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August 2019, Week 2

We now have reached the week that is traditionally the hottest week of the year in much of Oklahoma. The weather for the next two days, at least, will try its best to adhere to that tradition. Cooler weather is supposed to arrive by mid-week, although cooler is a sort of vague term. Cooler than 'hotter than heck' still can be pretty hot.

Gardening chores right now are pretty simple....hydration, hydration, hydration....both for the garden and the gardener. Be sure you're watering deeply (unless you just had substantial rainfall) so that the roots of your plants are getting a nice soaking. Be sure to have water in your birdbaths and (if you have them) butterfly waterers so the little flying things can have water to drink if needed.

Continue harvesting veggies, flowers and herbs, and deadhead plants as needed. If planting for fall, right now is prime time for the last of the warm-season crops (summer squash, beans and cucumbers still have time to produce if planted now) and it also is time to be planting some of the cool season crops. I haven't seen any cool-season veggie transplants like brassicas in the stores down here yet, but I think they tend to arrive a bit later in our area than OSU would like....perhaps late August or early September. Try to stay in sync with the OSU Fall Planting Schedule now if you are able so you don't run the risk of planting too late and losing plants to frosts or freezes before they can produce their crop. If you are growing an edible fall garden, have a plan in your mind, and have the materials on hand, to protect your crops from early frosts or freezes. The time to prepare for those is not the week they are expected to hit....but right now, while there is time to order/purchase row cover material of freeze blanket weight if you need it.

Garden centers still have some summer color plants that can be added to containers or beds for late summer/early autumn color....marigolds, copper plants, celosias, fresh fall zinnias and the like. It is too hot still for cool-season plants like mums (their flowers, if bought and planted in the bud stage now, will open and scorch and be gone in the blink of an eye in this heat), pansies, snapdragons, stock, ornamental kale and cabbage, etc.

Remember to deadhead and prune back blooming summer plants for another round of fresh blooms as the weather cools over the next few weeks. If you've been hibernating indoors and some of your herbs like basil, sage and mint are blooming, you can shear them back hard now to keep them producing fresh foliage.

If you've been watering a lot (especially plants in containers) and haven't been feeding your plants, don't forget to fertilize them to make up for all the nutrients that are leaching out of the soil or soil-less mix when you water.

Other than grasshoppers, I'm not seeing pests of any concern now, so I'm not really worrying about pest control. I don't have a lot of veggies left in production though, so if you still have a lot of veggies, remain on pest patrol. Well, we have gazillions of grasshoppers everywhere, especially in the pastures that have greened up nicely since we received rain 8 or 10 days ago. I hope the hoppers stay in the pastures. They are in the garden too, but not in the huge numbers we have seen in some other dry spells in other years.

Have a great week everybody, and don't forget to keep those hummingbird feeders filled with fresh nectar every few days.


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