August 2014

Gardening Notes by Tomese Buthod, Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener


Vegetable and Ornamental Gardening


August Gardening Activities Calendar and To-Do list

  • Continue planting those summer veggies. You can still plant bush beans, beets, collards, kale, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, leaf lettuce, snow peas, summer squash and turnips from seed.
  • Start planning your fall garden. It's too late to start cole crops from seed, but buy and plant broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plants as soon as they are available.
  • Remember spinach will not germinate in warm soil. Start them indoors. This will also keep them from drying out like they would outdoors. Start spinach seed in soil chilled in the fridge. 
  • Cut back Daylily stems and foliage unless they are repeaters. Fertilize them and they will reward you will fresh green tufts that will look good until the first solid freeze. They make a neat foil for fall flowers.
  • Continue watering deeply but infrequently.
  • Don't shock plants by watering them with cold water. Give the water time to reach the outside air temperature. Soil should be moist before adding fertilizer.
  • Enjoy watermelons! They are high in vitamins A, C, potassium and antioxidants.
  • Don't refrigerate homegrown tomatoes unless the skin has split.
  • Got Bermuda grass? Now is the time to apply 2 applications of glysophate 10 days apart. Rake off the dead and water well. If anything reappears, repeat once more. This ways you should be ready to reseed September 1.
  • Raise your mower height by an inch or so to prevent scorching.
  • Manage mosquitoes. 
  • Empty, clean and refill bird baths frequently.
  • Keep strawberries under control by removing excess runners.
  • Make herb butters and freeze them for a quick delicious finish for almost any dish.
  • Remove this season's spent fruiting stems from raspberries.
  • Divide and transplant bearded iris.
  • Keep roses pruned and fertilized for the fall blooming season.
  • Start taking cutting for annuals you want to overwinter.


Ah, the joys of urban living.  A few days ago, some unknown (to me) person drove through a flower bed in my yard, pretty much wiping out my hostas and destroying my compost bin.  Well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, as the saying goes.  (Or at least, make more compost!)  I can not live without my compost bin, I discovered in about 30 minutes.  So I did some quick research and I went to Louisville Metro Public Works for my replacement bin(s).  Yes, I got two of them, and they were less than the price of one comparable unit!    If you don’t know, Public Works sells rain barrels for $55 and compost bins for $45 – two great ways to help keep rain water out of the storm sewers and reduce land fill needs.

Each 1,000 residents who actively compost divert 600,000 pounds of organic waste from local landfills each year. One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 sq. ft. roof harvests up to 600 gallons of rainwater for use on lawns and gardens without turning on the tap.

Public Works will be selling the rain barrels and the compost bins while supplies last.  Sale hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Solid Waste Management office, 600 Meriwether Street, whiles supplies last. Payment must be made by check or money order. No cash or credit cards will be accepted.

Here is a picture of my new set-up – now I have a better way to turn my compost  - I can move it from one bin to the other instead of trying to turn it inside one bin.  Now, if only my hostas come back next year I’ll really be set.

As always, If you’ve got gardening questions, call the Jefferson Co. Cooperative Extension at 502-569-2344.  Download or print the latest version of the Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky booklet at  This tool is invaluable as you plan your garden – no matter if you are a seasoned gardener or a first-timer.  You can send questions to me at about your vegetables and I’ll do my best to answer, but I can’t swear that I’ll be super timely with a response – if the weather is decent I’m in the garden and nowhere near my computer!