In the Organic Garden: Week of August 7, 2017


August 7 to 13, 2017: We’re spending this week pruning wisteria, weeding, and watching butterflies in the borders.


In fruit and vegetable gardens, we’re

  • 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.
  • keeping melons off the ground to prevent rotting. Put some a pile of straw or a flower pot under the fruit.
  • digging up potatoes. If your potatoes still have tops, you can harvest a few of the potatoes close to the surface to eat now. If the tops of your potatoes are dead, dig up all of them. 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.
  • picking raspberries and early apples.
  • clearing away any dead or diseased plants. Old plants can harbor insects and fungi, so get them away from your producing plants.
  • harvesting carrots, cabbage, beans, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. We’re also harvesting and drying herbs like dill, oregano, basil, and sage.
  • continuing to weed. Continue either pulling weeds or cutting them off at the soil line.
butterfly flower coneflower

The butterfly watching is particularly good in August.

Ornamental Gardens

In other parts of the garden, we’re

  • 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
  • refilling birdbaths and watching for butterflies! August is prime butterfly season.
  • watering containers every day and feeding once a week with compost tea, fish emulsion, or organic fertilizer.
  • pruning wisteria. Summer pruning ensures your wisteria will set lots of buds for next year’s flowers. Check this guide for more information.
  • finishing up summer pruning. We like to have all our pruning done by mid- to late August. Pruning later than that can encourage new growth that doesn’t have time to harden off before winter.
  • 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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