August means holidays, and long summer days lounging in the sun. As the early summer blooms fade, there’s a natural pause in the flower garden before the glowing colours of late summer and autumn appear. In the vegetable garden, on the other hand, things are humming, with fruit and veg ripening everywhere you look. Here are our top tips on what to do in the garden in August.
Getting the best from your fruit and veg
Pinch out the growing tips of cordon tomatoes, runner beans and squash plants to encourage bushy growth and plump, tasty veg. Cut back herbs like thyme, mint and basil to give you a flush of delicious new leaves, and tidy up strawberry plants, pegging down runners so that they grow into new plants for next spring.
Feed citrus plants weekly with citrus feed, and give container-grown fruit and veg such as tomatoes, peppers and blueberries a fortnightly high-potash feed to help fruit production.
If you’re netting fruit to protect it from birds, remember to keep the netting taut so there’s less chance of the birds getting tangled in it, and check it at least twice a day.
What to harvest in August
It’s time to start harvesting maincrop potatoes, lifting them carefully with a border fork. Once the leaves of onions, shallots and garlic start to turn yellow, it’s time to lift them as well, leaving them somewhere warm for a few days to dry out before storing.
Tomatoes, French beans, runner beans, courgettes, apples, plums and cherries are all starting to ripen now, so get out there and pick them, especially the beans and courgettes as this will stimulate the plants to produce more.
August gardening jobs
Here are our top ten jobs for you to do in the garden in August
- Keep weeding
- Water container-grown fruit and vegetables daily in hot weather
- Water rhododendrons and camellias regularly this month, as they’re developing next year’s flower buds now.
- Support tall plants like dahlias and asters with canes to get the full benefit of their gorgeous blooms.
- Deadhead summer bedding to prolong the flowering period, and cut back faded perennials like hardy geraniums.
- Prune the long whippy growth on wisteria back to about 20cm from the base of the shoots.
- Cut lavender back lightly once the flowers are over, to stop it getting leggy.
- Trim hedges to keep them looking neat.
- If the weather is hot and dry, cut your lawn on a higher blade setting.
Finally, it’s never too early to think about next year’s garden. Spring bulbs will be in the garden centres soon, so start planning your planting now.
And don’t forget, if your borders are looking a little tired, come on into our garden centre for lots of help and advice on what to plant for gorgeous late summer colour.