Expect it to be hot, hot, hot so stay safe — hydrate, stay out of the midday sun, use sunscreen, and wear a hat and long sleeves when working outside. Meanwhile, here are some things to keep you busy about your garden.
- Drive around and take photos of plants you like that are doing thriving right now. These are heat-loving candidates to consider adding to your garden. You can take the photos to the nursery the next time you want to add plants to your garden.
- Warm season annuals can be planted near the end of this month so they will be in their prime in the cooler fall months. Some examples to consider are marigolds, petunias, zinnias, and pentas.
- Your garden will need lots of water to cope with the heat at this time of the year. Have you considered a rain barrel? Rain barrels are eco-friendly ways to recycle rainwater and save money. Learn why to use a rain barrel and how to make one.
- You can still put in warm-season crops like summer squash, pole beans, bush beans, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers from mid-to-late August so they will be ready to harvest in about two months before the first frost.
- Are you planning to mulch when the weather gets more tolerable? Consider ordering that mulch now. You can save money by ordering mulch in bulk. Many companies will deliver as little as 3 cubic yards to your driveway. If that is too much for you, talk to your neighbors and see if they would like to share. Then, ask the driver to dump some in each driveway! Just make sure your neighborhood permits you to do this. Here are the many reasons to mulch.
- If you are planning to put in a new garden this fall, you can prepare your beds this month. Learn how to prepare your soil for planting.
- Halloween is three months away but you might want to be thinking about pumpkins because early August is the time to plant them. These vines will need space to grow so make sure to plant them in a sunny spot with room to spread.
- You can start vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale from seed this month. Plant them in a cooler, shady spot. Then, move them to a sunnier, protected spot like a windowsill for a couple weeks before they are transplanted. Next month, you can transplant the seedlings into a sunny spot in your garden.
- Do you have butterfly bush (Buddleia) in your garden? In August, you will want to trim it back about one-third and give it some fertilizer. Your local butterflies will thank you when it continues to produce its beautiful blooms.
- If you have repeat-blooming roses, they should also be cut back by about one-third this month to promote blooming through the fall season.
- During this hot month, you turf will need about an inch of water per week. If you are not sure how much water your irrigation system is putting down, you can use the catch can test to determine how much water your yard is getting and if there are spots in your yard that are getting watered unevenly.
August Color in Fort Bend County
Consider planting our Texas Superstar® of the Month: Mari-mum (Tagetes erecta). This warm season annual is a type of marigold, is very low maintenance and loves the heat. Mass plantings in the front of your garden will have strong visual impact. Planting them in mid-August will help avoid the problem of spider mites.
Here are some things you should know about Mari-mums.
- Grows to a height of approximately 8 to 16 inches
- Blooms in shades of yellow and orange
- Blooms three to five times longer than chrysanthemums
- Do not require deadheading and do well in containers
- Plant in full sun and apply slow release lawn fertilizer to enhance blooming.
Learn more about this Texas Superstar at http://www.texassuperstar.com/plants/marimum/index.html.
For more information about Texas Superstar plants, visit http://texassuperstar.com/ .
Here are some ideas of what to add to your garden this month and one suggestion of what not to add.
- Plant your fall vegetables! Visit this Fall Vegetable Gardening Guide for all the details.
- Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra) – This evergreen shrub grows to a height of 4 to 8 feet and has small white-pink to dark pink blooms from spring through fall. It grows quickly and is heat and drought tolerant. Plant in full sun.
- Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) – This large shrub or small tree is very hardy. It grows to about 15 feet tall and wide and is deciduous with blue-purple, white, pink-purple blooms in the spring that attract butterflies.
- Shrub Morning Glory or Bush Morning Glory (Ipomoea fistulosa) – This old-fashioned shrub bears lavender blooms from spring through fall and grows to a height of about 6 to 8 feet. It prefers full sun and is perennial in our part of Texas.
Now, for a quick caution about what not to consider planting this month: roses. They really will not thrive without a lot of TLC this month. Why not wait until next month when a little less water and attention will be required.
You might also want to visit the Fort Bend County Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Gardens at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office located at 1402 Band Road in Rosenberg to be inspired by what is blooming there. Take a family-friendly, self-guided tour through the gardens during daylight hours, open seven days a week. Be sure to take a copy of the garden maps and garden information located throughout the gardens.