August has come upon us so quickly this year, and the seasons are running away with us. The warm weather earlier this year has pushed everything on and in between the occasional thunderstorms our gardens are quite dry. most plants will recover and even if your grass is looking pretty brown and dead, it will come back eventually. On the bright side, the grass hasn’t been growing so no mowing needed!

You should be harvesting all of the lovely produce you planted earlier this year, and there is nothing quite like the taste of a tomato plucked from your own greenhouse and eaten warm from the vine. Remember to continue to feed tomato plants with a tomato fertiliser and remove leaves lower down on the plant to help with air circulation and prevent disease.

There’s so much that can be done at this time of year, so let’s dive straight into the jobs for this month.

THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

  • Keep Camellias and Rhododendrons well watered at this time of year. This will ensure that next year’s buds develop well.
    • Keep patio container plants well watered and feed with a liquid fertiliser every week.
    • Dead-head bedding plants and perennial plants to stop them self-seeding and to encourage further flowering into the autumn.
    • Trim your lavender plants after they’ve finished flowering to keep them compact. Dry the flowers by hanging in bunches in a dry place. They will scent a wardrobe or bathroom all winter! Traditionally used to make lavender bags (great Christmas present idea!!).
    • As Penstemon flowers fade, cut them back to just above a leaf and you will get more flowers.
    • Cut back herbs now to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves you can harvest before the frost.
    • Prune Wisteria after flowering by removing all the side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base (about five leaves from the main stem).
    • Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering (unless they are repeat-flowers in which case leave them).
    • Collect ripened seed and store for next year in paper envelopes. Leaving some seed heads in place can be attractive and allows the plant to self-seed in the surrounding soil as well as being a source of food for the birds.
    • Take cuttings of favourite tender perennials such as pelargoniums and fuchsia to propagate them for next year.
    • Finish dividing clumps of Bearded Iris now so they have time to form roots and flowers buds for next year before the cold weather arrives.
    • Look out for symptoms of Clematis Wilt such as wilting leaves and black discolouration on the leaves and stems of your Clematis. Cut out any infected plant material and dispose of it in your household waste.
    • Water sweetcorn plants regularly now and feed with tomato food to get the best cobs. Sweetcorn is ready when you can pop a corn with your thumbnail and the juices are milky.
    • Apply a high-potash fertiliser such as tomato food once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumber and aubergines.
    • Pinch out the tips of your runner bean plants once they reach the top of their support. This encourages side-shooting and more beans at a manageable height for picking. Pick runner beans regularly to prevent them becoming stringy and to make room for developing pods. Leaving mature pods to set seed can prevent further flowers developing and reduce your crop.
    • Limit the fruits on a squash plant to about three, but make sure these fruits are established before pinching out the surplus.
    • Start harvesting your main crop potatoes as the leaves yellow and die back. Try storing your potatoes in hessian sacks which exclude light but allow adequate ventilation.
    • Lift and dry onions, shallots, and garlic once the foliage has flopped over and yellowed. Store them in onion bags to prevent moulds developing.
    • Keep harvesting courgettes before they turn into marrows!
  • Take cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, sage, or mint now to bulk up supplies. Put cuttings in moist, well-drained potting compost (one part grit to one part compost) and place in a cold frame.
    • Established clumps of chives can be divided now.
    • On a dry sunny day, collect seeds of herbs such as dill, fennel, caraway and chervil and dry in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Chervil must be sown immediately.
    • Keep an eye out for potato and tomato blight and remove and burn any affected plants immediately to prevent its spread.
    • Check for cabbage white butterfly eggs under brassica leaves and squash any that you find. Alternatively use nematodes to kill the caterpillars or cover with Environmesh.
    • Keep on top of weeds as they compete with your crops for nutrients and water.

GET IN FRONT….

  • Make plans to ensure plants are cared for if you are taking your holiday
  • Order Spring-flowering bulbs

 

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