August Grower's Calendar

Preparation

Green manures are plants which are grown specifically to improve soil fertility and useful at times when beds are empty (as is often the case in August).

Grow directly in the bed and then cut down and dig in to the soil, improving the soil structure and nutrient level as well as preventing the leaching of nutrients. Green manures include mustard, buckwheat, radish, rye, alfalfa, clover and vetches.

To do List

  • Give pumpkins plenty of water and apply a high-potash liquid feed.
  • Nip out the growing points to encourage the fruits to swell. Put something under fruits if they are resting on soil to prevent the underside from rotting.
  • Cut back any herbs that have finished flowering to encourage fresh growth.
  • Continued vigilance is required with your brassicas. Netting the plants is the most effective way of keeping butterflies and the cabbage moth away. Lift the netting regularly and remove eggs and caterpillars from leaves.
  • Keep weeding – in particular, don't allow weeds to go to seed as they will produce lots and lots of other weeds!!
  • Keep watering - mulch around plants to retain moisture in really hot weather. Keep an eye on your apple and other fruit trees – prune if they have made too much new growth.

Sowing Seeds and Planting Out

Continue succession sowing. Sow spring cabbage, red cabbage, winter spinach, salad onions (in polytunnel for spring crop), autumn salad mix, endive, parsley, onion seed, Chinese vegetables. Plant strawberries now for a good crop next June. Propagate rosemary, sage and mint from cuttings now.

Harvesting – what's in season

August is truly a month of plenty in the garden so enjoy! As vegetables and soft fruits continue, they are joined at the end of this month by tree fruits like apple and plum. Pick Beetroot regularly as they reach the size you require – if left to grow too large they will loose their tenderness. Each sweet corn plants will produce two beautiful yellow cobs. Pick them as soon as the 'tassels' wither to brown and when a creamy liquid squirts out of the grains when you squeeze. Cook immediately.

Continue to harvest beetroot, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, broad beans, french and runner beans, salad leaves, radish, turnip, potato, onions, peppers and chilli-peppers, aubergine, globe artichoke, courgettes, cucumber, gooseberries, raspberries and currants. With the abundance of fresh produce, consider storing some for winter use, e.g. freeze, make pickles and chutneys from onions, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, cucumber, apples, plums. Make special vinegars from excess herbs, onions, chilli-peppers and garlic. Make jams, curds and jellies from strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, currents (Red/White/Black), beetroot and mint.