Gardener's August to-do list - A tough month

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August is a tough month on gardens. They start to get ratty looking, and fewer things are in flower. But even 15 or 20 minutes of weeding, cutting back, deadheading, mulching, and watering can make a huge difference.

- Harvest early and often for the most tender, sweetest produce and to keep plants producing well. Tip: Harvest tomatoes when they’re about halfway red. Bring them indoors (away from insects) to finish ripening.

- Annual flowers are at their peak now and are among the few things that look fresh this time of year. Keep them well watered, deadheaded, and well fertilized (apply a granular or liquid all-purpose fertilizer according to package directions).

- Keep up with watering, especially with newly planted things. Containers might need a watering daily or even twice a day.

- Avoid planting, transplanting, or dividing anything other than a tree or shrub now. Smaller plants struggle in hot, dry weather. It’s best to wait for cooler, wetter weather.

Source: The Iowa Gardener

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