August is the month when fiery reds and purples, burnt oranges and glorious yellows illuminate our beds and borders with color. In the orchards and orchards, fruits and vegetables are collected, all to be enjoyed in delicious dishes.
So ‘make hay while the sun shines’ with 10 garden jobs you can be doing right now that will ensure your garden continues to thrive this month.
With abundant flowers and ever-growing stems, plants like dahlias and gladioli will need staking. This extra support will not only prevent damage, but also deter ground-dwelling pests from attacking lower plants.
2. dead head
Deadhead regularly to keep plants blooming through fall. Fresh flowers not only look good, they continue to feed bees, butterflies, and hoverflies, which are essential to the well-being of a garden. Sweet peas will be eager to go to seed, so it’s important to de-head them every day. Keep up with the water regimen and add a weekly plant food. For perennials that have finished blooming, cut back to ensure plants stay healthy and flower beds look tidy.
Once bloomed, prevent lavender from getting leggy by cutting it into a compact shape. However, don’t cut too far back as new flowers cannot grow on old wood. Use cut flowers around the home, creating lavender sachets to scent drawers or pillowcases. Lavender can also be used in baking.
Hedges can get unruly in summer, and now that the birds have flown, it’s time to give them a prune. Whether you’re using a pair of hand shears or a hedge trimmer, think about how you want your hedge to look. Work from bottom to top in a smooth, controlled motion. Prune all the sides and finish with the top. Wear protective clothing and if the hedge is tall, use the correct height support. Once complete, clean up all the debris.
Ideally, prune wisteria twice a year. Once in late winter and once in August. There has been a lot of growth during the summer months, so cut these newly formed long laterals down to the fifth set of leaves on each shoot and tie off where needed. This restricts growth, creates better ventilation, hardens off any remaining growth from the summer, and encourages new flower buds for the next year.
Now that the gooseberries have been harvested, pruning should be done to ensure the plant remains healthy. By creating a ‘cup’ shape, this will allow as much ventilation as possible to circulate throughout the plant. Remove the inner branches of the plant and cut back the rest of the plant to about six leaves per branch. This will encourage the growth of new shoots.
The summer raspberries should have finished fruiting by now. Therefore, cut off fruit canes that once bore fruit, which will now look brown, as this will encourage the growth of new canes. You may need to cut more canes to ensure good ventilation; the ideal is that the poles are separated by 20 cm. With the remaining canes, tie them to the horizontal wire support.
Courgettes, marrows and beans will continue to be produced as long as you harvest them regularly. Cut off excess foliage to help prevent powdery mildew and ensure sunlight reaches all growing vegetables. Mildew can also be prevented by watering the base of the plant instead of the leaves. For a late harvest, consider planting beets, pak choi, and kohl rabi.
8. Pests and diseases
Cabbage white butterflies will be watching your brassicas to lay their eggs. Check your crops regularly and remove any eggs or pests you find. Net your crops and wear brassica collars when planting, this will help reduce the chances of pests.
Heat, humidity and rain can cause the appearance of pests in potatoes and tomatoes. If you see any signs of fungal infestation, remove affected plants from the site or burn them. If you get potato blight early, remove affected foliage but leave tubers in the ground, as they may not be affected. To reduce blight, encourage a crop rotation system and try to use blight-resistant varieties.
Remove any buildup of algae and weeds by placing it by the pond overnight. This will give any captured wildlife a chance to return to the water. If you have aquatic plants, now is the time to thin them out. Clean the pumps and filters of any water sources you may have. If you have fish, feed them regularly.
If you’re going on a trip, be sure to make plans to keep your garden from drying out. Ask a neighbor to stop by once every few days to water and check on your garden. If you have pots and containers, group them all under a little shade, to facilitate watering. Keep greenhouses ventilated and, if necessary, create shade to prevent certain plants from burning.
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