Gardening in August
It’s ALMOST spring…
This month there’s a sense that winter is almost over. Flower and growth buds on deciduous trees and shrubs, roses and fruit trees start to swell and show tinges of colour, the early daffodils and jonquils burst into flower and camellias and magnolias are at their peak of flowering.
What to plant now:
Bare-root roses, fruit trees and deciduous ornamentals should all be planted as soon as possible, before they burst into growth. Native plants, evergreen trees, shrubs and climbers can continue to be planted. Check out what’s in stock in your garden centre.
- Seasonal flowers:
Plant lavender, rhododendrons, calendula, lily, cyclamen, bellis, azaleas, forget-me-nots, clematis, calendula, gladiolus, roses, lavatera, viola, crocus, hebes, pansy, nemesia.
Plant raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, boysenberry, blackberry, pear, apple, feijoa, orange, lemon, lime, mandarin, peach, plum.
- Winter and spring vegetables:
Keep planting beetroot, brassicas, peas, rhubarb, asparagus, bok choi, radish, parsnip, onion, mesclun, rocket.
The Vegetable Patch:
Winter veggies, including cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, silver beet, onions, peas, radish and leafy greens like lettuce, should still be going strong. The very first of the new season’s asparagus tips may pop up later in the month – keep an eye out and cut them when about 15cm tall – they will be tender and delicious!
What to plant now:
It's a great time to start sprouting your seed potatoes for planting in the ground next month.
Sow seeds or plant seedlings of:
- Broad bean
- Bok choi
- Dwarf pea
- Climbing pea
- Spring onion
- Chinese cabbage
- Kohl rabi
Veggie patch tips for August:
- Give newly planted seedlings a good start with regular applications of a liquid fertiliser for vegetables and herbs or a certified organic fertiliser once a month.
- Water every few days if the weather is dry.
- Hand pull or hoe out weeds as they appear – they compete for nutrients and moisture and may also harbour pests that could attack your crops.
- As winter crops finish, pull out the plants and put them into the compost bin if they are disease-free.
- Start preparing empty beds now for planting out seedlings next month. Dig over to break up the soil, fork in plenty of compost and a complete fertiliser.
Fruit & Flower Beds:
Fruits to harvest now:
In late winter citrus such as mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit and lemons will be ready to harvest.
What fruit to plant:
Bare-rooted deciduous fruit and nut trees and vines should be planted as soon as possible before they start to shoot and flower. Some garden centres may already have them potted up and in flower.
What flowers to plant:
Bare-root roses are still available and, like fruit trees, should be in the ground very soon! Some nurseries sell them already potted up – they can be planted now or left until they are fully in leaf before transplanting into the garden. Spring flowering annuals will be in full bloom now, but it’s not too early to start thinking about summer flowers.
Garden jobs for the month:
- Keep flowering annuals and bulbs growing and flowering well with regular applications of an all purpose fertiliser.
- Finish pruning deciduous trees and shrubs as soon as possible. DO NOT prune blossom trees (Prunus, etc) or Spring flowering shrubs – wait until after they have flowered.
- As soon as “bud swell” is noticed on fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs, apply a copper-based spray to prevent the occurrence of fungal diseases like mildews and leaf curl. Apply to fruit trees again after flowering, when fruits are just starting to form.
Plants inside the home assist in purifying the air as well as lending a touch of greenery to your living areas.
- Natural light is important but don’t stand pots on north or west-facing windowsills where they will be exposed to direct sun through the glass.
- Keep plants away from heaters and air conditioners that can dry the atmosphere.
- Place a saucer or bowl of water near your plants to humidify the air.
- Wipe leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to keep them clean.
- Feed every few weeks with ready to use Osmocote Pour+Feed Indoor Plants – no mixing required.
If you didn’t have time to give the mower a service last month, do it now before spring when it will be called into service quite frequently. As winter gradually recedes and the days become longer and a little warmer, the lawn will have quite a growth spurt - now is the time to fertilise. The type of fertiliser you use will depend on the health of your lawn.
- A general purpose fertiliser like Lawn Builder All Purpose Slow Release Lawn Food or Lawn Builder Extreme Green Slow Release Lawn Food (all granular fertilisers that will feed your lawn for up to three months and suitable for all types of grass) will suit most situations.
- However, if you have a broadleaf weed problem, then you may need to use Lawn Builder + Weedkill Slow Release Lawn Food but READ THE LABEL FIRST! This fertiliser cannot be applied to buffalo grasses and some other lawn substitutes.
- Control moss in shady areas with a solution of iron sulfate (30 grams in 4.5L of water) applied as a spray or with the watering will help control it. Re-apply if necessary.
In the warmer north:
- Water lawns deeply once a week if there’s no rain.
- Apply a Lawn Builder Slow Release granular fertiliser to feed the lawn for up to three months.
- Watch for the caterpillars of the White Cabbage Butterfly on cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other brassicas. Pyrethrum will assist or try a cabbage dust.
- Slugs and snails can be active whenever there are young plants around – Garden Galore Quash Slug & Snail Stoppa in a bait trap will protect your plants and keep your pets safe.