Keep your plot fresh this month
Here we are in August – where has this summer gone?! We’ve had some beautiful weather, coupled with (certainly up north) some decidedly more miserable days, but I remain hopeful for some more glorious sunshine this month! August is really the last true month of summer, and the combination of rains and sunshine ensures plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables are at their best right now.
There’ll be plenty of delicious fruits and veg to harvest, which means satisfying home-produced meals or puds, and there’s also some preparation that’s needed for the coming colder months.
Here’s what you’ll need to do in your garden in August:
- Keep up with pruning plants like roses, Wisteria and summer flowering shrubs.
- Water containers, vegetable beds and flowers as needed – every day in warm weather. Collect rainwater in a butt to make the most of the showers!
- Get on with harvesting vegetables like sweetcorn, beetroot, carrots, French beans, runner beans, courgettes and aubergines. Vegetables can turn very quickly and become past their best, so make sure you’re keeping an eye out for new harvest every day.
- Plant up quick-growing veg like salad leaves and radishes for some quick-win summer salads.
- Help out the birds by keeping bird baths full, clean and free of algae. They’ll appreciate it!
- Trim lavender bushes after they’ve finished flowering to keep them shapely.
- Enlist the help of a neighbour or friend if you’re going away for a summer break. Don’t waste your hard work planting up in the garden! If you’re lucky enough to have a great friend or neighbour, ask them to water your garden and harvest anything that’s ready in exchange for some delicious home grown produce.
- Keep things cool in your greenhouse by ‘damping down’. If it’s a particularly hot day, hose down the floor of your greenhouse. The water will evaporate and cool the atmosphere in there, whilst upping humidity and keeping pesky red spider mites under control.
- Keep on harvesting berries while you still can. If you’re lucky enough to have had gluts of raspberries, blackberries etc, freeze them on oven trays then bag them up for use over winter.
- Feed container berry plants with a high potash liquid feed.
- Protect your berries by hanging CDs from the protective netting – they flash in the light and deter birds.
- Tree fruits are ready to go! This month you can enjoy the fruits of your cherry, plum, peach, nectarine and apricot trees. By the end of the month, apple trees should be ripe for picking too.
- Prepare your raspberry and blackcurrant plants for next year by cutting back the fruited stems after harvesting the last of your fruits. Take the new green stems of your raspberry plant and tie them into support wires ready for next year.
- Have a garden photoshoot to help you remember what’s what if you intend to redesign your garden over the winter. Take some pics all around your plot as a reference point on what was placed where, and what worked and didn’t work – that way you’re not starting from scratch next summer.
- Stock up on seeds for next year this month, and have a think about what you’d like to do in your garden next summer.
But most importantly of all, enjoy your garden! Think about some outdoor lighting for lazy summer evenings (I’ve done a helpful blog here), add those home grown strawberries and cucumbers to a big jug of Pimms, and invite your nearest and dearest over for a barbecue or evening outdoors while the weather lasts! You’ve earned it.