Posts Tagged ‘august gardening’

August Gardening Advice

August 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

August Gardening Advice

This is the month when burnt tones of yellow, red and orange set alight your flower borders. On the allotment, crops are being harvested daily as we do our best to deter gluts.

With the kids now on holiday, this is the perfect time for families to pack their suitcases and get away from it all, for a week or two. But while it’s good to take a break, leaving your plants unattended for several days, could have you returning home to withered flowers and thirsty crops. So, it’s important to maintain a regular water regime, and make plans if you are going away. Make use of drip irrigation systems, water butts and water retention gels. Methods that won’t put a strain on your water bills, or be affected by any looming hosepipe ban.

In the flower garden

Holiday

If you’re going away, ensure you make plans to keep your garden from drying out. Ask a neighbour to pop over once every few days to water and check on your garden. If you have pots and containers, group them all together under some shade, to make the job easier. Keep greenhouses ventilated, and if necessary, create shade to prevent certain plants from getting scorched.

Watering

A close up of a wooden water barrel or water butt, great for collecting water to reuse in the gardenWhether there’s a hosepipe ban in your area or not, using water sensibly is a good habit to get into. Make use of water butts, re-use old dish water, and water either early in the morning or at dusk, when the lower temperatures mean less water evaporation and little chance of scorching plant foliage.

Keeping your garden well-weeded also ensures the water goes to the plants that need it.

If you’re planting up containers and hanging baskets, add water retention gel to the soil. If you’re growing tomatoes, create a drip irrigation system.

Deadheading

Deadhead regularly to keep flowers blooming into autumn. Fresh blooms not only look good, but continue to feed bees, butterflies and hoverflies, which are essential to a garden’s wellbeing. Sweet peas will be keen to set seed, so it’s important to deadhead daily. Keep up with the water regime, and add a weekly plant feed.

Perennials

With heavy blooms and ever-growing stems, plants such as dahlias and gladioli will need staking. This extra support will not only prevent damage, but discourage ground pests from attacking low-lying plants.

Lavender

Stop lavender from becoming leggy by cutting into a compact shape, but don’t cut too far back as new flowers can’t grow on old wood. Use the cut flowers around the home. You could create lavender pouches to scent drawers or pillow cases, or use it in your baking.

Wisteria growing on the side of a manor houseWisteria

Ideally, you should prune wisteria twice a year. Once in late winter, and once in August. There’s been a lot of growth during the summer months, so cut these newly-formed long laterals back to the fifth set of leaves on each shoot, and tie-in where necessary. This restricts the growth, creates better ventilation, hardens the remaining summer growth, and encourages new flower buds for next year.

Hedges

Hedges can become unruly in summer, and now that the birds have fledged, it’s time to give them a prune. Whether you’re using shears or a hedge trimmer, think about how you want your hedge to look. Work from the bottom up in a smooth, controlled motion. Prune all sides and finish with the top. Wear protective clothing and use the correct height support if the hedge is high. Once completed, clear away all debris.

Pond

Remove any build-up of algae and weeds, placing it beside the pond overnight. This will give any captured wildlife the opportunity to return to the water. If you have water plants, now is the time to thin them. Clean the pumps and filters of any water features you may have. If you have fish, feed them regularly.

On the veg patch

Feed

You should be feeding your tomatoes weekly now to ensure a healthy, tasty crop, but tomato feed can also be used for cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, chillies and sweetcorn plants.

Fresh potatoes being dug up and harvested from the ground with a shovel

Potatoes

When the leaves on your main crop turn yellow and wither, it’s a sign your spuds are ready to be dug up. If you’re not going to eat them straight away, rest them on the topsoil for a few hours to dry the excess moisture, then place in hessian sacks. Ideally, the sacks should be stored somewhere with ventilation, where it’s cool, dark and pest-free. Check on them regularly to make sure none have spoilt.

