Harvest should be bountiful and the allotment is in full swing
August is the month of plenty, virtually everything you planted and sown will be giving you a crop, daily trips to the plot are recommended this month, harvesting, watering, and weeding all needing doing this month!
Fruit jobs in August
Pruning and training
- Summer prune side shoots on restricted trees (such as espaliers and fans) to three to four leaves to form fruiting spurs.
- Summer prune restricted apples and pears.
- If necessary, prune nectarines, apricots and peaches after they have fruited.
- If necessary, prune plums, gages and damsons immediately after harvest.
- Water cranberries, lingonberries and blueberries regularly with rainwater. Tap water will do if butts run dry.
- Loosely tie together new blackberries and hybrid berry canes.
- Remove straw and old leaves and tidy up strawberries after fruiting.
- Prune out fruited summer raspberry canes and tie in new ones.
- Plant out rooted strawberry runners.
- Check netting on remain soft fruit.
- Deal with brown rot on tree fruit.
- Protect grapes from wasps.
- Deal with powdery mildew on grapes and melons.
Vegetable jobs in August
Sowing and Planting
It is getting late in the year to be sowing and plating, but there is still time for lettuces, chicory, endives plus fast growing varieties of peas, beetroot and carrots.
- You can still sow quick maturing salad crops such as summer lettuce, radish, rocket, sorrel, chicory and fennel.
- Continue to sow spring cabbage, turnips, Oriental vegetables and overwintering onions, in the south of England.
- Sow green manures such as crimson clover and Italian ryegrass to act as a soil improver and to cover bare areas. When dug in, they conserve nutrients and improve soil texture.
- I sow a couple of rows of Eskimo carrots in August and this gives me a crop early in the New Year.
- Sow Japanese onion seeds now, but mark them with a string line so you know where they were planted to make weeding easier.
- Last chance for sowing of Winter radish, turnips and kohl rabi.
- Irregular watering can lead to problems with blossom end rot in tomatoes, splitting of root vegetables and flower abortion in runner beans. Help prevent this by watering well during dry spells.
- Weeds can also compete with vegetables for water, and act as hosts for pests and diseases, so remove regularly by hoeing.
- Marrows should be raised off the ground slightly, to prevent them discolouring from contact with the soil.
- Continue earthing up celery, putting a layer of paper between the stems and the soil.
- Take care when thinning out any late-sown carrot seedlings to prevent the scent released attracting carrot fly females.
Problems you might face
- Check plants regularly for aphids and deal with them as soon as you see them. A insect soap spry is effective when you see them and virtually harmless to bees with careful spraying.
- Look out for tomato and potato blight and deal with it as soon as you spot it.
- Watch tomatoes for blossom end rot, and other ripening problems.
- Look out for fungal spots on bean and pea pods and leaves.
- Remove any sweetcorn cobs affected by smut.
- Carrot fly is still about.
- Check stored onions for softness and the grey or black mould of neck rot.
Jobs in August around the plot
Vegetable jobs to do
- Weed and Water: A dry month so weeds should slow down, but use this extra time with watering.
- Harvest regularly crops like courgettes, runner beans, and French beans to keep them coming.
- Ripen garlic, onions and shallots by drying them out if you want to store them.
- Cover cauliflower heads.
- Pinch out the tops of climbing beans once 4 or 5 trusses have formed.
- Tie up tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
- Earth up brassicas, potatoes and celery.
- Feed pumpkins and winter squashes with a high potash tomato feed once a week.
- Bean flowers: However many you pick, as long as flowers keep appearing you will have new pods develop, keep watering and spraying the flowers to help the pods set.
- Water well to prevent bolting on susceptible crops like lettuces, fennel, rocket and spinach
- Net against birds to save your peas, brassicas and soft fruit.
- Take cutting of herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme
- Mulch: Continue to mulch using garden compost, well-rotted manure and bark chips, these will keep weeds at bay and lock in moisture too.
Shed Repairs & Maintenance
- Check guttering etc to save valuable water!
- Does that shed need another coat of preservative?
- If your water buts are empty, this is a good month to maybe give them a clean out and fix any broken taps.
Ready for Harvest in August
- Aubergines: In the heat of August aubergines will fatten up quickly but pay careful attention to your watering they need quite a lot!
- Onions: Onions should be reaching harvestable size this month, dig them up if ready when there is a long dry spell forecast so they can be dried outside ready for storing.
- Peas: Their pods should be filling up nicely now, pick a handful every day before they become over-large.
- Broccoli: Harvest calabrese and individual spears of sprouting broccoli, they should continue to shoot to give you an ongoing harvest.
- Beetroot: Harvest these regularly taking care not to disturb neighbouring roots
- Carrots: Last of the fast growing early varieties and the first of the maincrop varieties.
- Runner Beans: Pick these every couple of days, even if some appear over-large pick them anyway don't leave them on the plants you can always compost them.
- Garlic: Lift the last of your garlic this month, dry them out and hang them up for use when ready in the next few months.
- French beans: Harvest both Dwarf and climbing varieties now.
- Florence Fennel: Cut these about 2.5cm above the ground and new shoots will appear, perfect for stir fries.
- Courgettes should be cropping left right and centre now!
- Shallots can be lifted when the foliage has died away.
- Globe Artichokes: To get these at their very best pick the heads when plump and when the scale like leaves are still closed before the purple flowers appear.
- Potatoes: Second earlies will be coming to an end so dig the rest out this month.
- Cabbage: Both red and summer cabbage should be hearting up by now, pick them when the heads are solid and dense.
- Summer squashes: Courgettes and other summer squashes will be fruiting madly this month
- Chillies and sweet peppers
- Broad Beans
- Chillies and peppers
- Kohl Rabi
- Pak Choi
- Leaf Beet.
Salad crops ready
- Spring Onions
Fruit crops ready
- White & Red Currents
- Peaches & Nectarines
Seeds to Sow and things to Plant Out in August
What to Sow
- Spring Cabbages: If you are tight for space start these off in pots for transplanting when space becomes available.
- Leaf vegetables: Now is you last chance to sow Swiss Chard and Oriental Leaves.
- Winter Radishes
- Carrots: Eskimo my favourite
- Japanese type Onion
- Swiss Chard / Leaf Beet
- Florence Fennel towards the end of the month
- Oriental Leaves
- Kohl Rabi
Salads crops to sow outside:
- Chicory: Sugarloaf and Red
- Salad Leaves
- Spring Onions
- Winter Purslane
Planting out in August
- Cabbages, Broccoli, and Kale: Remember to cover these to keep the birds and caterpillars away!