Gardening Jobs for August
Sizzling August brings plenty of garden maintenance, especially if you’re heading off on holiday. Follow our checklist for jobs to do this month.
Jobs in the garden
Prune rambling roses
Once their blooms are more or less spent, it’s time to whip out the loppers and give those vigorous rambling roses a trim. We’d recommend removing a third of the stems that have flowered and tying the rest back into supports.
Save flower seeds
As flowers start to go over, make time to save some seed. It’s the best (not to mention cheapest) way to grow more of the plants you love. August is the ideal time to save seed from poppy heads, nigella (aka love-in-a-mist), aquilegas and sweet peas. Dry them out in individual paper bags and don’t forget to label them so you remember what’s what for next year.
Trim back wisteria
Now’s your chance to keep your wisteria in check. Pruning it in both January and August allows you to keep the beast under control and will guarantee good flowering each spring. In late summer, cut the most recent whippy shoots back to five or six leaves each. This will improve air circulation and put more energy into producing buds rather than foliage.
Tidy up wildflower patches
Fire up the strimmer (or drag the lawnmower out of the shed) and topple the remains of any wildflower patches. The dried and straggly stems will have set and scattered their seed by this point, meaning they’ll sprout up again next year to provide more forage for our pals the pollinators.
Set up a watering system
Holidays ahoy! If you’re heading off on a summer adventure, make sure you’ve got your plant care sorted. If you can’t ask friends or neighbours to lend a hand with watering, set up a simple automatic irrigation system and keep everything well hydrated while you’re on vacay.
On the Allotment
Protect autumn berries
Keep the birds off your autumn fruit horde by throwing nets over blackberry bushes, raspberry canes and late strawberries now. Then shake a fist skyward and laugh maniacally. (Or, more realistically, splutter over your breakfast cereal as you spy them finding a way in.)
Beat the blight
Blight is the bain of gardeners everywhere. As a fungal infection that’s spread by wind and water, it’s particularly bad in warm, wet summers but can strike at any time, attacking tomatoes and potatoes without mercy.
Tomato blight appears as sunken brown splodges on fruit and spreads to leaves and stems. With potatoes, it attacks the foliage and tubers, rotting the crop. Be vigilant and remove affected foliage as soon as you spot it to slow the process down and be in with a chance of saving your precious harvest. The suspense is real.
Save your strawbs
Lift up any summer fruiting strawberry runners that have taken root. Give away or compost any you don’t want and pot on those you do. Use them to fill gaps in your strawberry patch or replace plants that are two or three years old, to keep the deliciousness levels high every year.
Harvest your haul
Summer’s bounty just keeps coming. August is a month of plenty and should see you harvesting crisp cucumbers, runner beans, enviable bunches of crunchy carrots and some of the tastiest tomatoes you’ve ever set lips on. Onions and shallots can be lifted now too, and left to dry out in a sunny spot before storing.