Liquid feed for all flowering and fruiting plants is essential during the months of August & September. Regular feeding leads to larger fruit yields and encourages flowering plants to produce new growthParaic Horkan
August is the last month of summer in Ireland and should be an opportunity for gardeners to enjoy the fruits of their spring labour. After the perfect gardening weather over the past two months fruiting and flowering plants have performed particularly well and have rewarded us with a bountiful crop.
Hopefully this month will bring us endless sunny days to sit out and enjoy the flower filled gardens and the harvest from our vegetable beds. As always, there are a few things that require attention so here is my list of jobs in the garden for August.
1) Liquid feeding for all flowering and fruiting plants is essential during the months of August & September. Regular feeding encourages the growth of larger fruits. It also encourages flowering plants to produce new growth and new flowers extending the flowering season until early winter. I use Osmo Universal Liquid Feed every ten days on all fruiting and flowering plants.
2) To add some instant colour to patio pots and planted containers, I recommend autumn flowering Cyclamen, Double Flowering Chrysanthemums, Blue Campanula Porto and ornamental peppers for a stunning show of colour this autumn and winter. Use a good quality compost and enrich with a handful of Vitax Q4 Fertiliser
3) Deadheading is not limited to your pots and containers. Dahlias, Roses, Calendula, Osteospermum, Penstemon, Geranium and Pelargonium are all types of plants that will benefit from regular deadheading to encourage more flowers and prolong the flowering period. Osmo universal liquid feed or granular feed can also be applied to keep your beds and border plants in good condition on into the autumn.
4) Hedging and screening plants can be planted this month. Soil conditions are ideal at the moment and hedging plants planted now will settle in well before the winter months. Planting now will encourage strong new roots and some new stem growth over the next six weeks. For something evergreen that forms a tight neat screen with little trimming needed consider the Portuguese Laurel. Existing hedging plants will benefit from a light trim, removing up to 6 inches of growth. This will strengthen and neaten your hedge before autumn.
5) Early August is your last chance to summer prune your Wisteria, cutting back the wispy shoots to approximately one third.
6) Over in the vegetable garden, water will also be an issue. Remember to water the soil rather than the leaves to reduce instances of mildew and/or blight. Remember to protect vulnerable plants, including potatoes, with a dressing of Bayer Potato Blight Spray to keep them blight and disease free.
7) You should harvest regularly from your courgettes, peas, beans and tomatoes; this will encourage further cropping. Onions, shallots and garlic will be ready around this time and should be lifted when the stalks start to turn brown and bend over. Once lifted let the stalks dry before removing them and storing your harvest.
8) If you clear any area in the vegetable garden and are not replanting straight away, consider covering the area with Weed Control Matting or black plastic to discourage weed growth. Otherwise, there is still time in early August to sow salad crop plants such as lettuce, spinach, purple broccoli, winter cabbage, radish and rocket as they are quick to mature and will be useful to fill any gaps left after harvest.
9) Lawns will benefit from a dressing of Zero Lawn Liquid. Zero is easy to apply and very fast acting. It will help to control lawn moss as well as giving your lawn a rich green colour before winter arrives.
10) For those with ponds and water features, do remember to keep them clean and topped up. Planting around ponds should be cut back and spent flowers removed. Remember to clear out any plant debris in the pond areas to help keep down algae growth. I apply some Blagdon Pond Clear Liquid to my pond and water features this month to help clear the water.
If you have a bird bath in the garden, don’t forget to keep it clean and topped up as our feathered friends will need a drink and a bath at this time of year.
Now is the time to sow some spring colour from our Suttons seed collections. One of my favourites is Suttons Orange Calendulas. These bright orange flowers will bloom in early and late spring if sown now. Calendulas are easy to grow and very colourful and bright in flower.