Onions and shallots

With foliage bent over and turning yellow, onions and shallots are now ready for lifting. Once lifted, leave them on the surface of the soil for a few hours to dry in the sunshine. Then, shake off the excess soil from the roots, careful not to damage them, and place somewhere warm so they can dry out. After a week, or two, they should be ready for storing somewhere cool, dark and dry. Either tie them together and hang them up, or place them in onion bags. Both storage methods should prevent mould, but check regularly to make sure none have perished.

Beans

Whether it’s runner beans or French beans, the key is to pick them regularly. By doing so, you’re preventing them from setting seed. Ensure they are well watered, and that the base of the plant is well-mulched. Once the plant reaches the top of its staked cane, pinch out the top.

Pests and diseases

Cabbage white caterpillars on a brassica plant. Check your crops regularly, remove any eggs or pests you find and protect your brassicas with netting and collarsHeat, humidity, and occasional rainfall are the perfect conditions to encourage blight. Check both tomato and potato plants regularly. If you see any signs of the fungal infestation, remove plants altogether. If you catch it at an early stage with your potatoes, leave the tubers in the ground, as they may not be affected. Do not place infected plants on the compost heap. Instead, either burn immediately or remove from the site altogether. To reduce blight, encourage a crop rotation system, and try to use blight resistant varieties.

Cabbage White Butterflies will be eyeing up your brassicas to lay their eggs. Check your crops regularly, and remove any eggs or pests you find. Net your crops, use brassica collars when planting out, and introduce nematodes to control caterpillars.

Pick regularly

Courgettes, marrows and cucumbers will continue to produce so long as you pick regularly. Cut away excess foliage to help sunshine reach your crops and to prevent powdery mildew. Mildew can also be prevented by watering at the base of the plant rather than on the leaves.

Fruit

With gooseberries now harvested, it’s the perfect time to prune the plant. You want to create a ‘goblet’ shape to encourage as much ventilation as possible. Remove the inner branches of the plant, and reduce the rest of the plant to about six leaves per branch. This will encourage fresh shoots to grow.

Keep an eye on plum and apple trees that might be weighed down by fruit. If the tree appears to be stressed, support and tie-in where possible. If you’re growing grapes, ensure the growing vines are being tied-in regularly.

Summer raspberry canes should have now fruited. Cut back the fruit canes, and encourage fresh new canes by tying them onto a support.

SowA close up of a hand sowing beetroot seeds into the soil with the seeds on a plate. Sow beetroot in August for a late harvest.

Succession sow salad leaves and spring onions for a continuous crop, and beetroot, kohlrabi and pak choi can also be sown now for a late harvest.

Green manure

As your veg beds start to empty, consider sowing green manure if you’re not growing winter crops. Not only will it improve the quality of the soil, but it will help suppress weeds.

Other jobs

  • Although we’re at the height of summer, now’s the time to order your spring bulbs for autumn planting.
  • In hot spells water compost heaps and turnover.
  • If you’ve run your water butts dry, give them a clean, removing all dirt.
  • Towards the end of the month you may have to start closing greenhouse vents and doors in the evenings, as night-times can become cooler.

What To Do in the Garden in August

August 1st, 2016 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

hailstones20716

It seems summer finally arrived in July with some very warm days indeed. We were also rather fortunate because, while neighbouring villages experienced a major hailstorm in the middle of the month, which shredded young leaves from trees and left the ground with a strangely autumnal look, our trial ground escaped the battering. Both flowers and vegetables are looking well ahead of our annual open day for the gardening media in August. Brian and his team are working flat-out to ensure everything will be looking as good as it can for the journalists’ inspection of our plot. The trial is always a credit to Brian and his dedicated staff. His whole working life has been in horticulture, and we are fortunate to benefit from his huge experience and dedication.

Having said that, our trial ground is not primarily a showpiece or ‘shop window’ for our plants, but rather it is where we test new varieties to see how they cope with our conditions and check the trueness-to-type of those we already list. Our team of experts take a trials walk at least once a week at this time of year, and their comments and observations are logged for future reference. Nice work if you can get it!

