The end of the summer can leave you begging for mercy, especially in the South. Between the heat, the humidity, mosquitoes, and god knows what other legions of bugs, being outside let alone gardening can be downright miserable. It’s these days Kristyn goes through two outfits working under the Hotlanta sun. I tend to be the after and before work gardener, so I tend to avoid the hottest parts of the day most of the time.
It’s a tough part of the year in Georgia to say the least. It’s not easy staying motivated to get outside and knock out all the to-do’s, but our garden would melt otherwise. We are always learning how to make the best of our time in the garden at the end of the season. August garden chores are spent nurturing the garden through the hottest part of the summer and preparing everything for the fall.
Our gardens are located in a fairly mild climate sitting on the border of 7b and 8a. We have a hot humid summer ahead.
In the garden
Harvest garlic if you have not already.
Different types and varieties ripen at different times. When your garlic is ready, loosen the soil around the garlic delicately with a spading fork and gently lift the garlic from the bulbs rather than pulling them from the stem. Save the best for replanting in the fall.
Clean up as you harvest.
Keeping your garden free of debris and rotting fruit can help reduce the amount of pests and disease. Always remove any diseased or infested plants and debris. Remove any unwanted produce and fallen debris
Your gardens should be getting an inch of water per week. August can be a month of extremes when it comes to rain. Some years it pours while others struggle for any rain. Use a rain gauge to measure your rainfalls and compensate with regular watering.
Give your garden a daily look for pests and disease.
The sooner you catch any problems, the easier they are to knock out. A quick round of picking all of those dreaded garden pests and drowning them in soapy water every day or two goes a very long way. Japanese Beetles, Squash Beetles, Tomato Hornworms, and imported cabbage worms are just a few of the typical pests we pick off. For other issues, treat early with neem oil or another natural insecticide.
Preserve your herbs.
To ensure that we have plenty of homegrown herbs year round, we preserve herbs through the summer. The best time to put them up is at the peak of their flavor, August is a great time. Freeze or dry herbs like parsley, basil, rosemary, chives, thyme, and many more to bring a little summer flavor to the cold months.
get ready for fall
Sow seeds for the fall.
Chard, radishes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnips, beets, lettuce, dill, and basil are just some of the great crops to start this time of the year.
Plant the first fall transplants.
Later this month set out transplants of broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and collards into the garden. It’s best to do this when the temperatures dip.
Time to save seed.
Remove lettuce, spinach, dill, and other greens that have bolted to clear space for fall plantings. Saving the seed from these plants is a great way to adapt your plants to the local area. And don’t forget how tasty some flower buds can be.
Prep beds for the fall.
Get your beds ready for the last hurrah. Prepare beds by loosening the soil with a pitchfork. Clean the bed out and spread a thick layer of compost to feed the soil. If you don’t plan to grow a fall garden, plant a cover crop to keep soil microbes alive over the winter and add organic material to the soil when tilled in the spring.
Work the compost.
It’s more important than ever to gear up the compost this month. Pretty soon the compost bins will be overflowing with a bounty of fall leaves. Churn it well and often. Keep it watered.