Just when you think that the planting time is over and everything is in full bloom and it is time to enjoy the fruits of your hard work for the next few weeks it is time to start all over again! Unfortunately few summer bedding plants don’t last until the end of the season and need a replacement. To ensure a continues display of colours within the garden walls we have to replant annuals like Nasturtiums, Chrysanthemums , ornamental Beta or Salvia in time so the young plants are ready to flower when the old ones start to fade. So we actually have two seasons during the summer months which is a challenge in itself!
The same counts more or less for the Vegetable Garden. The first crops like Broad beans or Potatoes are harvested and need to be replaced with different types of crops. Our plot with the ‘British Queens’ potatoes for example will be turned into a green manure plot. A succession planting of all types of Lettuces will replace other crops like Beetroot or Spring Onions. Now is also the time, when not already done, to plant spring cabbages for next year’s harvest. The first of the dwarf French and Runner beans are ready to be picked and the Beetroots have a fantastic flavor this year.
One of my favorite colour combinations, even though it is in the vegetable garden, must be Cabbage ‘Red Drumhead’ interplanted with Calendula officinalis. I would love to have an annual plant with the vibrant colour of this cabbage.
We also started to harvest the first of the courgettes and marrows. They grow so fast that they can double in size within few days.
I always try to introduce new old varieties of vegetables. This year we propagated and planted the first time ‘Spinach Strawberry’, a rather unusual looking annual. The red berries are the most striking feature, although they have nothing to do with strawberries. The leaves are used cooked or raw in salads; the fruits are a bit sweet but otherwise quite tasteless. I think the different look of the whole plant can add to any vegetable plot if you have a spare corner. Originated in northern America the native Americans used the red berries to dye skin or clothes.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in August:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Continue sowing spring bedding for next year
~ Take cuttings of non flowering shoots of Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Hydrangea
~ Continue to sow later crops like leaf beet, even beetroot
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuce and spring onion
~ Plant and water shrubs or perennials left in pots
~ Runner and French Beans
~ Courgettes and Marrows
~ Last of Potatoes
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet
~ Cabbages, Kale
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Continue dead heading summer bedding and Herbaceous plants
~ Clear weeds of paths
~ Don’t let Vegetables like Kale or Chards flower unless you want seeds
~ Prune summer fruiting raspberries (cut out this years fruiting stems)
~ Summer pruning of apples and pears
~ Pruning of Plums and Cherries (Don’t prune in winter to avoid silver leaf disease)
~ Clear first leaves of lawns and paths