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What to do for August

Inside: Make Pesto! Use all your fragrant basil to make pesto.

Wash windows inside and out; inspect windows for damage, re-caulk and paint if necessary.

Don’t let all the fresh corn go to waste. There is plenty now but the season winds down soon. Slice kernels off the cobs, and store in freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. The frozen kernels will keep for three months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, boil until tender.

Cut energy costs, and cool your home, by taking advantage of the natural flow of air. Once the sun has set, open windows on opposite sides of a room; or, if all windows are on one side, set up a fan near the opposite wall to direct hot air out. (This is more effective than placing a fan facing outward in a window.) If your home’s second story is hotter than its first, vent air upward by opening the bottom portions of downstairs windows and the top portion of those upstairs.

Outside: Continue to deadhead regularly.

Cut back lilies and iris, but leave your spring blooming shrubs alone.

Trees will be beginning their fall shutdown, to ensure their ability to do this properly don’t fertilize your lawn again until late September or October.

Tidy up the garden as necessary. Vegetables can become stressed and lose vigor in the heat of summer. Annuals can become “leggy,” cut them back by half.

If you have fruit trees, be a good neighbor and tend to the fruit as it ripens. Don’t allow fruit to go ignored, clean up fruit dropped. If you can’t handle the volume, contact the local food bank and make plans to harvest and pass it on to those who can and will use it.

Prevent homegrown pumpkins, winter squashes and gourds from rotting before they’re ready to be picked. Place a clean, dry board or bunch of fresh straw beneath them to keep the fruits from sitting in cool, damp soil, which fosters decay. Do this while the stems are still pliable and the pumpkins are small enough to be handled easily.

 

Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for over 20 years and is an advanced Master Gardener.

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