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Monthly gardening tips and suggestions (toggle)


July through December

July

  • Summer heat stress will weaken all plants as the intensity and duration of hot weather persists. Proper watering is essential to keep the plants healthy. The rule of thumb is to water deeply using a drip system and as infrequently as possible, as opposed to frequent watering using a sprinkler system. This will encourage a deeper root system (plants with deep root systems do better in extreme heat and water shortages).
  • The best time to water is early in the morning; try not to water late in the afternoon or evening as this promotes foliar diseases because leaves stay wet all night.
  • Important: apply a thick layer of straw, leaves, or mulch to control weeds and retain moisture.
  • Replant radishes, spinach, peas, and lettuce for late summer harvest.
  • Begin to order fall planted bulbs from your mail order sources for the best selections that these sources offer.
  • Continue feedings in early summer and early fall. Use your fertilizer injector to inject soluble fertilizer directly thru your drip system. Look for yellow, brown, or distorted growth on new leaves for signs to start feeding

August

  • Hotter days and nights have now arrived. Review your watering schedule and make adjustments if necessary. If your controller has a feature that includes a budget, just use this program and increase the irrigation period for August by 10% to 20% by changing the budget from 100% to 110% or 120%.
  • Go to your garden and cut some of the flowers and fill your house with scent and color. Not only does this provide decoration but it will help to keep the buds coming and ensure you have more blooms.
  • Cut back herbs that are starting to flower. If they go to seed they will not produce any more leafy growth.
  • Harvest potatoes, sweet corn, garlic, onions, beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.
  • Begin taking cuttings for new plants. Review with your garden club for details of your area.
  • Keep the soil moist, but not too much. With the continuing hot weather don't be tempted to get hoses out and spray everything including the ground. Surface watering only encourages plant roots to come to the surface. This will make them more vulnerable to drying out. Use drip irrigation to deliver the water to the bases of your plants.
  • Don't let your vegetables grow too large! This uses lots of water and energy, and can result in a shortened harvest season.
  • Finish pruning and prepare beds for the new season's (spring) vegetables.
  • With many trees and shrubs starting to set up for fruits and flower buds for next season, it is important that the plants have sufficient watering at this time. A lack of water now will reduce next season's crop of fruit or flowers. Make sure to use drip irrigation with mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil temperature cooler during the hot days of August. Make sure that the drip system covers a minimum of 70% of the root zone at any time.
  • Watering is the biggest task in the month of August, particularity if the weather is getting hot. Vegetable gardens, most flowering plants, and the lawn all need a moist soil week to keep them green and looking nice. Be sure to keep your drip irrigation system on, and water deeply each time.
  • When possible, turn your drip system on in the morning or early afternoon so the soil has a chance to warm up before the cooler evening hours. Using drip irrigation encourages the plants' roots to grow deeper where they are less likely to dry out, and to better anchor the plant into the ground.
  • The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a shovel and dig down 4 to 5 inches. The soil should be moist at least 4 or 5 inches deep to insure that the drip irrigation you use is reaching the root zone of the plants.
  • If your garden is planted with drought resistant plants, you won't have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies.

September

  • Cooler days and nights will be arriving shortly; review your watering schedule and start making adjustments if necessary.
  • The best time to water is early in the morning.
  • Plant winter herbs such as parsley, oregano, and cilantro. Use rich, organic soil and raise the beds using quality potting soils with lots of organic matter.
  • Start planting spring bulbs. Different bulbs have different bloom times, so plant your gardens accordingly. Most planting can wait until October.
  • Now is the second best time to transplant trees (after spring). Wait until the leaves drop and trees are dormant. Loosely tie branches to prevent damage. Be sure to include sufficient soil around the roots to support them.

October

  • Cooler days and nights will be arriving shortly. Review your watering schedule and make adjustments if necessary. Continue to thoroughly water trees, shrubs, planting beds, and lawn areas.
  • Plant garlic, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and continue planting spring-flowering bulbs. Different bulbs have different bloom times, so plant your gardens accordingly. Most planting can wait until the end of October.
  • The best time to water is early in the morning.
  • With cool nights, rainfall, and morning dew, this is a great time to supply the lawn with the nutrients it needs to recover from and repair summer damage. An early fall feeding is one of the most important of the year.
  • Now is the second best time to transplant trees (after spring). Wait until the leaves drop and trees are dormant. Loosely tie branches to prevent damage. Be sure to include sufficient soil around the roots to support them.
  • Complete pruning of all roses and prune late-flowering shrubs and trees when dormant.
  • Remove any excessive growth on vines and selectively choose only the wiry growth. Make sure not to cut flower buds off.
  • Consider using a drip system to water your gardens.
  • Drought and hot, dry winds can cause pepper and tomato blossoms to drop off. Turn the water on frequently and for a short time to cool the plants, and help those blossoms.
  • Fall is a great time to prepare your vegetable garden for next spring. Add manure to the soil, and cover with weed mat or soil.
  • For irrigation systems that use well water, use a watering schedule that allows the well to recover before its water level drops too far. When the well pump drains the well, it stirs up sediment that eventually can plug up the water filter and can even cause an electric valve to malfunction.
  • Most trees, shrubs, and perennials will establish on a 2 day per week schedule using drip irrigation.

November

  • Cooler days and nights will be arriving shortly. Review your watering schedule and start making adjustments if necessary by removing one or two days from your irrigation schedule.
  • The best time to water is early in the morning.
  • Complete planting spring-flowering bulbs.
  • Complete removal of fallen leaves and debris to protect from over wintering of insects and disease organisms.
  • Remove any excessive growth on vines and selectively choose only the wiry growth. Make sure not to cut flower buds off.
  • Fall is a great time to prepare your vegetable garden for next spring. Add manure to the soil, and cover with weed mat or soil.
  • Seasonal planting of garden vegetables: As leafy and root vegetables are harvested, replace them with new seedlings of lettuce, spinach, and other fast maturing winter vegetables. Be aware of the area or zone when you plant.
  • Mulching is one of the best lines of defense for perennial plants against low temperatures. Mulching also can prevent winter injury from frost.
  • Late in the month, use tree paper to wrap around the trunks of saplings and other tender trees to protect them from the dramatic temperature changes ahead.

December

  • Relax, enjoy the year end and do nothing