The heady days of August are upon us, and our gardens are looking glorious. Here’s to lazy deck chair days and barbecues with friends. But don’t forget to complete a few of our gardening jobs for August to keep your garden in tip-top shape through the last few summer weeks.
If the weather is warm and dry, then watering will still be a top priority this month. Water pots and baskets daily or twice daily in hot spells and give them a liquid feed every two weeks, too. Don’t forget to top up ponds and birdbaths, as well. You should water evergreen shrubs such as camellias and rhododendrons throughout the month to ensure healthy buds and flowers next year.
Tall perennials and bulbs may need some support to stop them from blowing over or toppling after heavy rain. Plants that may need support include Dahlias, Asters, Helianthus, Rudbeckia and Echinacea. You can use garden canes and twine to create supports for these plants, or there are a range of supports available in garden centres.
To keep your flowers looking their best, and to ensure plenty of blooms next year it’s a good idea to keep up with deadheading and cutting back.
Deadhead annuals and perennials to keep them flowering into autumn. You can also cut back any perennials that have faded to keep the borders and beds looking tidy. You should also remove any hardy annuals once they have finished flowering if you don’t want them to self-seed. Now is the perfect time to collect seeds from plants such as aquilegia and poppies if you want to sow them again next year.
If shrubs need cutting back to keep their shape, then you should generally do this after flowering to give them time to make new shoots and buds for next year. Trim back hardy herbs such as lavender and rosemary now to keep them from becoming too woody. You can also cut back herbs such as basil and thyme to get a new flush of tender leaves.
Again, the main job in the fruit and veg gardens will be watering to keep your crops healthy and productive. You should also feed plants such as peppers, cucumbers and aubergines as they will be making their fruits. Continue to feed tomatoes and pinch out the tips of outdoor growing plants, as new fruits won't have time to ripen now.
You will hopefully have carrots and beetroot to harvest as well as second early potatoes which are lovely for salads. Main crop potatoes will be ready to harvest once the leaves die back. Onions, shallots and garlic can be lifted once the leaves have yellowed and flopped over too. Brush off excess soil, leave them in the sun to dry, then store them in a cool, dark place to prevent them from becoming mouldy.
Fruit trees should be producing their crops now so harvest cherries and plums. Early apples will be ready by the end of the month, too.
Autumn raspberries, loganberries and blackberries should be beginning to fruit now, as well.
You can also pot up or plant well-rooted strawberry runners now for extra plants next year.
Now is also the time to plant winter crops such as cabbage, cauliflower and kale. You can also plant spinach, lettuce and oriental leaves for autumn and winter salads.
You don’t want all your hard work to be undone by pests and diseases so keep an eye on your plants to make sure they are healthy. Don’t forget to check the undersides of leaves.
Powdery mildew can be a problem at this time of year. You will easily recognize it as leaves will be covered with a whitish-grey powdery mould. Remove any disease parts and spray the plant with a fungicide to prevent it from spreading.
If plants are badly affected by greenfly or blackfly, simply rub them off. Ladybirds and other insects will usually help you keep these aphids at bay, though, so it’s best to avoid spraying them.
Keep on top of weeds throughout the month so they do not take light, water and nutrients from your crops and blooms. You may want to give hedges a trim before they stop growing to keep them neat over winter. Cut laurel now so it can grow some new leaves before the end of the season to hide the tatty brown edges cause by using a hedge trimmer.
Get rid of weeds in paths, drives and patios with a liquid weed killer. For small areas just pour boiling water over the weeds and they will wilt and die.
Hopefully, the sun will shine on us, and we will get to enjoy our summer gardens this August. Make time to relax with a book or a glass of wine and enjoy your beautiful garden.
Last but not least, don’t forget to ask a neighbour to water your pots and containers if you are going away this summer!
Enjoy your August in the garden!!
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