August in the garden
There's lots of pruning, deadheading and harvesting to be done in August so if you're off on your holidays make sure you get some help for your garden or plan ahead. You can also start preparing for the autumn veg patch and start to sow flowers for next spring.
Tidy and Mend
As flowers go over be sure to deadhead regularly where appropriate to encourage longer flowering on into the Autumn and generally prevent the garden from looking frazzled and messy.
Collect seed pods for those plants that you’re planning to re-seed, and those that you don’t want to reseed themselves.
Prune back your pleached fruit trees, leaving 3 or 4 leaves on each sideshoot. If any of your other fruit trees need pruning, do this immediately after you have harvested.
Trim back your lavender once it has finished flowering, to stop it growing leggy.
Although weeds will be growing more slowly than in the spring, it’s an idea to continue to hoe the soil to keep them down. This should be done in warm, dry conditions to ensure any weed seedlings left on the surface dehydrate and die.
If you’re going away ask a neighbour / willing family member to pick your flowers, salad and veg to prevent everything running to seed in your absence.
Now is the time to look at your borders and note any gaps / congestion that you’ll want to rectify later in the season when everything has gone over, ahead of next year. And start your shopping list for Autumn bulbs.
And of course, at this time of year, watering is key. Keep on top of this daily, making sure you water in the morning or late afternoon-evening to prevent the heat evaporating all the water before it reaches the plant roots.
Grow Your Own
Support your dahlias, lilies and gladioli with stakes and flower rings to ensure the weight of their beautiful flower doesn’t cause their stems to break.
Chrysanths will benefit from being pinched or sheared back, encouraging more growth and flowers.
Keep picking your cut flowers to encourage more blooms and a longer flowering season.
Towards the end of August you can start planning next year’s colour by sowing your hardy annuals.
Grow Your Own
Veg and Salad
Plant out your leeks and brassicas if you haven’t already, and you can also squeeze in a final sowing of spinach and chard in the first couple of weeks of August.
Sow salad leaves under cover, or out in the open if in warmer parts of the UK.
Sow Basil, Marjoram, Borage, Chervil, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Parsley in pots outside, to make moving them indoors as easy as possible in the late autumn
Transplant strawberry runners to a new position.
Ensure that your fruit crops aren’t pinched by the birds by covering with netting, ensuring the netting stands well clear of the fruit.
Harvesting Food – What you could be picking and eating this time next year, or – if you’re an old hand – already are
- Brassicas: kohl rabi.
- Roots: radishes,carrots, maincrop potatoes, onions and beetroot.
- Salad crops: salad leaves, pea tips, all lettuce and Florence fennel.
- Leafy greens: chard.
- Legumes: peas, French and runner beans.
- Squash:courgettes, Red Kuri squash, Pumpkin Munchkin.
- Fruity veg: tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, chillies.
- Herbs: parsley, chervil, par-cel, coriander, dill, lovage, mint, chives, fennel, rosemary, sage, bay, winter savory, thyme. Basil and oregano outside.
Harvesting Flowers – Lovely things to pick and arrange from your garden in April
- Bulbs: lilies (Oriental Hybrids and L. speciosum) and gladioli.
- Hardy annuals: all the late-flowering varieties.
- All half-hardy annuals and dahlias.
- Perennials: Euphorbia schillingii and E. ceratocarpa, heleniums, phlox and echinacea.
Pests and diseases to look out for in August
Watch your tomatoes and potatoes closely for blight. This will first be visible in the leaves, and can often be prevented successfully with Bordeaux mixture. Potatoes can also be protected simply by earthing up the tubers.
Another problem to keep an eye out for is blossom end rot . This is first spotted on the fruit itself, as a brown or black spot that grows in size and gradually becomes sunken and flat. The risk of blossom end rot can be prevented by frequent watering – the disease being caused by the plants not receiving a sufficient quantity of calcium.
Check your fruit trees for brown rot and quickly remove any effected fruit to help stop it spreading.