Updated: Aug 16, 2022
August in the Garden
It's August in Phoenix and we have had an outstanding monsoon season and my plants have taken full advantage of all the water, humidity, and cooler weather. Phoenix Monsoon begins in mid June ends in mid to late September. Desert monsoon is determined by a change of winds and 3 consecutive days of dew point at or above 55 degrees. For those of you that want to geek out on weather and monsoon activity in Phoenix, ASU’s school of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning has a great paper titled Basics of Arizona Monsoon and Desert Meteorology.
Planting for August
SQUASH, PUMPKINS AND GOURDS
Transplant or directly sow seeds into the garden now through September for harvesting before first frost, usually around December 8th. Varieties of summer squash, such as patty pan, zucchini and yellow crookneck will yield within 60 days of planting. I’m starting zucchini again, we were attacked by squash bugs this year!
Support healthy bee populations by planting pollen and nectar rich flowering plants. Sow seeds of sunflowers now for an autumn bloom. Make sure to select varieties that are labeled “open-pollinated.” Otherwise, they may not produce the pollen that bees need.
COOL-SEASON VEGETABLES Once daytime temperatures remain below 100 degrees, add seed, root, leaf and stem crops into your garden. Chard, kale, spinach, leaf lettuce and mustard greens can be eaten as microgreens as soon as leaves are produced or left to grow and harvested continuously. For continuous harvest, only pick the outermost leaves, leaving inner leaves to protect the growing crown of the plant.
PESTS Pests like cucumber beetles, squash bugs and whiteflies love cucurbits and are active in late summer, so guard your new plantings with floating row covers, until the first flowers appear.
PREPARE FOR FALL PLANTING Time to pull up your sleeves and remove debris from old plants to provide space for new planting. Be sure to add organic compost to your raised beds, containers or gardens. You can also amend soil by mixing a 1-inch layer of composted manure into the top 4 inches to help healthy soil biology. For more information on soil check out my Right Plant Right Place- Soil tips.
PRUNE STORM-DAMAGED TREES Use clean, sharp tools to remove limbs that were broken during monsoon storms. Make all cuts at the point of the stem’s attachment without leaving a stub or coming too close to the trunk. Check out Pruning Trees and Shrubs for more instructions on how to make a proper pruning cut. Happy Fall!