July was a dry month for most of us here in Southwest Virginia. August is looking similar with nice hot days predicted for the first couple weeks. Since most of your garden fruits and veggies are in full production, make sure they are getting all the water that they need. Most plants are comfortable with about 1 inch of water per week. Even some of those older trees you may have could use a little water when they are extra dry. Make sure you water in the evenings and as close to the ground as possible to avoid fungal growth and bacteria.
Here is a Virginia Cooperative Extension publication on watering your garden to maximize your effectiveness.
Everything at this point in the summer is growing quite well, including those plants you don’t want to grow! While some of these weeds may be edible, many of these are competing with those delicious tomatoes and juicy watermelon. Weeds can hog nutrients, steal water, cast shade on smaller plants, and even disturb proper pollination if they are hiding the desired plants. An overcrowded canopy of foliage can promote fungus and bacteria growth, so try to give your edibles their best chance at producing what you want.
Here is a publication on weeding techniques and advantages to maximize your harvest.
August usually seems to be a time to wind down in the garden and harvest only. Make sure you are planting back in place of the plants you are taking out to continue your harvests well into the fall. Veggies such as broccoli, lettuces, peas, beans, carrots, beets and more can still be planted. This will help optimize your space, extend your growing season, and allow you a second chance at those cooler season crops that you may have missed out on in the beginning of the season. Herbs are a great choice for this if you only have a small amount of space and want low maintenance. Keep in mind that herbs can be planted in containers and brought indoors as the weather turns cold later in the fall.
Here is a publication on planting dates for your USDA zone.
Evan O’Neill – Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources