Now is the time to enjoy the results of all your hard work throughout the year. During August, your garden will be alive with colour, heady with the scent of flowers and abundant with fruit and vegetables. Take some time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve created this month.
Of course, a gardener’s work is never done, and there’s still a lot to do during August, namely keeping on top of the watering (use grey water where you can) and weeding. Try to manage the weeding by doing little and often. It’s an onerous task, but a vital one, which ensures your vegetables, pots and container plants aren’t choked to death by weeds that have spiraled out of control. A Dutch hoe is the best and easiest way to weed, as it cuts them just below the surface.
If you have planted fruit and vegetables, this is the month of lush abundance, so make the most of it! Not all of us can grow fruit and veg worthy of a ‘Best in Show’ rosette, but we can certainly enjoy the satisfaction of gathering and harvesting what we have grown – even if the courgettes are a little misshapen!
Pick vegetables when they are young. In doing so you will avoid the coarser texture and flavour that you will get by leaving them to mature. Courgettes, for example, respond well to harvesting by producing yet more flowers and fruit right into the Autumn. Onions, shallots and garlic can be harvested now – dig them up when their necks collapse and turn brown and papery. Sweetcorn, too, can be picked when the tassels begin to go brown. Allow light and air to get to your crop of tomatoes – ‘stop’ them by removing side shoots and lower leaves.
If you have managed to grow fruit in your garden this summer (and the birds haven’t had them) now is the time to harvest blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, tayberries and apricots. You will be able to tell when they are ripe, as they will come off with an easy twist.
There’s still time…
Did you miss the opportunity to plant out fruit and veg earlier this year? Don’t worry, you can still plant quick maturing crops such as lettuce, sorrel and rocket. This is the last month you’ll be able to sow salads outside, so do it while you can.