August is a month of keeping check on all your hard work - make your hoe your best friend, keeping weeds off the patch as much as possible - I find weeding by hand the best way. Make sure to harvest too - many plants (like beans and peas) need harvesting to produce more. If you don't, the plant will think flowering season is over. Welcome to Jobs in the garden for August.
Jobs In The Garden In August...
Top 5 Jobs - Vegetables
1. Keep Watering
July was a scorcher, August is following the same tack, so make sure to water your plot daily if possible.
2. Feel The Pinch
Plants such as tomatoes and runner beans will just keep in growing, so it is best to 'pinch out' the tops of them to encourage stronger growth.
3. It's Xmas Time
Not quite, but time to think about Xmas - so get your spuds in pots now, for Xmas - nothing beats digging for spuds on Christmas Day.
Patience with the sweetcorn will have been paid back by now. Pierce a kernel with your nail and if the juice is milky, they are ready to roll.
5. Cut and Cut Again
Don't let all that hard work go to waste - harvest little and often and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Some plants, such as courgettes and runner beans, need harvesting to produce even more - so cut and cut again.
Jobs In The Garden in August - Grow Your Own Tips...
Top 5 Jobs - Herbs
1. Cruel To Be Kind
Give herbs a really good cut back now, to encourage a rush of growth before the frosts come.
2. Parse the Parsley
Parsley needs space to grow, so make sure that you thin out any plants to allow their roots to really take hold. 30cms between plants is ideal.
3. Take Cuttings
Take cuttings from your favourite herbs to start afresh - put rosemary, mint and sage into well drained compost, in a cold-frame and voila.
4. Divide and Conquer
Chivvy up the chives by dividing clumps right now - be brave, divi up the root balls and plant in good compost for bigger, better results.
5. Collect Seeds
Some herbs such as caraway, fennel and dill will be producing seeds right about now - so collect them and put in a cool, dry place to dry out and use next season.
Top 5 Jobs - Fruit
1. Feed Me
Hopefully your tomatoes will be flowering by now, if not bearing young fruits - so make sure to feed them with a tomato feed of your choice.
2. Feed Me Now
Same goes for any aubergines, cucumbers or peppers that you might have - a high-potash fertiliser would be perfect.
3. Net Result
The garden may be awash with produce but the birds and squirrels are still chowing down on your crop - net anything that could fall foul.
4. Prune Back
Once you've harvested your soft fruit crops (such as blackcurrants) prune back the stems from which the crop came for bigger, bushier plants.
5. Go With The Glut
If you've got a glut of rhubarb, blackcurrants and raspberries, freeze them for future use. Simply freeze individual berries on a tray and once frozen, you can bag them up.
As I have gone through the process of creating this food blog, I have noticed that when it comes to the GYO section, it is very much a case of 'do as I say, not as I do.' I think we are all guilty of doing that to some extent. I also noticed that when gardening, it is very much suck it and see. I never label, I never diarise, I just do it.
So from August, I am determined to write down everything that I do, if not to help me this time next year, but you might even see something that you've not thought about doing, or perhaps see something you know you should do, but haven't. Here goes...
Marsala Rama Kitchen Garden - August...
Friday 1st August 2014...
Better late than never, the garlic was pulled up today - when the tops start to yellow and wilt, you know it's time. Have stored in the greenhouse (see pic above), drying so that the skins harden a touch - will plait them once done - maybe a week or two's time.
Saturday 2nd August 2014...
This year I grew not only cucumbers, but cornichon - the French little gerkins perfect for pates and rillettes. Four plants have done me proud, but they are starting to yellow - so clean up the leaves, remove any yellow or brown ones - and keep picking. They taste fantastic when pickled.
Sunday 3rd August 2014...
Cleaned up some of the plants that had gone to seed - keeping just a few plants to experiment with the flowers / seed pods. Sowed fresh new bed of quick-growing crops, including Radish (French Breakfast, Scarlet), Beetroot (Detroit, Choggia), Mizuna, Red Lettuce, Salad Mix, Spring Onion, Kale.
Tuesday 5th August 2014...
Successful (so far) sowing and growing of thai basil - it needs room to grow, so have potted on the four main plants that have shot up this season (see pic above).
Thursday 7th August 2014...
Planted out Swedes into ex-potato plot - 8" apart, twenty two in total - should be ready near Christmas for lashing of mashed swede.
Wednesday 13th August 2014...
A few hours succession sowing - more Spinach, Spring Onions, Radish (x2), Salads (x3) and Beetroots (x2). Weeded around existing beetroots, which have been a success this year - first time ever, no bite marks from slugs/mice. Tidied up Comfrey (must make more liquid fertiliser) and pulled up bolted radish and lettuces. Dug up Curly Kale - white fly and caterpillars had got there first - a bad year for Kale this year.
Sunday 10th August 2014...
Spent an hour or so weeding - all by hand as I grow crops too close for a hoe - soil I bought from a Yeovil supplier was very poor, in that it was full of weed - but you can't de-weed anything until they have grown somewhat, as you need to know it is weed! Have tried to weed every night (when possible) to keep them down and spread the load. New beds are almost weed free now (the odd stinger still there).
Saturday 7th August 2014...
Planted out my Christmas potatoes! Worked a treat (in giant pots) last season, this time have planted some in the ground, some in pots. Can't remember where in the ground though (might be ex-sweetcorn plot)!? Ex-pots and courgette pots full too - using molehill soil to cover. Moles a real issue this year - need the mole catcher back.
READY TO HARVEST...
Cabbage (Red and Green)
Monday 4th August 2014...
Sweetcorn was a disaster this season. I think the main reason was plot position - I planted back left (too shady) when it should be out in the open, in the full glare of the sun. Some cobs were forming, but they should be full to bursting right now, just waiting for a bit more sun to make them bright yellow and full of flavour - so out they came. Such a shame as last season we had sixteen healthy plants with at least two cobs each.