Five gardening tips for the dog days of summer

Five gardening tips for the dog days of summer

July 28th, 2012 by Holly Leber in Life Entertainment

FIVE TIPS

1 - Apply some plant food to the soil in which your tomatoes and peppers are planted.

2 - Watch carefully for signs of crabgrass and other harder weeds.

3 - Use a weed killer to keep weeds from overtaking the garden.

4 - Pull weeds from the roots as much as possible.

5 - Toward the end of August, be ready to start planting fall crops.

August in the garden is kind of, well, dead.

Will Holcomb, an employee at Holcomb Garden Center in Hixson, said we're coming into an in-between time in the gardening season where there's just not that much to do.

It's still a little early to start planting those fall vegetables - wait until late August for that - so now is the time to just make sure everything stays status quo.

"You'll still need to keep an eye on your tomato plants and your peppers, and (you) need to be keeping them watered and keeping up with feeding them," Holcomb said.

Currently, peppers and tomatoes are likely hungry for nutrients, as they have absorbed most of the spring feedings that most people pay attention to, Holcomb said. "You need to give them a little bit more food now."

The food can be applied over the top of the soil, he said, and organic is best.

This time of year, the other important thing to think about is weed control. Weed season is just about hitting, he said.

"You want to be watching for signs of crabgrass and harder weeds to control coming up."

Gardeners can make an effort to stave off the weeds, but paying attention is key. "It's just one of those things you have to stay on top of," Holcomb said. Spray to kill off weeds, and then pull from the roots as much as possible.

"If you let the weeds keep growing, they're going to throw out more seeds for next year and be an even bigger problem," Holcomb said. "It's going to kill off your lawn worse next year, make landscape control harder and take away from the appearance of your garden and lawn."

But while weeds can be a problem, critters are not too much of a threat in late summer. "There are a few pest problems," he said.

Other than that, now's the time to sit tight. "You're kind of in that in-between season," Holcomb said.

In about four weeks, though, get ready.