In the Organic Garden: Week of August 14, 2017


August 14 to 20, 2017: It’s mid-August and time to prepare for fall. We’re overseeding bare spots in the lawn, planting out fall vegetables, and ordering bulbs to plant in October.


In fruit and vegetable gardens, we’re

  • harvesting raspberries, early apples, potatoes, cabbage, beans, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers.
  • planting fall vegetables. If you’ve grown your own seedlings, plant out broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts in the next week or two. (Most nurseries won’t have them yet.) Direct sow root crops and salad crops now.
  • watering the seed bed. Try to keep soil evenly moist where you’ve planted new crops; use a watering can with a rose or a hose nozzle with a mist sprayer.
  • cleaning up overripe fruit. Overripe and damaged tomatoes, peppers, and even apples aren’t just icky. They can attract sap beetles, as well as inviting in fungus.
  • digging up potatoes. If the tops of your potatoes have died off, go ahead and harvest. Use a garden fork to avoid spearing your spuds, then store at room temperature for one week to allow them to cure. Once they’ve cured, move them to a cool, dark, and humid spot.
  • harvesting and drying herbs.  Cut, bunch together, and hang upside down to dry in a warm, dark place with good air circulation.
  • continuing to weed. Continue either pulling weeds or cutting them off at the soil line.
orange flower sunflower

Brilliant orange Mexican sunflowers are blooming at the Spotts Flower Farm.

Ornamental Gardens

In other parts of the garden, we’re

  • finishing up summer pruning. Finish up pruning shrubs and trees by the end of the month. If your fruit trees are out of control, mid-to-late August is a good time for a second summer pruning.
  • ordering our bulbs to plant this fall.While October is the best time for planting bulbs, we order in August to get the best selection. If you’d like us to order and plant bulbs for you, contact us at
  • watering containers every day and feeding once a week with compost tea, fish emulsion, or organic fertilizer.
  • overseeding bare spots in the lawn. The prime time for overseeding is mid-August to mid-September.
  • continuing to deadhead flowers, including coneflowers and daisies.
  • stockpiling newspaper and corrugated cardboard for sheet mulching. Our favorite way of building new beds is to sheet mulch in fall and let the worms do the work over the winter, so we’re saving materials now to tackle that project in another month or two.
  • mowing the lawn high. Remember to set your mower at 3″ to 3.5″ above the ground to encourage grass instead of weeds.
  • weeding and turning the compost pile.


Amy graduated from DePauw University with a degree in physics, a lifelong love of theatre, and a problem-solving style that combines the approaches from both those fields. A Master Gardener and long-time communications professional, Amy conducts gardening seminars and blogs about gardening in addition to her work with Spotts.

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