August isn’t the time to take your eye off the ball in the garden. August is typically one of the hottest months of the year which makes watering almost essential for the next 31 days. However, so far, this has not been the case.
While many of us may be going away this month too, automatic watering or enlisting the help of friends and neighbours may be required.
- In August, often the hottest month, watering becomes crucial. Consider automatic watering or seek help if you’re away.
- Water evergreen shrubs like camellias and rhododendrons thoroughly for good bud development next year.
- Protect blackberries and autumn raspberries from birds with netting or fleece.
- Lift and sun-dry onions and shallots when their tops die down.
- Prune grapevine leaves to let the sun ripen the fruits.
- Raise lawn mower blades during dry weather, allowing grass to grow longer, stay greener, and retain moisture.
- Mulch border plants to retain soil moisture during dry weather.
- Prune climbing and rambling roses post-flowering (unless they’re repeat-flowerers).
- Patio container plants need daily soaking in sunny weather and weekly tomato feed by month’s end.
- Regularly top up ponds and bird baths.
- Water fruit and veg plants early in the morning and late evening to minimise evaporation.
- Prune summer flowering shrubs, such as climbing hydrangeas post-blooming.
- Weed regularly to prevent competition with your crops.
- Fertilise patio container plants every fortnight with a liquid feed.
- As Penstemon flowers fade, cut them back to promote more blooms.
- Collect ripened seeds for next year but leave some seed heads for self-seeding.
- Take cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, sage or mint; divide established chives.
- Prop up tall border plants starting to flop, and collect seeds as they ripen.
- Plant autumn bulbs and well-rooted strawberry runners.
- Prune free-standing and trained apple trees, and pinch out the tops of outdoor tomatoes.
- Harvest fresh herbs for freezing or drying.
- Water crops regularly, using water from a water butt where possible.
- August is an excellent time to plant blueberry bushes.
- Lightly trim lavenders past their prime, and more thoroughly in early spring.
- Remove large squash leaves blocking sun exposure for faster ripening.
- Harvest onions when leaves have withered or turned yellow-brown. Dry them outside or indoors, if wet.
Remember, the main aim is to keep your plants healthy and prepare for the cooler months ahead.
Rog Leppard, Owner, English Cottage Chic Gardening, Professional Gardener and Gardening Writer, East Wellow, Romsey, Hampshire.