The sun is really bearing down on gardeners and their gardens throughout the month of August. It can be hard to keep plants thriving during late summer’s heat.
Try to beat the heat by checking off your August garden checklist, performing maintenance tasks earlier in the day, watering your garden regularly, and being sure to stay hydrated yourself. Cooler temperatures are coming, and we will be planting with the purpose of a fall crop this month, so keep thinking of those cooler temperatures.
Carve out some rest and relaxation time, but don’t forget to make some room for some key tasks from our August Garden Checklist Zones 6-8, which will help keep your garden thriving and producing as we round out summer and transition to fall.
Fall Garden Planning Zones 6-8
Continue to assess your gardens this month and jot down pertinent information about diseases, weather, rainfall and humidity, pests, successes, growing failures, and garden goals. You’ll be planting for a fall harvest this month, so keep thinking ahead as you nurture your already established gardens.
Here are some highlights of what you should be thinking about on the August Garden Checklist Zones 6-8.
- It’s hot out there, so plan to do your garden chores early in the day or later in the afternoon.
- If you plan to travel during the month of August, consider asking a friend or neighbor to help you water your garden. Reward them with your harvest for the time you are gone.
- Monitor your gardens for pests and disease and jot those areas down in your garden journal so you can avoid planting the same plant varieties in those locations next year.
- Purchase some seed collecting envelopes, labels, and seed storage containers so you can harvest seeds from your best-performing plants.
- It’s time to start perusing seed catalogs for bulbs to plant in fall that will bloom come spring. Place your orders early for the best selection.
- If you are planning a fall vegetable garden, buy your seeds now and plan out your fall garden. You’ll be starting them indoors this month, so make sure you also have your seed-starting supplies.
- Don’t forget about planting more marigolds, cosmos, calendula, sunflowers, zinnias, and other fall-blooming annuals to encourage beneficial pollinators to the garden.
- Make a note of the temperature, pests, rainfall, and overall weather conditions that are happening this month.
- Take photos of your gardens and stick them in your garden journal so you can have a visual of your garden’s progress. It will help you as you plan next year’s gardens.
- Define spaces for your fall gardens this month. This may mean digging out a new area, amending your soil, or edging.
- Continue to search for recipes and ways to use and prepare the fruits of your harvest. Ask friends and neighbors for tried and true favorites.
- Regularly check your garden center and nursery for an end-of-season clearance section. Sometimes there are straggly, heavily discounted perennials, pots, or other garden supply deals that you can snag.
- Monitor plants for signs of stress and troubleshoot the problem. Is more water needed? Fertilizer? Or could plants benefit from a shade cloth?
August Garden Maintenance
Gardens are in full bloom, and it’s hard to believe that we are already starting our planting for fall harvests. Much of the garden maintenance tasks warrant repeating throughout the growing season.
Weeding, mulching, pruning, fertilizing, watering, and a few other tasks on the August Garden Checklist Zones 6-8 will do wonders to keep your garden thriving and productive in the heat of summer.
Weeding the Summer Garden
Practice organic weed control by continuing to weed your gardens regularly. The more often you evict those weeds, the less likely they will have the opportunity to go to seed and further propagate.
Pruning Plants In August
- By the end of the month, you can remove the female flowers from pumpkin plants to push more energy back into the producing plant.
- Pinch off basil to promote a bushier plant and keep it from going to seed.
- Pinch off the flowers of coleus plants to encourage a fuller plant with more beautiful foliage.
- Deadhead flowering annuals and perennials.
- Trim back herbs to prevent going to seed and prolong your harvest.
- Prune tomato suckers, peppers, and eggplant to encourage new growth.
- Prune squash plants if their foliage is overlapping other plants.
- Pruning of shrubs should stop at this point of the season unless it is to prune away dead or damaged limbs.
Fertilizing Your Garden & Landscape
Vegetables are heavy feeders and have been working hard to produce this summer, so they could benefit from a side dressing of compost or organic fertilizer. If you are using your summer vegetable garden beds for a fall crop, it is paramount to bolster the soil with nutrients and organic soil amendments.
Avoid fertilizing shrubs and trees now, as the resulting push of new growth may not thrive well as frost dates loom in the not too distant future.
How to Water Your Summer Garden
Plant root systems are well developed by now, so long, deep watering sessions are paramount for your vegetable gardens, hanging baskets, perennial gardens, and fruit trees success.
Give your plants a thorough drink and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Container plants and hanging baskets may require daily watering because the heat can dry them out quickly.
As always, if there is a water usage restriction in your area, please abide by those regulations.
Other August Garden Checklist Zones 6-8 Must-Dos
- Repair bare spots in lawns.
- Divide irises and perennials at the end of the month.
- Remove dead or underperforming annuals. If they are not thriving now, it’s best to cut your losses. Place a high-performing container of blooms in empty spots.
- Deadhead perennial flower heads.
- Collect seeds from your most successful vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
- Remove spent tomato plants and pumpkin vines to make room for fall plantings.
August Outdoor Planting
Don’t forget, planting can still be put on your August Garden Checklist. Sow seeds for the following plants so they will be ready for fall harvest:
Set out transplants for your fall garden:
By the end of the month, transplant indoor seedlings of:
- Swiss Chard
Provide them with some sun protection if temperatures really start to soar.
Summer Garden Harvests
Continue to harvest your vegetables, checking them daily for developed fruits. Regular harvesting encourages more fruiting and helps to avoid woody or bitter produce. A simple zucchini can double in size overnight, so keep that in mind!
In addition to the ongoing vegetables available for harvest, peaches, plums, raspberries, and blackberries are ready for picking.