As summer reaches its peak, our gardens are bustling with life and vibrant colors. August is a critical time to care for your plants, ensuring they continue to flourish and reward you with a bountiful harvest. Whether you have a vegetable garden, fruit garden, or simply enjoy tending to your flower beds, there are plenty of tasks to keep you busy this month. Let's dive into the essential August gardening chores!
- Tomatoes: Safeguard your tomato plants by removing lower level leaves to reduce the risk of disease. Aim to leave 5-6 trusses of fruit per plant for optimal growth.
- Sweetcorn: Water and feed sweetcorn with Ecoworm Soil Extract regularly. Harvest sweetcorn when the silky tassels turn brown, but don't wait until they wither up, or the taste may diminish.
- Perennial Herbs: Prune herbs like oregano and thyme to encourage new growth before winter sets in. Dry or freeze excess herbs to use later in the kitchen.
- Parsley and Endive: Thin parsley and start blanching endive to make it less bitter and more enjoyable for autumn meals.
- Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, and Aubergine: Feed these plants with Ecoworm Soil Extract, which is high in potassium, to support healthy fruit development.
- Squash and Runner Beans: Pinch out the tips of aubergines once they have 5-6 fruits and keep only 3 fruits on squash plants for optimal growth.
- Carrots, Lettuce, and Beetroot: Keep harvesting these crops regularly to promote new growth.
- Potatoes: Continue harvesting second early potatoes and start harvesting maincrop potatoes once the leaves yellow and die back.
- Fruiting Plants in Containers: Feed them with Ecoworm Soil Extract, rich in potassium, to keep them productive.
- Strawberries: Plant out rooted runners for a bountiful crop next year.
- Fruit Trees: Harvest early apple varieties towards the end of the month and continue training and summer pruning fruit trees against walls.
- Raspberries, Blackberries, Loganberries: Freeze excess berries for later use and protect them from birds and squirrels with netting.
- Gooseberries and Blackcurrants: Finish summer pruning gooseberries and prune blackcurrant bushes after harvesting.
- Mowing and Watering: Continue regular mowing and watering of the lawn, adjusting based on weather conditions.
- New Lawns: Clear weeds from newly sown lawns and prepare areas for sowing or turfing next month for an autumn lawn.
Trees & Shrubs
- Final Trim for Hedges: Give your hedges a final trim before they stop growing for the year. This will help maintain their shape and appearance throughout the upcoming season.
- Semi-Ripe Cuttings for New Growth: Take semi-ripe cuttings of certain shrubs such as hydrangea, evergreen ceanothus, cornus, buddleia, philadelphus, deutzia, and berberis. Pot them up individually to avoid root disturbance later. Keep the pots outdoors in a lightly shaded cold frame, remembering to water the compost occasionally. By late next spring, these cuttings should be ready to plant out in their permanent growing spots.
- Training Standard Fuchsias: If you have standard fuchsias in your garden, now is the time to start training them. Carefully prune and shape the plants to maintain their desired form.
- Continued Deadheading of Roses: Keep deadheading roses to prolong their flowering season. Removing spent blooms encourages new growth and more blossoms. Additionally, be sure to spray the roses to protect them against common issues like black spot and mildew.
- Potpourri from Lavender: As lavender blooms begin to fade, deadhead the flowers and collect the heads for making potpourri. Drying and preserving the lavender flowers will give you lovely fragrances to enjoy around the house.
- Propagation of Camellias: Take semi-ripe cuttings and leaf bud cuttings of camellias to propagate new plants. With proper care, these cuttings can grow into beautiful camellia shrubs.
- Water and Feed Patio Container Plants: Keep your patio container plants well-watered, especially during hot and dry spells. To promote healthy growth, feed them with Ecoworm Soil Extract every two weeks.
- Stake Tall Plants and Large-Flowered Dahlias: Support tall plants and large-flowered dahlias with sturdy stakes. Even without strong winds, the weight of the flowers can cause stems to snap, especially during rainy periods.
- Thoroughly Water Camellias and Rhododendrons: Ensure camellias and rhododendrons receive ample water this month to support the development of next year's buds.
- Trap Earwigs: Watch out for earwigs, especially among dahlias, as they can eat young shoots and leaves at night. Delphiniums and asters are also at risk, so take preventive measures to protect your plants.
- Sow Butterfly Flower (Schizanthus) and Stocks: To enjoy a lovely greenhouse display next spring, sow butterfly flowers and stocks now.
- Plant Madonna Lilies, Tender Cyclamen, and Arum Lily: Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil to plant Madonna lilies, tender cyclamen, and arum lilies. These plants begin growing new roots and leaves from late August, so now is the ideal time to plant them shallowly under 5cm of soil.
- Dead-Head Bedding Plants and Perennials: Encourage autumn flowering and prevent self-seeding by dead-heading bedding plants and perennials.
- Cut Back Penstemon Flowers: To promote more flowers, cut back penstemon flowers as they fade, leaving just above a leaf.
- Start Growing Tender Cyclamen: If you haven't started yet, now is the time to grow tender cyclamen to enjoy their beauty in your garden.
- Collect Ripened Seeds: Store ripened seeds for the next year's planting. Leaving some seed heads in place allows plants to self-seed in the surrounding soil.
- Pot Up House-Plant Seedlings: Pot up seedlings of house plants for future indoor displays.
- Mow Wildflower Meadows: To help scatter seeds for next year's meadow, mow wildflower areas now.
- Take Pelargonium Cuttings: Propagate new pelargonium plants by taking cuttings.
- Cut Flowers for Display and Drying: Enjoy indoor displays and dried arrangements by cutting some of your beautiful flowers.
Remember, August is a vibrant month in the garden, full of life and possibilities. By tending to these tasks, you'll ensure your garden continues to thrive well into the autumn, giving you months of enjoyment and satisfaction. Happy gardening!