed tattered bark. In most cases the plant will heal itself.