Despite this being the time when things are seemingly coming to the end, as the most popular gardening period draws to a close, there’s plenty to do while the weather remains warm and in preparation for the colder spells to come.
The fruits (and vegetables or flowers) of the labour put in over spring and early summer will be taking its final form now, ready for harvesting or to showcase its final bloom. With that, comes more work that needs to be done. Whether it’s harvesting, sowing for the seasons ahead or general tidying up. Now is the time to prioritise tasks that will kick-start an autumn/winter-ready garden. Therefore, August should still be a busy month for gardeners. After all, it’s not called the ‘month of plenty’ for nothing! That’s why we have collated some useful gardening tips to help you along the way…
Maintaining the Garden
Plants that have substantially grown but aren’t quite ready for harvest will need to be maintained if you plant to go on holiday in August, especially while it’s still hot and the weather is susceptible to dry periods. We recommend you consider a plant self-watering method that such as wine bottle watering that will keep your plants nicely hydrated while you’re away.
Compost heaps are prone to drying up when the weather is warm and there’s a lack of rain. If you want your compostable waste to continue to break down into a quality material, make sure to occasionally water the compost heap and rotate it with a fork to allow equal exposure to the centre and aeration.
Towards the end of the month, gardeners should start thinking about pruning fruit trees such as apples and pears to promote the growth of new fruits in time for the next season.
Plants to Sow
If you feel like you’ve had a rushed summer gardening season this year, there’s plenty to sow in August to keep your growing throughout autumn/winter and harvesting in time for next spring! That’s both flowers and vegetables, whether you’re hoping to grow more to eat or want to have an endlessly blooming display in your garden, we have got some suggestions for flowers and vegetables to sow.
- Spring onions, as their name suggests, are the perfect vegetable to sow right now to have crops ready in time for next spring! They can be sown directly into the soil but be sure they have enough space to grow. An ideal guide would be to sow them in rows 10cm in distance apart and 1cm deep.
- August is your final chance in the year to sow perpetual spinach if you’re hoping to get some harvested over autumn and winter.
- For those of you wanting a speedier harvest, summer radish cultivars are a good option to sow this month. Direct sowing will provide you with an autumn crop, or alternatively, you can try a winter variety.
- Viola flowers are a cool weather flower, so planting these in late August is perfect because they will love the sunshine and the gradually cooling down temperatures! As they grow over winter and give your garden splashes of pink, blue and magenta, they’ll still be blooming in spring to add to your salad harvests because they’re also edible!
- Try sowing poppies now to provide earlier flowers next year
August Harvesting – “The Month of Plenty”
Of course, this isn’t all you can harvest in August, this is just a shortlist some popular crops that most people may have grown. With this in mind, here are’s a quick guide on how to make the most of these August harvests.
- Peas: Peas are best when they’re picked young and tender.
- Cabbages: As soon as cabbage heads are solid and dense, they are ready for harvesting.
- Cucumbers: Be cautious of overripening cucumbers still on the plant, they can potentially delay the production of new fruit.
- Chillies/Peppers: As many things go, the riper a pepper is, the sweeter it becomes. When it comes to Chillies, this applies to the spice/heat, so be aware!
- Sweetcorn: Be prepared to harvest your sweetcorn once they silks turn brown!