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In your garden this August

Relax, enjoy the weather and your garden even though there are jobs still to be done to keep it looking good.

Lawns

If you would like a fine finish to your lawn then cut more than once a week. Any weeds should be removed and, if required, the holes filled with a gritty compost followed by a small amount of grass seed being raked in. When the weather is dry and hot, ideally the grass should be kept slightly longer by setting the blades a little higher.

After being away on holiday you will want to cut the grass but to avoid any stress to the lawn it is best to do this gradually. We would suggest only removing 13mm (½”) of growth to start with, giving another light cut a week or so later, followed by cutting to the recommended height.

Prepare sites for new lawns, as towards the end of the month and into early September is an ideal time for sowing. The area should be level, free from large stones and weeds. It is very important to remove perennial weeds as these will be difficult to control until the lawn is established. Where perennial weeds are growing on the site, spray with a weedkiller containing Glyphosate some weeks before commencing soil cultivations. This will allow any re-growth to be treated for a second time.

Vegetables

Sowings of Japanese bulb onion Senshyu Semi-Globe Yellow can be made outdoors from mid to late August for harvesting in July. Sowings can also be made of spring cabbage, chinese cabbage, corn salad, winter lettuce and radish. Maincrop potatoes can be lifted as required for immediate use and where they are to be stored, harvest in September or early October. The spread of potato blight can occur if conditions are hot and humid, therefore, to prevent attack it may be worth considering using a fungicide spray. Potato yields can also benefit by being given extra water. The tips of any climbing shoots of runner beans should be pinched out should they reach the top of the supports. Small, tender courgettes can be regularly picked by using a sharp knife and carefully cutting them off at the base, protecting sensitive hands from the prickly leaves and stalks by wearing gloves. Any crops that are in flower, have fruit or pods on them must be watered well. The side-shoots on tomatoes should be pinched out regularly and the leading shoots tied to the supports. A high potash tomato fertiliser feed should be applied weekly and don’t let the plants go short of water. The tips of cucumber side shoots should be pinched out just two leaves beyond any fruit that may be developing. If any old fruit is left on the plants this will affect further flowering so remember to pick cucumbers on a regular basis.

Fruit

Keep well watered during dry spells and weeds under control by hoeing. Cut down canes of summer fruited raspberries that have finished cropping, tying in new canes to supports and removing any spare ones. The runners of new strawberry plants should be secured into pots of compost or soil allowing them to root. The foliage should be removed just above the crown of each plant remembering to clear away any debris. Grape vines can be tied to supports. Main shoots and side shoots of gooseberries can be pruned back to five leaves encouraging fruiting shoots for next season to be produced.

Patio Pots, Baskets and Containers

Thoroughly water at least once a day making sure the compost doesn’t dry out completely. As compost can become bone dry in smaller terracotta pots than larger plastic pots any water will run straight off. It is, therefore, ideal to place pots, baskets, containers in a bowl, bath or even water butt leaving them in soak thoroughly for a short while. Also, just because it may rain, the compost could still remain dry due to foliage not allowing the water through.

Flowers

Some hardy annuals such as calendula, eschscholzia and myosotis can be sown direct in their flowering positions obtain early flowers next spring/summer. Seeds of perennial plants that can be sown now include cheiranthus (siberian wallflower), cyclamen hederifolium and potentilla. For colourful pot plants in the home, plants of cactus, cineraria, cyclamen, coleus and schizanthus can be raised from seed sown this month. Wild flowers are becoming popular and sowings of cowslips and primroses should be made in trays, placing in a cold frame. Feverfew and field cornflower can be sown where they are required to flower. Now is a good time for cutting plants such as achillea, grasses and other everlasting subjects as they are at their peak. They should be hung upside down in an airy, warm place so that they can dry naturally ready for using in arrangements. Use bamboo canes to support stems of tall perennials and lilies.

Deadheading of roses should be done regularly, and flowers trimmed just above the top leaf on the stem. Stems cuttings can also be taken for propagating.

We have again experienced a very wet period this summer and we have received a number of reports from gardeners who are having the same problem. The exceptional weather has again led to impatiens being attacked by the fungal disease Downy Mildew. This disease appears to be widespread throughout the country and more severe in wet seasons. Unfortunately there are no chemical controls available for this disease. Infected plants should be lifted immediately and any fallen leaves picked up and placed in the bin. Infected plants should not be composted as this could lead to the spores being reintroduced to the soil.

Bulbs

It may seem a long way off, but now is the perfect time to start planning the displays of bulbs that will fill your garden with colour next spring. Take a look at our comprehensive range of great value bulbs and perennials online, and get your order in now. We’ve got all your favourite varieties of daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and loads more. Go on – make sure next spring is your brightest ever!

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