You never know what the great British weather will bring so our gardens may need extra attention to get the best from your planting and growing earlier in the year. August is the month when flowers are at their best and sunshine and outdoor fun is the tonic we all love!

What to do in the garden in August

Vegetables: August is a great month to reap the benefits of all those vegetable seeds you planted in the Spring. As well as harvesting veggies for tasty meals, here’s a few other things to do:

  • Feed tomato plants weekly with liquid plant food and remove lower leaves to encourage growth
  • Cut back herbs to encourage new growth and dry or freeze for later use
  • Start harvesting carrots and beetroot planted in the Spring

Main crop potatoes can also be harvested – store them in sacks or paper bags out of the light
Pick runner beans as soon as they’re a decent size so they don’t get stringy

  • There are some veggies you can still plant this month:
  • August is the last month to sow Spring cabbages outside
  • Keep sowing salad leaf seeds for a continuous supply
  • Fast-growing radish can be sown up to the end of August

Flowers: August gardens are typically full of dazzling displays of colour and provide that much-needed space to relax with family and friends. To keep the colourful blooms going here’s a few ideas for what plant seeds to sow now:

  • Hardy annuals such as marigolds, cornflowers and poppies can be sown at the end of this month for early colour next year (cover with a cloche or fleece if winter is severe)
  • For colour in the cooler months sow winter-flowering pansies now
  • Get a gorgeous early Spring display of colour by sowing Viola this month

With a little bit of effort here and there you can also keep on top of the flowers that are blooming in the garden right now:

  • Keep camellias and rhododendrons thoroughly watered this month to help next year’s buds develop
  • Use liquid plant food to keep flowers and plants healthy
  • Dead head bedding plants and perennials to encourage further blooms
  • Trim lavender plants after they’ve flowered to keep them tidy
  • Tie back long rose shoots to prevent weather damage

Watering

In this country the weather can be unpredictable to say the least! In August we can get the heaviest of downpours and then ten minutes later it’s boiling hot and the ground is dry. So, how do you keep the garden looking good with this topsy-turvy weather? Make sure that your plants and flowers don’t dry out in the heat by watering them regularly. If you water plants when the sun has gone off them in the evening or in the early morning the roots will retain more moisture.

Using rainwater is a definite environmental win for gardeners and is easy to do with a water butt. Collecting water this way also means you’ll have something to water the garden with even if there’s a hosepipe ban! You can use grey water too but be careful! This waste water from your washing-up, shower and bath can be useful for short-term watering of non-edible plants especially during a summer drought.

We often find ourselves with a parched, sad-looking lawn after dry weather, and you’ve probably found yourself wondering if it will ever come back to life. The good news is that most grass is very hardy and will start to turn back to its former glory as soon as we start getting some regular rain again. If you want to keep your green lawn, there’s nothing for it but to keep it hydrated before it starts to show excessive signs of stress – but you must always check before switching on your hose pipe for any restrictions that may be in place in your area. Be sure to follow these tips for the most effective way to look after your lawn in a heatwave:

  • Raise the height of your lawn mower to avoid weakening the grass.
  • Leave grass cuttings on the lawn to act as a mulch to keep any moisture in the soil
  • Don’t water lawns any more than every 7 – 10 days, and only when the soil is dried out
  • If the ground is hard, aerate the soil before watering so more water can get down to the roots.
  • Remember it will be green again when the rain comes back!

 

August checklist

Fruit and veg

  • Continue sowing leafy salad crops
  • Take cuttings of woody herbs to grow new plants from
  • Plant/separate rooted strawberry runners
  • Water veg daily if needed
  • Keep on top of weeds by hoeing them out
  • Turn compost in a compost bin once a month to aerate it and speed up the process

Ornamental

  • Take cuttings from tender perennials
  • Trim lavender by up to two thirds in the second half of the month
  • Feed ericaceous shrubs like Rhododendron, Camellia, Azalea and summer-flowering heathers
  • Prune rambling roses after flowering
  • Keep containers well-watered and feed fortnightly

Lawn

  • Raise blades when trimming the lawn
  • Give it a soak during hot, dry spells no more than once a week

how’s it growing?

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