Gardening jobs for August
By August the fruit is ripening and the crops from the veg plot are coming home in abundance. The borders are bursting, the evenings are long and the weather is mild – it’s the perfect time to be enjoying the garden at its fullest. Here are some gardening jobs for August to keep your garden looking its best.
Gardening jobs in the veg garden
By August, the veg plot is starting to hit its peak of productivity. You may need to visit a couple of times a week just to keep up. Regularly picking French and runner beans will ensure they keep producing a succession of flowers and you can keep harvesting them long into the Autumn. They can be blanched frozen for using later, or if you’ve had enough for the year, you could just leave them until they are dry so they can be stored through winter.
Courgettes are another crop that will keep on giving. Within a few days a perfectly-formed courgette will quickly become a marrow so keep picking them, even if you have run out of recipes. You can give them to your friends and neighbours, and once they become sick of them you could take them to a local food bank or simply put them in the box by the street and let people help themselves.
Prune cherries and plums
Cherries normally ripen in July, and plums shortly after. Once you have harvested your crop it can be a good time to look at any pruning they may need. Pruning should be done during the summer so the wounds can heal before the winter. Pruning plums or cherries in the winter will leave them vulnerable to silver-leaf disease, which can quickly kill the tree. It is almost impossible to restrict to size of a plum tree by pruning. Their size is mainly dictated by the rootstock they are grown on. Try not to focus on the outer growth, but prune from the centre of the tree to remove dead, diseased or damaged wood and create an open canopy.
Gardening jobs: Ornamentals
Even in good quality soils, annual plants will appreciate a dose of liquid feed once or twice a week to keep them growing strongly. Keeping them deadheaded will stop them putting energy into making seed and keep the display going for longer too.
Trim yew hedges
Traditionally, you should trim yew hedges in late summer. They will sprout into growth in spring and it can be tempting to start cutting them as soon as they start to look a bit woolly. Leaving them to put on a bit of growth and allowing it to harden off before cutting will make for a stronger and neater hedge. Cutting too early will often mean trimming again later in the year, weakening the plants and leaving them prone to pest and disease problems
The soft, vigorous growth on plants like lavender, salvias, fuchsia and coleus is great for taking softwood cuttings to make new plants. The tips of new shoots are often the best material. Strip off a few of the lower leaves and plant them in a good quality compost with at least one leaf node below the surface. Keep them in a warm humid atmosphere and they should start to root in a few weeks.
Gardening jobs for the lawn
Summer is the traditional time for cutting meadows. By the time the summer has heated up the majority of the wildflowers and grasses will have finished flowering and be setting seed. Meadows cut for hay are done in early summer so the grass can be dried enough to store for feed. If you want wildflowers and insects its best to leave it a bit later to cut so the flowers can set seed and insects lay their larvae. You can even leave a few areas that are only cut every few years as a bit of a refuge.
Apply liquid feed if needed
After the heat of summer the lawn can start to look tired. It is a bad idea to use granular feeds during the summer unless a good downpour is predicted. This is because they can easily scorch the grass and it will take a while to recover. If you need to feed the lawn to help it green up again it is best to use a liquid feed.
Gardening jobs in the Greenhouse
Harvest tomatoes and cucumbers
The greenhouse starts to provide its bounty in the late summer. Tomatoes will be starting to ripen and cucumbers should be swelling. Regular picking will ensure the plants can focus their energy on producing even more crops.
Gardening jobs: Pests and diseases
Some clematis seem to be prone to a disease called clematis wilt. One minute they will appear fine, then another they will quickly deteriorate and appear wilted. It is thought to be a symptom of a fungal infection that blocks the vascular tissue, but unfortunately little is still know about how and why it becomes a problem. It isn’t the end of the world. Whilst the top of the plant will die off, if you just cut back to where the wilt occurred the plants will often recover of their own accord.