August usually arrives with higher temps, sometimes rocketing to 90+ in Northwest Oregon. These higher temps tend to give way to more fall-like temperatures as the end of August rolls in. We often like to call this time of year our “second Spring,” which provides ideal growing conditions for fall greens.
Continue your consistent deep watering routine, particularly / while temps are high, causing moisture to evaporate quickly. Be sure you are practicing good water conservation techniques by ensuring you are mulching, regularly weeding, and watering before 10am. You should be aiming for slow, consistent watering in the landscape by using tools like drip irrigation hose and classic watering can for containers. Spraying plants and soil with a hose will mostly hydrate the air, rather than deep water the roots to keep them resistant to heat and cold extremes. Removing spent flowers (deadheading) returns energy to the plant for more blooms.
As you pull out summer vegetable and flowering plants to make room for your fall and overwintering crops, consider turning items into compost to help feed your plants and yard for years to come. The nutrients from your decaying plants can be recycled into new soil that will provide a healthy ecosystem of organisms in your yard. Consider your space and plan out the best way to ensure your compost gets the water, air, and nutrients it needs to best benefit your yard.
Powdery mildew may make an appearance this month on your ornamentals. Check your soil, and ensure that soil is retaining proper moisture and nutrients. Maintaining proper watering and composting habits will help protect from diseases like powdery mildew. If you do find you contract powdery mildew, it can be controlled with organic sprays, such as Neem oil, Copper or Orchard Spray.
Watch fruit trees closely for signs of diseases like apple anthracnose and bacterial canker and remove any cankered limbs. You may also find that pests like peach tree borer, apple tree maggot, and filbertworm, among others, continue to cause problems with your edible trees. Watch closely for signs of pests and treat them with organic sprays such as All Seasons Oil and pheromone traps.
In early August, you will want to begin sowing fall greens and roots like kale, carrots, radishes and onions while it is warm. Keep beds well watered and covered until seeds germinate. Once they have sprouted, you should remove the cover, and continue regular watering. You will need to cover these crops again in fall when night time temps begin to dip below 45 degrees F.
Planting fall harvest vegetable starts is best in August.
In later August, when temperatures begin to cool a bit, sow your salad greens crops like spinach, arugula, and cabbage.
Summer squashes, cucumbers and strawberry beds will need to be fertilized to ensure they retain nutrients, by adding E.B. Stone Organic Tomato & Vegetable Food.