August In The Garden
August is Summer and Holiday Time the weather is usually conducive to outdoor living so this year especially with the Coronavirus Pandemic let’s stay home, relax, potter, barbeque, entertain within your bubble but most of all enjoy your garden.
This month the summer bedding plants, if you were lucky enough to either have grown some from seed or bought from the limited stock at the Garden Centre, are at their best. Keep watering them regularly and feed once a week with a liquid plant food to keep them going well into autumn.
Hardy annual flower seeds can be sown this month for early colour in the borders next year. I scatter the seeds in patches but always mark these areas in case I accidently disturb them when weeding. Some varieties to try are Calendula Oopsy Daisy, Forget Me Not Indigo and Digitalis Firebird can all be grown in sun or part shade while Cornflower Classic Romantic, Nasturtium Orchid Cream and Poppy Victoria Cross love a sunny place. When the seeds have germinated thin to the distance recommended on the packet for the maximum success.
Prune Wisteria to three buds on all extension growth and feed with superphosphate. Lightly trim Hebes and Lavender after flowering and remove the dead flowers from Roses to promote more flowers. Cut back Perennials that have finished flowering but feed and keep watering to promote new growth. Rhododendrons, Azalea and Camellias set the flowering buds now for next spring so keep watered and fed with ericaceous feed. Hydrangeas should be watered every three days whether in pots or the border.
Spray Dahlias to prevent earwigs damaging the flowers and keep cutting bunches for indoor displays. Also watch for holes in the leaves of evergreens or a sudden plant collapse which could be Vine Weevil. Treat with Provado or Organic Control. Hang up Wasp Traps to deter unwanted guests at outdoor mealtimes.
Prune trained fruit trees. Please ask Terence at the Garden Centre for detailed advice.
Pick the summer fruits as they ripen and make jam or freeze any excess or trade with a neighbour. Raspberries, Blackcurrants, Redcurrants, Blackberries, Loganberries and Gooseberries can be pruned immediately after harvest. Cut Strawberry plants back to ground level and pot up any runners to replace old plants or increase your stock. Can’t have too many Strawberries!!!!! Keep picking Blueberries a very worthwhile fruit to grow even in a tub.
Protect carrots from Carrot Root Fly by covering the plants with pest control fabric which prevents the fly laying its eggs at the top of the carrot. The larvae cause the damage. Feed cauliflowers cabbage and broccoli with Growmore or Organic Chicken Manure for strong healthy plants and spray to control white fly and caterpillars. Keep harvesting the vegetables when young and full of flavour and freeze any excess. Courgettes will produce large crops if you harvest regularly when they are banana size, an excellent vegetable to barbeque or use in Ratatouille which freezes well. Water Tomatoes often to avoid blossom end rot (black at the bottom of the fruit) and continue feeding weekly. Cut and freeze or dry herbs and sow the last batch of Parsley, Basil and Coriander. August is the last chance to sow salad crop seeds outdoors. Also sow Pak Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Turnips, Spring Cabbage, Winter Spinach, Swiss Chard and Autumn Onion Sets. Try some potatoes in a planter to have new potatoes with lunch on Boxing Day. Water all vegetables well especially Runner Beans and hoe weeds which compete for water.
Finally keep the pond topped up with water. If you have fish aerate the water in hot weather. Ask Keith at the Garden Centre for further advice.