August started out with a real heat wave! I’ve been out installing for the past few days, and I’ve got to tell you my hat and long sleeve shirts are saving me. So, my suggestion is if you don’t have to be out in the heat of the day… don’t go out! Spend your time gardening in the early hours of the morning or evening, and please drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen.
I decided to take my last year’s post and put it into a To Do List format – I hope you like it!
1. Prepare your rose beds for fall planting
Get a nice layer of compost going and till the soil a bit, if you prep now it will be easier in fall.
2. Start your second set of tomatoes.
I normally say to plant your second crop of tomatoes, but I haven’t seen many nice short season varieties locally in SCV this year, and I was recently told, that concentrating on getting your winter crops in by September is better. If you really want to try another crop of tomatoes, take a look my post How To Extend Your Tomato Harvest then go shopping in the San Fernando Valley, Ventura or… wherever you might be visiting nurseries.
3. Check plants for pests.
Give them a good spray from your hose if you find cobwebs, aphids, spider mites, or whitefly. Be sure to check you tomato plants regularly and pick off any hornworms you find … see my hornworm blog post.
4. Check for invading animals.
You might also want to keep an eye open for signs of animals eating your veggies or fruits. If you do, rig up some protection if you find that you are sharing too much food with your animal neighbors.
5. Order seeds and seedlings.
If you enjoy winter blooming sweet peas, order your seedlings now and you will have beautiful bouquets to enjoy. You can also order or plant tropical trees such as Silk Floss (Chorisya speciosa) and Acacias.
6. Order bulbs that require winter chill now, and refrigerate.
That would be crocus, hyacinths, and tulips. Also, if you planted tulips last year you can dig them up and refrigerate them too – they’ll just keep sinking every year if you neglect that little step.
7. Leach the alkaline buildup in your soil
Add some organic acid plant food and giving the soil some deep watering. Remember to observe the watering regulations in your specific area.
8. Buy seeds for winter annuals.
You can also spend a little time in your local nursery and see what perennials have arrived and might be right for planting now and in the fall.
9. Spruce up container plants.
Container plants and hanging baskets can be trimmed up and fertilized. Remember every time you water (which is often in this heat) you are removing the plant’s nutrients – so you’ll want to fertilize containers more frequently than your other plants.
I hope this helps you keep you yard in tip top shape.
Wow! I can hardly believe how many people have signed up for my BRAND-NEW, FREE teleclass.
Do you love Southern California gardening? Want to learn 5 key secrets about how to design the personalized outdoor sanctuary of your dreams? Join me on a free training call “5 Stepping Stones to Creating your Outdoor Sanctuary: Take your yard from a Drag to a Destination” August 10, 2011 at 7 p.m., which I’m hosting as part of the celebratory launch of my upcoming teleclass. Sign up here for access to the call and the call recording, and I’ll talk to you August 10!