14 Aug 2010

Garden notes: August

The new allotment site is now ready to plant - a little late for this season but still some possibilities. Well I thought I would share in a new series a monthly list of jobs for the garden. The notes were created when I had a larger garden in Nailsworth some years ago.

Photos from a friend photographer Charles Roffey

August notes

Cut right down to the ground fruited wood of raspberry canes & other briars after they’ve finished fruiting - leave no stubs & tie in new growth

Check sweetcorn cobs for ripeness by peeling back leaves & pressing a thumbnail into a kernal - if a milky juice appears it’s ready - Boil water before before picking sweetcorn as they taste best within minutes of harvest

‘Stop’ cordon tomatoes & if necessary feed & spray them with Bordeaux mixture against blight which is often present during wet summers

Allow some French beans to ripen & go hard before harvesting & store them in airtight containers for winter cooking or next years seed

Sow winter salad & leafy Oriental crops like mizuna & pak choi, leaf beet & overwintering onions - give drills a good soaking before sowing

Water garden regularly if you are confident of being able to apply enough to reach the roots - if not it’s probably best not to start watering

Remove codling moth traps & watch out for caterpillars on winter greens

Watch potatoes for brown spots typical of potato blight & black stems indicative of blackleg - cut off & burn infected parts - do not harvest for 3 weeks

Sow overwintering manures as beds are emptied

Pot on strawberry runners - leave outside until New Year to get enough cold to cause flower initiation

Take clematis cuttings

Leave onion tops to fall over naturally - lifted onions can be left on the ground for a week with their roots turned to the sun or if wet under glass or inside - ensure they are rustle dry before hanging/storing

Gather herbs - basil, borage, lovage & parsley for freezing & bay, rosemary, thyme, lavender, coriander seeds & fennel seeds for drying. To dry cut the leafy stems on a dry day as the plant is about to flower. Put in a warm, dark, airy place for a week then strip stems & put whole leaves into airtight containers Begin to divide & transplant perennials

Holiday? Cut flowers like sweetpeas, weed well to reduce their seeding, pick immature vegetables like peas, beans & courgettes otherwise they may stop cropping, plunge small pots into water and then the ground together in the shade to reduce moisture loss, hoe & mow, soak leafy crops well & mulch, mulch, mulch

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