Garden Calendar - August
The traditional holiday season is with us and a complete month off from school and college heralds a more leisurely time in the garden.
Most people have more time to sit and contemplate the beauty of their garden plants while lawns should be lush and green enough for everyone to lie on and to picnic.
Beds and Borders
- August normally brings more rainfall than earlier months, this along with the warm summer temperatures means garden plants to be growing strongly and blooming profusely. To match this growth spurt you need to dead-head all fading blooms and to feed bedding plants to encourage a fresh flush of flowers.
- Plant out winter-flowering pansies as soon as the seedlings are large enough to move.
- Regular watering and feeding of container plants and hanging baskets is a summer essential.
- You may find that putting drip trays under pots will help to thoroughly water potted plants. These trays will catch any excess water that will be absorbed back into the compost to ensure it is totally wet.
- It's picnic time! Trim the grass each week for the best results, taking off all the cuttings so these don't stick to clothes or bare feet of your picnic guests.
- Clean sharp edges to the lawn really smarten up the garden and are vital if you are inviting guests.
- Trim the sideways growing grass with a strimmer or pair of long-handled shears and see that the border is weed free.
- Your Sunday lunch plate should be full of plenty of home-grown vegetables this month including potatoes, broad beans, climbing French and runner beans and courgettes. Meal times should see a harvest of tomatoes, lettuce, radish, salad leaves and beetroot giving you rich rewards from all your spring labour.
- Continue to sow salad leaves every couple of weeks to provide tasty greenery for the autumn.
- Many of the herbs now in full leaf can be collected. Try chopping up leaves finely and freeze under water in ice cube trays for later use. This is a great method for adding the fresh taste of mint to potatoes during midwinter.
- Tomatoes should now be ripening on crops growing outdoors on the patio and in any greenhouse or conservatory. Continue to tap each flower truss every day to ensure good pollination and try to ensure the compost or soil is kept evenly moist at all times.
Plant out seedlings of Brussels sprouts and winter cabbage now in soil and compost.
- Ripening fruits from blueberries, gooseberries and redcurrants should be picked as soon as they are ripe. Protection from birds with netting may prove worthwhile.
- Once all the fruit has been picked from summer fruiting raspberries, cut out all these old canes that have borne fruit down to ground level. Tie in the shoots that will be replacing them and water the roots thoroughly to ensure a good crop next year. Raspberries that fruit from now, until the autumn need a thorough watering.
As plums and other fruits ripen they will attract wasps to feed so be careful when picking fruit!