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“We are all flowers in the gardens of the world. Some of us are daisies dainty and bright. Some of us are poppies, with sweet contagious laughter.” — Lanie Costea

Gardens along the Front Range are now maturing, and gardeners can take a step back to celebrate successes and note mistakes.

Take stock of what’s blooming in your garden now and then consider adding some later-blooming plants. Take advantage of plant sales; starting mid-August, many nurseries will reduce prices as much as 50%.

Then it’s back to work with these major chores for the month:

Garden

• Keep faded flowers pinched off bedding plants. When flowers fade, the plant senses it is at the end of its life so it starts producing seeds instead of flowers. “Dead-heading” promotes further flowering and improves plant appearance for the rest of the season.

• Newly planted perennials, trees and shrubs need consistent watering to get established, especially with recent high temperatures.

• Fertilize roses and other woody plants one more time around Aug. 15. Fertilizing later might stimulate new growth that will not have time to harden off properly before winter.

• Divide spring blooming perennials that have a “hole” in the middle or those that have fewer or no more blooms. Divide plants that are crowding out neighboring plants.

• Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that attacks where plants are crowded and kept damp. It appears as patches of white or gray powdery substance. Some susceptible plants are garden phlox, bee balm, Virginia creeper vine and roses. In the vegetable family, squash and cucumbers are often affected. Avoid overhead watering of these plants. Sulfur products sprayed during the growing season may help control powdery mildew.

• Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting.

• Take advantage of plant sales. Usually starting mid-to-late August and into September, many nurseries will have plants sales with prices as much as 50% off.

Lawn

• Starting midmonth and continuing through fall, begin lawn renovation and repair. Build up low areas with garden soil and overseed areas that are thin or bare.

• Fertilize between now and mid-September.

• Mow as often as needed to a height of 2½ to 3 inches.

Vegetables

• Pick beans, tomatoes, peppers and squash often to encourage further production.

• Harvest onions after the green tops fall over. Cure them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area until necks are free of moisture. When the outer skins have turned papery, place them in a mesh bag and store them in a dark, cool place.

• Harvest potatoes after the tops yellow and die. Potatoes also need to be cured before storage.

• Water tomatoes regularly until late August. After that, fruit will ripen more quickly when water is withheld.

• Harvest sweet corn when kernels are plump and ooze a milky juice when punctured with your fingernail. If the liquid is watery, you’re too early; if the kernels are doughy, you’re too late.

• Plant spinach, lettuce and peas midmonth for a fall harvest.

• After harvesting and areas become empty, sow cover crops, like annual rye grass, often called green manure, to build garden soil.

Submit gardening questions to csumg2@elpasoco.com or call 719-520-7684. The in-person help desk is open 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at 17 N. Spruce St. Find us on Facebook at Colorado Master Gardeners-El Paso County.

Submit gardening questions to csumg2@elpasoco.com or call 719-520-7684. The in-person help desk is open 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at 17 N. Spruce St. Find us on Facebook at Colorado Master Gardeners-El Paso County.

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