Summer officially ends September 22.  At this writing, the first week of August, temperatures have been moderate compared to years past.  However, on August 6, we had our first official 100 degree day.  So it looks like we will have the “dog days” of summer at least for a few weeks. Luckily a glass of iced tea, a porch swing, and a light breeze are enough to get by.  Sit back and relax until about October, which is our second wettest month.

One of the big issues in health and the built environment today is equal access for everyone to fresh produce. The food disparity in San Antonio is sobering. Discussions about local food production as a solution to the critical and growing need for access to healthy foods led us to look at our urban neighborhoods and their potential.

Our research uncovered the King William district’s first recorded use as farmland or labors cultivated to support people living at the Alamo. Deeply interested in cultural landscapes, we believe that the existence of mature fruit trees can provide a link to the history of the land use in the area and are remnants of bygone times. One of the goals of The San Antonio Fruit Tree Project is to collect oral histories from the community about their trees. Our city has a long history with agriculture, and these reminders aspire to help all people have access to locally grown fresh food.

The weather has been good so far as gardening is concerned.  From May 1 to June 30, I measured 11 3/4 inches of rain in my gauge.  Hopefully we will get more in the coming weeks.  

August is the time to trim back certain plants to keep them in bounds or to promote fall flowers.   Roses that are of the repeat variety, meaning they bloom throughout the season, can be trimmed back by about one-third. This causes them to bush out with new growth and more fall blooms.  Most evergreen shrubs can be trimmed moderately to prevent overcrowding.  If your nandina have grown too tall, thin them back by cutting about one-fourth of the tallest canes back to about six inches from the ground.  New growth will sprout at the point they were cut.  Repeat this process about every six months to prevent bare stems at the lower level.  

Consistently warmer temperatures are taking over from the rollercoaster, warm, cold, hot weather we have had this spring. Lawns are growing, and now is a good time to fertilize if it has been more than 3 months since the last time. Use a good organic fertilizer, and remember you do not have to water it in right away if time does not permit.  If you have flower pots and hanging baskets, keep some of the fertilizer back and use it as a liquid to water them.  About every 2 weeks put about a cup of fertilizer in a 2 gallon water can and let it sit a few minutes to start dissolving, then water.  You should be able to do this a couple more times before the fertilizer is used.