Plant Fall Vegetables
If you're planning a fall vegetable garden, now is the time to transplant broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Chinese cabbage. Protect these plants from pests by laying a floating row cover over the transplants. Late August is also a good time to direct sow carrots, beets, snap beans, and lettuce.
Long, sunny days and hot temperatures can lead to sunburn on some plants as well as people. The best way to prevent sunburn is to know your plants' requirements for sun or shade before you plant them. If they are already in the ground and are getting sunburned (tan patches on the leaves or fruit), either transplant them to a better site or protect them with a shade cloth. Make sure your plants are getting enough water and fertilizer for optimal health and minimal stress.
Stake Tall Plants
Install supports around tall plants such as hollyhocks to help keep them upright during late-season wind and rainstorms. Slender reed or bamboo stakes long enough to reach up three-quarters of the plant's height work best. Put three or four stakes in the ground and weave supporting twine between them, starting about a foot above the ground. Add another weave a foot above the first.
Take Cuttings of Annuals
Take cuttings of your favorite annuals for rooting and growing indoors this winter. The following bedding plants root easily: coleus, geraniums, impatiens, wax begonias, and fuchsias. Use a razor blade instead of scissors to take cuttings to avoid crushing the stems. Slice the top 3 to 4 inches from a healthy stem, remove the lower leaves, dip the cut end in rooting hormone, and slip it into some moistened potting soil. Place the cuttings outdoors, away from direct sunlight. New growth indicates that your cuttings have developed new roots.
Even though your garden is well established by midsummer, weeds will continue to sprout and compete with garden plantings for water and nutrients. It's important to remove this weedy competition, and hand pulling is my favorite method. Other means of controlling weeds include using mulches, both organic and nonorganic. For example, a 1-inch layer of bark dust or sawdust will deter most annual weeds. A mulch of newspaper, five sheets thick, covered with bark dust, clean straw, or compost, will help control weeds and conserve soil moisture.