Late-Summer Planting

August 19, 2012 6:03:40 AM PDT
Even with the cooler temperatures lately, this year's summer has been one of the hottest and driest on record. And that's leaving its mark on our gardens!

But summer isn't over yet, and there's still time to enjoy your garden. Benjamin Carroll, Senior Horticulturist at the Chicago Botanic Garden (, joined us live from the Garden during our ABC7 news Sunday Morning to give us tips on late-summer gardening and planting.

1. Japanese Beetles are on the decline
- start to notice less damage in your gardens
- tidy up plants that the beetles have already attacked by removing leaves and flowers that look bad

2. Keep on watering (unless there is a watering ban in your area), especially during dry periods.
- your garden requires at least 1" of rain/ week
- when using a sprinkler, place a tuna can out to measure how much water you are providing

3. Apply mulch to the soil surface at least 1"- 2" thick
- Keeps the soil moist longer

4. Check your containers for watering
- The foliage of plants in containers can act as an umbrella

5. Continue feeding containers, window boxes and baskets, but provide a diluted solution of food every time you water
- highly-concentrated food solutions can burn the roots of plants; that can result in a sick plant
- lighter food applied more consistently will help prevent this and help your plants thrive

6. Keep deadheading annual flowers to promote an extended season of bloom
- remove pollinated flowers to encourage new flowers to develop

7. Stake taller plant that may be flopping
- high winds and quick heavy downpours can make taller stems flop
- add support lower on the plant to help them stand proud without looking strangled

8. Cut back plants like Catmint (Nepeta)
- give them a fresh new look
- may promote one more flush of blooms

9. Sew late season vegetables that will look great until it is time for you to harvest them
- plants like lettuce, spinach, beets, radish and beans will produce something for your table even into autumn
- some vegetable seeds need cooler temperatures to germinate, so make sure they are planted a little deeper than normal
- keep the soil moist and shaded until germination occurs
- start seeds in pots in your air-conditioned house, and then transplant them to the garden later

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