FlowersLavender Hidcote Blue Seeds - What To Do in The Garden in August

Regular feeding of flowering plants, especially those in hanging baskets and other containers, certainly pays dividends. Never exceed the dose stated by the manufacturer and, if anything, use it at a slightly lower rate than suggested. This will give them a boost which, with regular dead-heading too, will keep plants blooming well into September and perhaps even beyond.

Plants that have dry roots are often more prone to attack from powdery mildew, so keep a look-out for any which start to wilt and give them a good watering or two to help revive them. Ensure rhododendrons and camellias are kept really well watered, as this will aid good flower bud formation next spring. If they become stressed, they may not show the signs now, but they will not flower as they should next year.

If your roses have blackspot on the foliage, clear all fallen leaves from the ground, as this will help to prevent the spread of the problem. Rambling roses can be pruned back once they have finished flowering. Stems which have flowered can be cut down to the base, while fresh green stems can be tied into the support framework. Hebes and lavenders can be trimmed back lightly, removing flower stems and about an inch of new growth.

Autumn-flowering colchicums, sometimes known as autumn croci and, rather more saucily, naked ladies, can be planted in August. Their large, goblet-like flowers open before the foliage appears. They do best planted in the sunniest spot in the garden, where they will flower reliably year after year. Colchicums should be planted shallowly, with the tip just below soil level. Summer-flowering Madonna lilies can also be planted this month, giving them plenty of time to develop ahead of next year’s display of colour.

 

Vegetables

Sweetcorn

Home-grown sweet corn is an absolute treat, especially when eaten within minutes of picking. To check whether a cob is ripe, wait for the silky ‘plume’ at the top to turn brown and then gently press a kernel with a fingernail. If a milky juice is exuded, the cob is ready for eating. Delicious!Cabbage Advantage F1 Seeds - What To Do in The Garden in August

Seed of spring cabbage can be sown in August for a crop of spring greens or hearted cabbages next year. Good old Offenham 2 Flower of Spring still takes some beating, producing tasty, firm conical heads next spring. We must also mention the superior Advantage F1, another British-bred strain with great vigour and disease-resistance. And if you like to be different, sow Spring Hero F1, which will, unusually for spring cabbage, produce spherical rather than conical hearts. It has a good texture and flavour too, so is not a gimmick!

Tomato feeds are not just good for tomatoes. Rich in potassium, they can also be used successfully on chillies and sweet peppers. This will help the plants to produce further flowers and more fruit for picking later in the summer. Many gardeners water their greenhouse tomatoes and peppers with a good drench in the morning; the plants dry out as the day goes on and this reduces the risk of fungal infections, which m
ay develop if they are watered in the evening and are then growing in a humid atmosphere through the night.

The vegetable garden is often at its most productive during August, hopefully with abundant crops of French and runner beans, courgettes, onions ready for lifting and drying, maincrop potatoes and so much more. Pick beans as young as you like, before they start producing seeds and slowing down. Both French and runner beans can be sliced, blanched in boiling water, chilled instantly in cold water, dried and frozen for future use. They will come out of the freezer almost as fresh and delicious as the day they were frozen.Get Growing PEPPER Sweet

Gently prise onion bulbs out of the ground with a fork, taking care not to damage them. Leave them on the soil for three or four days to ‘cure’ or the skins to set before storing them somewhere cool, dry, airy and frost-free for use in the months ahead.

Chives, another member of the Allium family, are one of the most useful and easy to grow of herbs, imparting that lovely, mild onion flavour and beautiful green colour to a host of savoury dishes. They can readily be grown from seed, but mature clumps of the herb can also be split and divided at this time of year, either to increase your own stock or to give away to friends. This process also helps the plants to remain vigorous. Water the clump well before gently lifting it with a fork, dividing into smaller sections and replanting or repotting at the same level as before. Chives can remain productive almost indefinitely Easy!