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Late Summer Gardening 

 



By Debbie Roland and Emmy Ulmschneider, Master Gardeners 

 

We know we aren’t telling you anything you don’t already know, but the heat has been miserable this summer.  Remember in January and February when you were so looking forward to your plant and seed shopping?  Back when you could just picture the greenery and flowers as an end to the long winter.   

 

Many plants have given up, but the weeds have not.  Although they may be smaller, most still have some growth which will result in them seeding out. You want to avoid a bank of weed seeds in your garden.  Stay on top of your weeding this month and you will have fewer weeds in the spring. Pull them or mow them down with the bagger on your mower.  For a full discussion on weeds and how to deal with them, check out our June 12, 2023, blog article:  https://www.westtexasgardening.org/post/ugh-weeds 

 

It is also time to deadhead your perennials.  Deadheading, a type of pruning, refers to cutting back old growth and seed heads from a plant.   This allows the plant to channel energy into producing new growth and re-flowering.   It will also help keep overzealous plants from over seeding.  Cut off the spent flowers or seedheads above the first set of full leaves.  For a complete discussion about deadheading, try   https://extension.psu.edu/programs/master-gardener/counties/chester/how-to-gardening-brochures/deadheading-1#:~:text=Deadheading%20is%20the%20simple%20act,of%20the%20normal%20plant%20lifecycle 

 

Go ahead and pull plants that are spent, and you will have less final cleanup for winter.  If you think a plant could have died from disease, please don’t add it to your compost bin.  Pulling up plants will leave empty spaces which should be filled with a cover crop, fall plants or simply mulch.  Ground should never be left bare as it invites pests and more weeds.  Don’t fertilize plants that will not live through the winter; you do not want to encourage new growth when our cold weather is around the corner. 

 

It is not too late to try and resurrect tomatoes for the fall. Here are some tips in our Don’t be Afraid of a Fall Garden Part I.  https://www.westtexasgardening.org/post/don-t-be-afraid-of-a-fall-garden-part-i 

  

You still have time to plant vegetables which require cooler weather. such as spinach, kale, arugula, lettuce, and greens.  Since our growing season is long, don’t forget broccoli, beets, radishes, cabbage or kale.  Direct sow them and keep them well-watered.  If you grow cabbage, one of our favorite recipes is to slice the cabbage into 1” slices, season just as you would a steak, broil in the oven or on a BBQ pit and top with your favorite barbecue sauce.  Tender with crispy outsides – it’s a very delicious fall treat.   

 

This is also a perfect time to build your hoop house.  Our blog article several weeks ago https://www.westtexasgardening.org/post/building-a-hoop-house  gives simple instructions on how to build a hoop house that will keep most plants alive until hot weather next year. 

 

So, get out in your garden in the cool of the morning; save your planning for the hot afternoons, and prepare for a wonderful fall and winter garden. 

If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.   Additional information, and our blog for access to past articles, is available at westtexasgardening.org. Click on “Resources”. 



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