End of Summer Gardening Checklist
As summer slowly comes to an end, the August heat in Alabama is nearly unbearable. However, don't let the heat keep you out of your garden. This is a time where a lot of work must be done. Wake up a little earlier or tend to your garden when the sun is setting. The benefits you will reap are substantial.
While some gardeners long for fall around this time, others are relishing in the bounty both a vegetable and flower garden provides. Keeping up with maintenance during the hottest month will assure both the health of your garden in spring and a shorter maintenance list for fall.
1. Goodbye Weeds
Most weeds are aggressive and invasive. If left unchecked, they’ll crowd out your most desirable plants. Even after you pull them, you can’t toss them in a compost pile, because any seeds that have already formed can sprout. It’s not a good idea to leave them on top of the soil, either, thinking they’ll wither. An unexpected rain or some runoff from your hose can wash dirt over them, and they’ll stage a comeback. To see the best way to remove weeds from your garden, check out this video on "How to Remove Weeds From Your Garden" .
2. Clear Space & Harvest
Harvest time is certainly the most rewarding season for vegetable growers. Pick summer veggies on a regular basis. Summer veggies grow tough and/or bitter if they are left on the plant for extended periods of time, and if the seeds inside them start to mature, the plants have a higher chance of no longer reproducting. The prime picking time is first thing in the morning - remember what we said about waking up earlier? ;)
August is the last month for heavy pruning of hedges and evergreens before they latent in mid October, November, and December. Trimming too late could cause new growth that won't harden off in time for a freeze and will be killed.
The health and beauty of plants depend to a great extent on proper pruning. Pruning allows you to control the plants size and shape, formal or informal. This also encourages flower or fruit production. When you make a pruning cut, you remove the growing point at the tip of a branch, called the terminal bud. August is a perfect time to plan for a day to start your pruning for your plants. Doing this will have you a great return in the long run.
6. Preparing Mulch & Compost
If you haven’t created one already, a DIY compost pile is a simple weekend effort that will yield excellent returns. Add organic materials like rotted vegetables, plant scraps, and leaves to create a mulch pile that can be used as compost at a later date. By the time the last of the harvest is gone from your garden, your compost and mulch will be ready to spread, enhancing the growing spaces for next year.
7. Rest and Plan
After you have finished your end of summer check list, you need to put up your gardening tools until at least mid October. Sit back and relax, start planning what you want to plant for your spring garden. It will be here before you know it! There are a lot of options you can choose for your spring garden. You can make your decisions off of your previous garden and how well they did, or you can research what plants (edible/non-edible) will bloom the best for you depending on where you live and your soil grade. Our team at Green Valley Nursery knows a lot about what grows best in the Shoals and surrounding areas. If you are local - feel free to stop by and ask a staff member for some help on what will do the best.