This is our August gardening guide, that suggests which gardening tasks, you should consider doing in the month of August.
This is of course summer in the UK and one of the better months in terms of weather. In the UK, August temperatures have an average daily high of 21 degrees Celsius (69 degrees Fahrenheit) and a low of 12 °C (53 °F). Now of course these will vary depending on exactly where you live in the UK.
Generally speaking though it is a warm month so ideal growing conditions for plants. In terms of rain, in August, the entire UK averages 10 days of rain, totaling 69 millimetres (2.7 inches). This is usually enough to keep most gardeners content as of course plants need both warmth and moisture.
August is of course considered to be a holiday month, but it actually tends to be wetter than June, July or September. However, for gardeners with some experience, they consider August to be a month of change.
What Gardening Tasks Should You Have in Your Plan?
There are some good general guidelines that we would like to offer for all gardeners in the month of August and we have listed these below, and we do hope that you find them very useful.
This is a good month to prepare sites for any new shrubs or trees, that you may want to plant in the Autumn. If your sites are full of grass and weeds, you should treat that with a glyphosate herbicide early in August, and then cultivate the area around 4-5 weeks after that.
Autumn Bulb Planting
This is a good month to order any bulbs that you may want to plant in the Autumn. Bulbs such as Narcissi, crocuses and tulips are good choices. Crocuses are best planted in September, Narcissi in October and leave tulips until around November.
This is a good month to take cuttings of herbaceous plants such as gazania, helianthemum and pelargoniums.. Remember to choose strong half ripened shoots and make a clean cut below a leaf junction or node.
Dip the ends in a root inducing hormone compound and then place into pots or boxes. Keep the compost moist and shade from any really hot sun.
This is a good month to give established hedges a final clipping. This helps reduce any straggly growth and helps make them compact and neat. Clear out the bottom of hedges from grass, weeds and debris that has gathered. This is a favourite place for pests and insects as they use those for winter shelter. You can use a granular weed killer to keep that area weed free.
The UK Flower Garden
Cut off the heads of any dead flowers such as dahlias, and continue to feed plants with a liquid feed very 10-14 days. It is also a good month to cut out any spent stems of border plants such as gladioli, delphiniums etc before they start to seed.
You should also disbud early chrysanthemums as this will allow larger blooms to develop.
Keep an eye out for mildew in fine weather especially if the nights tend to be cool with lots of dew. You can counteract this by applying a benomyl, dinocap or sulphur fungicide to keep it well under control.
The Vegetable Garden
August can be a busy old time for the vegetable gardener.
You can prepare onions for harvesting in the month of August. Push a fork under the bulbs and gently break the roots. You can then bend over the tops at the neck. The onions will then be ready to harvest in 2-3 weeks and usually in September.
You can also lift second early potatoes as soon as the haulms start to yellow. Try and do this on a sunny or dry day so as the tubers can get plenty of warm air. These can then be stored in wooden boxes in cool frost proof dark sheds or cellars.
You can now remove the tops of any outdoor tomatoes as soon as the 4th truss of flowers has formed. Feed with a liquid feed on a weekly basis. If you notice brown or purple blotches, this is blight and can be treated with a copper fungicide.
You can also cut the stems of peas and broad beans and get those into your compost heap or bin.
You can also finish planting out and winter crops such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and cabbage. You can also sow spring cabbage in a seed bed and then transplant that at the end of the month.
We would highly recommend checking all brassica crops underneath the leaves for eggs, or caterpillars. You can just pick those off and destroy them or treat them with a derris or pyrethrum insecticide.
You can also gather your herbs for drying. Tie them by the stems in small bunches and hand them upside down in a dry airy space. Once the leaves are brittle rub them through your fingers, get rid of the chaff, and then store in an airtight jar. (Don't use glass jars as herbs lose their flavour if exposed to light)
The Fruit Garden
The harvest is over and now is a good time to clean up the strawberry bed. Get rid of weeds, excess runners, any old or discoloured leaves. Lightly fork over the soil between the rows.
You can also move rooted runners for the new strawberry bed as long as they are growing strongly. Lift with soil and space about 15" apart in rows 30" apart. and water them in.
You can now cut away the fruited canes of raspberries to ground level. Make sure to burn these as they can carry beetles, moths or have a fungus infection. You can also prune logan berries in the same way. You can also prune blackcurrants and remove any old shoots.
You can pick any early varieties of apples such as Emneth Early or dessert such as Beauty or Bath. Remember though these bruise easily. You can also pick peaches and nectarines if ready
August Garden Summary
If you are thinking about sowing a new lawn, then August is the best month to prepare the site. Make sure the new site has good drainage and if the sub-soil is heavy, now id the time to lighten that. You can use a limestone grit to do the best job of that.
Treat heavy top soils with a seaweed soil conditioner. Rake the lawn and work on making it as level as you can. We would recommend applying a lawn fertiliser 1-2 weeks before sowing your seed.