Gardening jobs for August
Discover the jobs you should be undertaking in the garden this month with the help of garden writer Aaron Bertelsen. Illustration Alice Pattullo
Garden writer Aaron Bertelsen explains the tasks you ideally should be doing in the garden this month. Don't miss our gardens to visit in August, and enjoy our piece on the best flowers in August.
Gardening jobs for August
If you must go away, plan ahead. You are going to need help in the garden. And don’t forget, it’s not just about watering. Harvesting is equally important to keep plants productive and avoid food going to waste. Much better to have someone else enjoy it if you can’t eat it yourself.
Leafy crops such as Swiss chard and kale will benefit from a thorough clean-up. Weed around them, and get rid of any yellowing or damaged leaves. This will help ensure good air circulation, making the crops less vulnerable to white fly and moulds. It also enables water to get closer to the stem and the roots, rather than being trapped and then running off the leaves into the surrounding soil.
Early apples will be starting to ripen now. Gently turn the fruit in your hand, and if the stem comes away from the branch, the apple is ready to harvest.
If you have not taken my advice and are growing tomatoes other than the reliably blight-resistant ‘Crimson Crush’, this is a good time to spray. Look for an organic copper spray, or one containing baking soda (or of course make your own).
Lift any remaining maincrop potatoes. Choose a warm, sunny day and leave the potatoes on top of the soil to give the skins a chance to dry out fully before you store them. This way they will be much less likely to rot.
Sow fennel under glass. I find that sown now, fennel is much less likely to dry out and is not nearly so prone to bolting.
Discover what is in the August issue of Gardens Illustrated
Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.
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