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August Gardening Jobs

The recent heatwaves, coupled with lack of rain, may mean your lawns don't need mowing but there are plenty of jobs to do nonetheless. Top of my list right now is cutting back perennials such as nepeta, salvias, geraniums, echinops and alchemilla in order to enjoy a second flush going into autumn. Cutting them back will also help them conserve energy during the drought and giving them a better chance of survival. Other jobs to do by category include:

Perennials, shrubs & trees:

  1. Prune wisteria to keep growth and size under control and improve flowering display

  2. Remove spent flowers of lavender to keep it from getting leggy. Lavender flowers are great for scent in the home and as an addition to cakes and biscuits.

  3. Deadhead flowering plants regularly especially repeat flowering roses to keep them looking their best and to encourage further flowering

  4. Collect seeds from flowering plants for next year.

  5. Stake late-flowering perennials such as asters, rudbeckia and echinacea to keep them from flopping onto your borders and improve overall appearance.

  6. Maintenance pruning for established deciduous and evergreen hedges should be undertaken now. If a hedge seems stressed due to heat and lack of water perhaps wait a few more weeks!

Kitchen garden:

  1. Remember to summer prune any trained fruit trees such as apples and pears to ensure adequate light reaches the fruit for ripening and that the structure can be retained.

  2. If you haven't done so already pin strawberry runners so they can take root. Otherwise lift and pot up rooted strawberry runners to replace old stock or pass onto a friend.

  3. Continue to harvest vegetables such as tomatoes, courgettes, beans, sweetcorn, etc. Harvesting can almost be a daily chore at this time of the season.

  4. Continue to feed tomatoes and courgettes weekly. I use Maxicrop Organic Seaweed Extract as it has the required minerals for good fruit production.

  5. Sow last crop of beetroot, spinach, chard and salad leaves for autumn.

  6. Harvest potatoes and onions if you haven't done so! Potatoes should be wiped clean of most soil and stored in paperboys out of direct sunlight. Be sure to use any damaged potatoes first.

  7. Keep weeding and watch out for tomato blight and other pests & diseases.

Now is also the time to note what gaps you have in your borders and what plants have managed to stay reasonably healthy in these difficult conditions. Time to edit those that require constant watering!

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