For those who wish to make the most of their gardens, the month of August should not be left to go to waste. August is a busy month for keen vegetable growers. Fruit and vegetables should be found in plentiful supply in the garden and harvesting should take up the majority of the time spent outdoors. For gardens in which flowers are in abundance, forward planning is the main order of the month, with the sowing of summer-flowering plants a necessity.
The Vegetable Patch
August is a time for vegetable picking and the majority of gardeners will have a selection of vegetables from which they can choose. From runner beans and onions to potatoes, cucumbers and peas, August is the ideal month for enjoying fresh vegetables from the garden.
For those growing sweetcorn, it is necessary to give the plant a shake once the flowers have opened at the top. This will release any pollen and facilitate pollination.
Vegetables should be kept well watered during August. For gardeners who plan to take a holiday during August, it will be necessary to recruit the help of a neighbour to water the vegetables a few times a week.
August is a time to be vigilant and lookout for pests. Vegetables that are lacking in water are more vulnerable to the effects of pests. Gardeners should check their brassicas regularly and remove any butterfly eggs and caterpillars. If left, they will eat through the plants.
Once vegetables have been harvested, any plant debris should be removed from the soil to prevent the accumulation of pests. However, gardeners should refrain from being too hasty when tidying up their gardens as crops such as French beans often offer a second, smaller harvest.
The Fruit Garden
Once summer fruiting raspberries have ceased cropping, the canes that have fruited must be cut down to the level of the soil. Any debris, such as old leaves, should be removed from the strawberry bed. Gardeners with autumn fruiting raspberries should support them to prevent them from suffering from wind damage.
To benefit from the best strawberry crop, it is necessary to replace strawberry plants at least every four years. August is the ideal time to plant strawberry plants for next year.
Immediately following harvest, plum, apricot, peach, cherry and nectarine trees should be pruned. If wasps are a problem around fruit trees, wasp traps should be hung near to the branches.
Grapes should be thinned out by removing a quarter of grapes on each bunch. This enables the remaining grapes to grow larger and ripen with greater ease.
Other Gardening Jobs
Warm August days can make the temperature in the greenhouse hard to bear. The vents and doors of a greenhouse should be opened to allow air to flow in. If plants are wilting inside of the greenhouse, shade netting should be used.
It is essential for gardeners to keep their birdbaths topped up with clean weather, particularly when the weather is dry. Birds depend on this water for drinking and bathing.
Written by Sam Luther, an experienced gardening blogger and passionate gardener