Good news for Texas gardeners: Though many areas of the country are experiencing devastating drought and heat this summer of 2012, no areas of Texas are in what is known as “exceptional drought” at the time. In fact, 10% of the country, much of it in north Texas, isn’t in a drought at all.
That said, August is traditionally among the hottest and driest months for us, and our houses often show it. While we could plant and be busy within our August gardens, at times it’s best to allow them to rest as they gear up for the next growing season. Here’s a rundown of some fantastic activities and actions to keep your garden going into the fall.
Start vegetable seeds for the fall/winter backyard. Vegetable and flower seeds could be started now for the cool-weather gardens.
Citrus seeds to sow:
broccolicauliflowerlettucecabbagewinter squashFlower seeds to sow:
pansy snapdragonviolaalyssumStart them in seed trays, peat baskets or baskets made out of wrapped paper.
Read more on edible gardening
Carolina Katz + Paula Nuñez
Plant herbs. Add herbs to your garden by popping up transplants of Mexican mint marigold, oregano, rosemary, sage, artemisia and all kinds of mint.
Most herbs prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Mediterranean herbs particularly, such as rosemary, prefer to dry out a bit in between waterings, so make certain your soil doesn’t retain unnecessary moisture.
Ron Herman Landscape Architect
Plant wildflower seeds: Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is the state flower, therefore many people wish to add it into our houses. Late August is the perfect time to begin sowing seeds of bluebonnets and other wildflowers such as Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera),Indian paintbrush (Castilleja spp.) , winecup (Callirhoe digitata)along with pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa).
Choose a sunny site, loosen up the dirt (adding soil amendments if necessary) and plant seeds 1/2 inch deep. Water in and keep watered regularly through fall.
Fertilize your container plants. Plantings in containers possess a unique surroundings; they do not possess a readymade source of nourishment, therefore it’s important to feed them continually to ensure blossom production and healthy development.
Water-soluble fertilizers work well, as do time-release fertilizers, but do not forget foliar feeding. Regularly spraying the leaves of your plants with a product such as fluid seaweed maintains health and drought resistance.
Michelle Jacoby, Shifting Spaces
Prune annuals and roses. Although this isn’t the time of year for a difficult (severe) pruning, lots of plants enjoy a small puppy during the long, hot summer.
Cascading annuals such as petunias often get leggy and quit blooming, therefore cut them back by half to promote bushier growth and increase flower production. Roses which are known to be repeat bloomers may also appreciate a light pruning to promote a fall bloom cycle. Don’t forget to fertilize your roses after pruning and water in thoroughly.
Land Design, Inc..
Water deeply and less frequently. Light, frequent waterings will simply encourage shallow roots, which won’t serve your plants well in times of heat and dry weather. It’s preferable to water deeply but less often, encouraging your plants’ roots to dig down deep into the soil.
Avoid watering right onto the foliage of your plants, and water earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to prevent rapid evaporation. Better yet, install drip irrigation or soaker hoses to direct water nearer to the plants’ roots.
Arterra Landscape Architects
Mulch as necessary. To ensure that your soil is evenly moist, conserve water and keep weeds at bay, then apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost in almost any bare areas of your backyard. You shouldn’t be able to find any bare dirt, particularly when the weather is hot and dry.
Use a quality native wood shredded mulch, and prevent heaping it on the base of your plants, which can quickly result in rotting. Instead, feather it toward the stem without even touching it.
Glenna Partridge Garden Design
Vacation-proof your backyard. Prior to leaving for the lake cottage, make certain your backyard will get the attention it requires. If you’re only going away for the weekend, you’re likely going to be okay, but longer intervals is going to take a toll on your own flowers and shrubs. Ask a neighbor to water for you, leave notes specific care instructions, and make sure your automatic irrigation system is set to operate at the right times.
Planting guides for your Texas backyard
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