While the temperatures are scorching now, cool weather will be here in a couple months, so now is the time to start seeding cool-season plants. I love planting a second run of greens like chard (pictured), spinach and a variety of lettuces. Wait for a summer rainstorm and get out there and seed!
Have you harvested your potatoes yet? Your plants should be looking brown by now, and roots should have started releasing their hold on the ground. Pull potato plants up by the base if they are in loose soil or use a shovel to dig up the harvest.
The bounty from several plants is incredible even if they are planted from supermarket potatoes.
Tomatoes are still going strong, so keep picking them to keep that plant producing into the end of the month. Store them as sauces or dry them.
You can dry tomatoes and other fruits and herbs in the oven on its lowest setting, or use a commercial dehydrator. Alternatively, you can rig up a homemade version with scrap wood, screen pieces and glass panels.
Harvest spices, such as allspice (at left in photo), once the plant has gone brown and the seeds have dried. Alternatively, pick fragrant flowers like lavender (at right in photo) when the plant is still green.
To show them off, strip the plants of leaves and cluster the flowers together for interesting arrangements. To create a wreath of sedum, simply cut the stems, place them them or four to a hole in a wreath form and secure.
The Sedum Secret
The Sedum Secret
Hibiscus and other mallows are going strong at the beginning of this month. These large, tropical-looking plants are actually quite hardy in the Mid-Atlantic region's USDA zone 6 climate, so plant them with confidence. They bloom in shades of white, pink, red and yellow with huge, frilly petals. They propagate easily by layering, so try one as a foundation plant for the pool or deck.
Whether you are harvesting the bounty of the season, planting for another cool-season crop or preserving the goods for the winter, August is a month of bounty. Enjoy the last days of summer, but keep your eyes toward the future. Fall will be here soon, and the garden will be put to sleep before we know it.