Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gardening Tips--August

--By Pat Kriener, Village interpreter and Master Gardener

August is one of my favorite months to garden because it is so hot I usually spend most of my time sitting on the porch watching the beautiful Texas sunset as I wait for the temperature to drop. I guess you realize that the temperature does not drop much right now, so I must confess I am doing more sitting on the porch than gardening. I wish that meant there was nothing to do, but as we all know, the Texas garden is a never-ending challenge just to keep alive.  

  • Annuals – Plant heat loving annuals that require very little water; Cosmos, Impatiens (shade), Lantana, Moss Rose, Purselane, Scabiosa, Sun flower, Texas Bluebells, Vinca & Zinnias. Water & fertilize with liquid seaweed, top-dress & mulch plants to help combat the intense heat.
  • Bulbs – last chance to plant dormant bulbs of late summer & fall blooming lycoris & fall crocus. Thin out cannas & ginger shoots after they bloom. Dig up, divide & transplant Louisiana iris & Calla lily if needed. Use slow release fertilizers, 3:1:2 ratio is best. Watch for spider mites on oxalis and other plants. 
  • Compost Bin  Too hot to turn it? Use a long rod to poke holes in it for needed airflow.
  • Containers – Too hot to enjoy the garden during the day? Take a walk at night. Can’t see the Plants? Plant a few pots with night-blooming plants & scented plants, that are silver, white or lavender flowers or foliage they will show up in the moonlight or with a few well-placed solar lights. 
  • Greenhouse – It’s time to get the greenhouse ready. Propagate for your fall gardens by seed and cuttings.  Depending on your system you might want to start everything inside until temperatures drop.
  • Herbs – Collect seed for sowing and kitchen use. Dry & store as recommended.  Sow biennials such as parsley & sow winter salad herbs. Continue to take cuttings.  Check out your fall seeds catalogs.
  • Lawn – Unless you are watering every 3 days your grass is probably turning brown. With our heat it is almost unrealistic to expect a lush green lawn so embrace your brown yard as a welcome respite from mowing. Water at least every 7 days between 2 AM & 6 am for best results.
  • Mulch – Texas gardener’s secret weapon...MULCH! Last night I laid out paper and covered it with mulch around plants that are wilting during the day. Recycle by using shredded paper as mulch; don’t shred advertising pages that are made out of the slick paper or envelopes that have plastic windows. Paper is lightweight so it may blow away unless it is mixed with a heavier mulch.  You can also use it as a bottom layer.
  • Perennials –Water existing plants & fertilize with liquid seaweed, then top dress with compost, earthworm castings or humus, in combination or singular. A few perennials that can withstand the Texas heat; Russian Sage, Oxeyed Daisy, Blackfoot Daisy, Copper Canyon Daisy, Coral Honeysuckle, Ruellia, Turks Cap, Salvias, and Coreopsis
  • Roses – Prune roses about 25 percent to generate new growth, & fertilize with nitrogen products. Don’t forget to water thoroughly after you fertilize & prune. Add mulch if needed. Plant EarthKind Roses because once established, very little care or water or pruning is needed.
  • Trees – If you haven’t planted native trees this is the perfect time to do your research to get ready to plant in September.  A few good ones to add to your fall planting list would be Desert Willow, Magnolia, Bur oak, American Smoke Tree, Lacey Oak, Mexican plum, Pecan, Texas Redbud, Rusty Blackhaw, Texas Buckeye & Texas Mountain Laurel. Planting them in the fall will give them time to establish a strong root system for the 2013 Summer Heat.
  • Vegetable Garden –START PLANTING YOUR FALL GARDEN NOW! I always look forward to my fall garden because it is not as much work to keep it alive and as the temperatures lower, every chore is more enjoyable. Plant Now: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bunching onions, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, Swiss Chards, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, lima beans, mustard, snap beans, Southern peas, peppers, Irish potatoes, rutabagas, shallots, squash, tomatoes & turnips.  Top dress existing vegetables with a mixture of compost & worm castings; also add mixture to the soil when planting and water in with liquid seaweed. 
  • Watering – Training your plants to a 7-day watering cycle is one of the best ways to beat the summer watering bill.  Water in early morning between 2 AM & 6AM with soaker hoses, a drip system or hose ground watering for best results. 
  • Wildflowers – fall is coming--order your fall wildflower seed now & make your seed balls 
  • Wildlife in the Garden – I know all of my hard work is paying off while I sit on the porch watching the hummingbirds hovering over the Turk’s Cap, marveling at the colors of the butterflies and relaxing to buzzing of bees.

Remember that the heat is not only hard on your plants but on you as well. I for one will be spending more time on the porch with a cool drink than out in the garden with a shovel or hoe.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming events!

August 25 - September 10, 2012
Log Cabin Village will be closed for maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

September 22, 2012
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Celebrate Fort Worth’s “Day in the District” at the Village! Enjoy a day full of music and living history for the whole family. Admission is FREE for this day only! More information at

October 13, 2012
1-4 p.m.
Grab your pumpkins and shuck your’s time for a good old-fashioned Frontier Fall Fest! You’ll be able to grind grain by hand, shell corn, thresh wheat, “bob” for apples, press tortillas and more. We’ll also have help celebrating the harvest with flintknappers, the Greater Fort Worth Herb Society, drovers from the Fort Worth Herd (minus the longhorns), the Embroiderer’s Guild of America, Wyatt Earp dealing the card game Faro, Cooper Dan “Five Buckets” Tatum, and Buttermilk Junction Old Time String Band, just to name a few! Bring your own carved or painted pumpkin to enter our “best design” contest (judging at 3 p.m.) This will also mark the official launch of Log Cabin Kitty, a children’s book inspired by legendary Village feline Pepper the Cat. Author Donna Rubin will be here to sign your copy (available soon in our museum store)! For a small additional fee, you can even make your own festive corn husk doll to take home! Cost is regular Village admission plus $3 craft fee for corn husk doll . 

November 10,11, 17, & 18, 2012
1-4 p.m.
It’s candle-making time! Come dip your own candles to take home. No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $3 fee to dip candles.

November 17, 2012
1-4 p.m.
Time to start thinking about those holiday cards! Come have your photos taken with our historic St. Nick! No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $5 fee for photo and folder.

December 15, 2012
1-4 p.m.
Enjoy holiday music, string popcorn and cranberries, spin the dreidel, help make pomander balls, tamales, paper chains, embossed cards, ornaments, and more! You can even have your photo taken with our historic St. Nick ($5 fee for photo and folder). No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $2 craft fee to make a punched tin ornament.