Summers can be rough in the Mid-Atlantic region—lots of heat, plenty of humidity, and for many of us, ridiculous amounts of rain followed by long dry spells. Fortunately, those extremes tend to abate this month, making it much more pleasant to get outside and get busy in the garden.
Decide now if you’re going to keep your tender plants, like the ‘Golden Delicious’ pineapple sage (Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’, Zones 8–10), peppermint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum, Zones 8–10), and ColorBlaze® Keystone Kopper® coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Keystone Kopper’, Zones 10–11)—pictured above—or let them die and buy new ones next year.
Fill spaces in high-visibility beds and borders with cool-season annuals such as pansies (Viola × wittrockiana, annual), violets (Viola spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima, Zones 5–9), and ornamental cabbages and kales (Brassica oleracea, annual).
Take advantage of the season’s mild temperatures and (usually) more regular rains to plant, move, or divide perennials that will flower in spring to midsummer next year.
Extend your harvest season well into fall by sowing or setting out transplants of cool-weather crops such as arugula, kale, lettuce, mizuna, and spinach.
If you still have empty spaces in your vegetable garden, this is a good time to sow cover crops, such as oats (Avena sativa, annual) or winter field peas, to protect the soil and build fertility for next year.
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