In August Central Texas is considered the least productive garden season for both plants and people! It is still a good idea to let the landscape rest, and make the best of the heat while you plan for the fall gardening season. This will be time to prepare for the last vegetable garden of the year. Here is a list of plants and seeds adaptable for this late garden.
Seeds: Beans, corn, cucumber, garlic, potatoes, shallot, summer squash. Even though we are going into the mid part of August you can still plant: Okra, black-eyed peas, spinach, winter squash.
Seeds in pots or flats. Keep these “cool.” Give them bright sun, but perhaps some shade from the hottest afternoon sun. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chard, Chinese cabbage, fennel, kale. LATE AUGUST: Collards, endive, head and leaf lettuce, mustard.
Plants: Okra, spinach, summer or winter squash.
Herb plants. Mexican mint marigold, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, wormwood (artemesia). Just a note, my basil and parsley and still doing very well.
Annual flower or/and ornamental plants. Blue daze, celosias (cockscomb or plume), zinnia.
Perennial plants. Ornamental grasses, sedum.
Water deeply. Concentrate on trees, newly planted and established ones. Anytime we go for four to six weeks without at least an inch of rain, established trees need water. Trees less than two years in the ground need water every one to two weeks, depending on the soil, weather, and species of tree. Water for 30-60 minutes or more with a low flow of water. Note: please observe water restriction for your area.
You will need to adjust your watering schedule depending on your soil and weather conditions. Rocky, Hill Country soil will dry out much faster than clayey Blackland Prairie soil. Your finger is your best moisture meter: dig down as deeply as you can to feel the soil around the roots before watering. Do remember to water the shrubs as well.
Conserve water. Any time you water, use only sprinklers that spray the least amount of water into the air, where it is lost to evaporation. Water early in the morning or late in the evening for the same reason. In addition, the more water on the leaves, the greater the chances of fungal problems on the leaves. Water on the leaves while the sun is out can cause burning of the foliage.
I can’t begin to reiterate mulch and mulch some more! If you haven’t done so already, be sure all bare soil is covered with mulch, or compost with mulch on top. Avoid putting mulch or compost onto plant stems. Use about three inches total wherever possible.