Jobs to do in the Garden in August
Harvest is now in full swing
As we reach the height of the summer in Stephanie’s Kitchen the harvest is now in full swing. Day after day trugs laden with produce arrive in the kitchen ready to be cooked, stored or prepared for the freezer. We certainly enjoy the fruits of our labour. But there is no time to rest on our laurels. At this time of the gardening year, there is always work to be done tending to our crops, watering and keeping the garden tidy.
Water, Weed and Feed.
As July melts into August much of our time is spent with a watering can in our hands and this will continue throughout August. Squashes are swelling and beans are setting and these plants all need a good soaking every few days to keep them productive.
If water butts are running low, grey water can be used wherever possible. If August is holiday time for you, plans may be needed to enlist the help of friends and family to look after the garden when you are away.
It’s also important to keep moisture levels constant on plants such as salads, rocket and spinach to stop them bolting in the heat. Inside the greenhouse the aubergines and peppers thoroughly enjoy really hot conditions, but tomatoes and cucumbers do prefer it slightly cooler. Our greenhouse floor is dampened down several times a day and the blinds are lowered over the roof on really sunny days. Wherever possible we water in the early part of the day as this is more beneficial for the crops and the gardeners!
This is the month we will carry out the annual prune of our box hedges. In a normal year we would do this is early June, but after being hit with the dreaded box blight, we have left it until August under the advice of an RHS expert. We will wait for an overcast dry day as clipping in wet conditions or hot sunny days can put the plants under additional stress. Because of the blight, we will be avoiding the usual tightly clipped look and trying to create a more open, loose shape which will allow air to circulate. The hedge will then be given a seaweed feed to help it recover.
Our pear pergola, at the east entrance to the garden, puts on lots of growth each year and gets a little untidy. In early August it will be time to climb the ladders armed with secateurs to give it an annual haircut. I love this job as the end result is always such a dramatic improvement. It’s a really enjoyable way to spend a sunny summer’s morning. Opening out the foliage will allow light and air to get to the fruits that are nestling among the branches.
More Jobs to do
- Dead head flowering plants regularly and collect seed from favourite plants to store in a cool and dry place.
- Watering! Particularly containers, pots and new plants. Preferably with stored rainwater or grey recycled water.
- Trim Lavender when finished flowering, prune Wisteria and plant autumn bulbs.
- Keep ponds and water features topped up.
- Cut out old fruited canes on summer raspberries leaving new shoots as these will produce next year’s crop. Tie-in new shoots to support wires.
- Hang wasp traps in fruit trees.
- Harvest blackcurrants if not already done so.
- Harvest maincrop potatoes, sweetcorn and other vegetables as they become ready.
- Harvest alliums (onions, garlic & shallots) and dry well before storing.
- Plant winter Brassicas and lift and pot up strawberry runners.
- Harvest climbing French beans and runner beans. Pick them when they are small and tender.
- Cut back strawberry plants once they have finished fruiting.
- Check crops regularly for signs of pests and diseases.
- Remove the lower leaves on tomato plants up to the first truss.
- Pak choi
- Kohi rabi
- Salads and lettuces
- Salads and lettuces