The Gardener’s Second Chance at Spring

August really is the gardener’s second chance at Spring. In April, Spring gardening is a strange combination of optimism and uncertainty. After winter, we are so eager to see our gardens come to life.  Yet, in Springtime, we are really gardening blind; winter losses, self-sowers, and Summer’s temperament are all a mystery.

August is a second chance to do (or redo) the garden chores we couldn’t fully appreciate back in April. In August, gardeners are tired. That’s true. But, if you can muster the energy to get into your garden (provided it’s not oppressive outside), you will find you are a wiser gardener. By Summer’s end, gardeners can make decisions, selections and plans based on fact. Why is the gift of August gardening so wonderful? Because we are able to truly evaluate our gardens and still have time to make them better.

Here’s a quick video of my Re-energize Your Garden feature from this week…

These are some of the August Gardening tips from my recent segment for Channel 12 that didn’t make it past post-production…  

Pruning the Arbor

If you love climbers, consider planting extra climbing plants side by side in August. This arbor needs pruning, but it’s fullness comes from two climbing roses, two clematis and grapes. This way, there’s always something happening on the arbor. Check out the grapes that are hanging down as you pass beneath the arbor…

My fellow Master Gardener, Jane Reinking, says to throw these grapes in a juicer for a fabulous morning beverage.

Here I am gesturing with my garden gloves on (geesh!) and talking about the benefits of planting for the fall harvest in August. We can direct sow outside with no grow lights, no hardening off – August does all the work for us.

The gardener's second chance at springEmma and I are preparing the raised bed on the South Patio for a new lettuce crop. Just like our May crop which I wrote about in an earlier post, we are once again planting my favorite; red lettuce.

Fall Sowing with Emma

This is my favorite garden tool; the diggit. It’s not only my go-to tool for weeding, it is fun for planting seeds.

Seeding with the Diggit

Start your fall clean-up chores in August. I’m cutting back the plants that are done blooming and adding a topdressing of mulch for a little refresh. Cut back your Spirea and Catmint to get a second bloom in the fall.

Topdressing with mulch

Make harvesting part of your daily routine. I like to go out in the morning (still in my PJ’s) and pick from my garden. My cherry tomatoes are about ready to pop.

Cherry Tomatoes About to Pop

I planted cucumbers on the deck and they apparently love spilling over the edge. Now, I’ll actually be cutting them off from below (a little height advantage!).

Cucumbers growing down from the deck

August is not the time to give up on weeding. I’ve had great success with controlling weeds by covering trouble spots with layers of newspaper and mulch. The bed in my garden that gets the most attention is my front cottage garden.

weed weed weed

I had to include this photo of a bee on my bee balm. Delane did a great job filming the garden. It’s always fun to see your garden through another set of eyes. Which brings me to my last August tip; have a friend or your kids go out and photograph your garden. You’ll see your garden opportunities and successes in a new light. Your off-season planning will be more effective with a trove of August photos to reference.

Bee on Bee Balm

Later this weekend, I’ll share my top 10 August gardening chores. That’s the view from up here this week.

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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