§ If you find yourself watering too much — and who doesn't — consider adding mulch to your plantings. This works to decrease moisture loss. If your soil is lacking in organic matter, you may want to mulch with planting compost instead of wood chips. In the dormant season you can work this into the soil and then add a weed barrier mulch.
§ Shop garden centers for great plant bargains. Great plant bargains are discounted but not sick. Sick plants, especially trees and shrubs, will never recover to be the gorgeous plants that their healthier brethren will become. Save the bargain plants for more hidden areas of your garden. And don't put them in the ground until fall, unless your garden will receive unbroken attention during the hot weather. Instead, find a protected corner and give them daily attention until planting.
§ Garden tours at North Mountain Park continue throughout the summer: butterfly, amphibian-reptile, native plant, herb and heirloom gardens are onsite. The free tour starts at 9:30 a.m., Aug. 8 and 25. See their wild places at night in a Full Moon Nature Walk, 9 p.m., Aug. 26. For more information and to register go online at ashlandparks.recware.com or call the Nature Center at 488-6606.
§ Author David Rains Wallace (The Klamath Knot) will offer a nature writing retreat through the Siskiyou Field Institute Sept. 21 to 23. Learn more online at thesfi.org or call 597-8530.
§ Area garden clubs do not meet during the summer. Meetings resume in September.
§ Keep grass 2 1/2 inches high. Lawns need about 2 inches of water per week. No fertilizing in hot weather. Water before sunrise or early in the day.
§ Fertilize fruiting plants like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber and peppers with low nitrogen fertilizer, so bud production and root development is enhanced. Lettuce and other leafy plants need nitrogen.
§ Seed veggies now for your fall garden: beets, Swiss chard, lettuce, radish, and turnips. Transplants are best for these: broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, leeks and cauliflower. Until plants are established, keep soil moist with row covers, a sprinkling of mulch and/or shade cloth.
§ Have a canning party. You preserve food and make memories. The food may taste better, too. Check with the Master Food Preservers for canning questions. 776-7371.
§ Monitor plants for insects: coddling moth and spider mite in apple trees, earworms in corn, hornworm in tomatoes. Treat as needed.
§ Make sure to fertilize roses so they can have a healthy and spectacular second (third?) bloom next month. If you've got blackspot, keep diseased leaves off the plant, and pick them off the ground. Don't compost; throw them away.
§ Heat damage can occur suddenly, especially on plants close to light or white buildings or fences. Leaf margins or tips become dry and brittle. A severely stressed plant will hold on to these leaves even when they are mostly brown and dead. Make sure you are watering trees and shrubs deeply at least once a month. Depending on your soil, that might mean putting a soaker hose at the drip line for up to half a day. Place 2 inches of mulch in all your ornamental garden beds. Consider removing water hungry grass from underneath lawn trees and replacing with mulch.