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Dog Days of Summer


In central Florida, summer fruits and vegetables are available in abundance this month. Avocado, mango, key lime, Persian lime, carambola, elderberry, banana, guava, cattley guava, papaya and pineapple are all ripe and ready to pick in August. The vegetable harvest this month includes many leafy greens like Okinawa spinach, longevity spinach, malabar spinach, chaya, Abelmoschus manihot and cranberry hibiscus.

While the west coast is receiving blasting hot temperatures this summer in the northeast has been mild!

August may be the hottest month of the year, but it’s the ideal time to start your fall garden. Most vegetables planted now won’t produce in the heat, but they will get established and be ready to produce when the weather cools slightly in a month or two.

Plant warm-season crops like pole beans, sweet corn, eggplant, okra, southern peas, peppers (transplants), pumpkin, squash and watermelon. Early in the month there’s still time to seed many tomato varieties. A few cool-season crops can also be started now. Try broccoli, celery, collards, bunching onions and shallots.

Now is also a good time to add to your herb garden. Annual herbs will provide a fall harvest and perennial herbs will become well-established before winter.

You will need to check the moisture levels of young plants daily. Their small root systems will dry out quickly in the sun and heat. Daily watering will probably be required until they become established.

Trim back tired-looking annuals, then keep them watered and fertilized to stimulate fresh fall growth. If they’re beyond help, pull them out, amend the soil with organic matter, and replant with another round of warm-season annuals.

In the landscape this month, a few plants are putting on a great show. You can’t miss blooming specimens of Tibouchina granulosa, Quisqualis, firespike, tecoma, thevetia, russelia and a great number of gingers. If your landscape looks drab this time of year, consider adding a few of these plants to brighten up the dog days of summer!

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