Tofino gardening in August 2007
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Gardening in August, what can you say, it's all about maintenance. Keeping up with the watering, weeding, fertilising and dead heading is all you really need to do, as well as sit back and enjoy all the work that you put in over the spring.
Make plans as to what type of spring bulbs you want to plant in the fall, (for they will arrive as early as the first week of September) for all those beautiful flowers that come up as early as mid January here. And no, you can't plant spring bulbs in the spring and expect them to come up within a month. The latest I planted tulips was in January, not a good idea, they didn't really come up all that healthy and not until June, but you know me, I like to experiment. Providing all is right with the world, I don't actually recommend planting bulbs any later than the first week in November. That doesn't mean putting off purchasing bulbs til then, because by mid October at the latest they have all been potted up into pots and are wintered over.
Watch your watering, normally unless we have a drought like last year, established gardens need very little water, and even last year, some of my gardens only got watered once, and did just fine, and actually thrived this year. Just because plants will put up with excessive amounts of water, doesn't mean they need it. Plants will suffer more from being over watered constantly. The exception to that rule is new plantings and baskets and anything in a pot. They need water on a regular basis, otherwise they will suffer. Do you think water will be an issue this year? Not likely, especially if August is Fogust again. But be careful, those 2, yeah 2 days of summer we had, literally dried out some shrubs in pots, the watering was non stop, couldn't keep up with it, and now some bushes are showing the signs, they will recover, but don't look the greatest now.
Keep on fertilising hanging baskets and planters for continuous blooms well into the fall. If you are using commercial fertilisers, the lawn can be done, but stop fertilising gardens. If you are using organic fertilisers another application can be done, the reason for one and not the other is the organic fertilisers are less, (for lack of a better word), concentrated than organic fertilisers, work slower and because they improve soil structure as well as nourish plants, whereas commercial fertilisers basically only nourish plants and don't improve thee soil.
Dead heading is a must
on annuals and perennials, for perennials it can promote blossoming a second and third time depending on the plant. And by deadheading annuals it keeps them from getting leggy, and also promotes a longer bloom time. All plants flower to produce seed, if no energy is being sapped from producing seed which is their goal, the plant will produce more flowers to produce more seed. Such is the cycle of life.
Many people have called and asked what is wrong with their Salal; it has a bull's-eye pattern on the leaves and looks messy. Fungus, has once again struck, and there really is nothing you can do now, except cut it back to healthy plant material and destroy the infected leaves.
By the end of August you will want to take back indoors any of your indoor tropical plants as the night temperature can drop below their comfort level, watch out for bug's etcetera as you don't want to drag these inside.
Enjoy and have a good summer (if it shows up)
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Tofino garden article from Tofino Time Magazine: Tofino gardening in August 2007, written by Trina Mattson.