What to do for August

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Inside: Make batches of pesto to use up all of your fresh basil. Freeze small amounts in ice cube trays to add to soups and stews this fall.

Wash windows inside and out and check for damage, recaulk and paint if necessary.

Don’t let all the fresh corn go to waste. Slice kernels from cobs, and store in freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. The frozen kernels will keep up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, boil or steam until tender.

Clean lampshades and rotate if they are in direct sunlight. This is especially important if you have a matched pair of shades.

Keep pets cool during the dog days of summer. Take care that canines and other companions do not overheat. Keep water bowls full, and limit walks to mornings and evenings. If your dog likes water, try hosing him down once or twice a day. And, if you have pets in cages or aquariums, move their homes away from sunny windows.

Outside: Continue to deadhead regularly.

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

Trees will be beginning their fall shutdown near the end of the month. To ensure their ability to do this properly do not 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 drop. 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.

The best time to start a new lawn from seed is late August. Pay attention to your soil though, first. Incorporate three to four cubic yards of compost per 1,000 square feet into soil to a depth of 8 inches or more.

To get the best show of fall bloom from your roses, make sure the plants are getting plenty of water during the hot weather. Give them a shot of rose fertilizer in early to mid August (the last application of the season) and snip off old blooms for potpourri.

Prevent homegrown pumpkins, winter squashes and gourds from rotting before they are ready to be picked. Place a clean, dry board or a bunch of fresh straw beneath them to keep 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.

Clean outdoor garbage cans; rinse with a hose then use an old broom to scrub the interiors with a mixture of water and biodegradable dish soap. Rinse again; leave container in the sun to dry.

Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.

By |July 27th, 2017|

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