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August Allotment Tips

runner beans grown on allotment

Forward planning is key to a good plot that will produce food throughout the year.

With that in mind, there are still seeds that can be sown on the allotment as we approach late summer. Spring cabbage should be sown now in a spare area of your plot for planting out permanently next month. Keep the seed drills well watered and protected from slugs and germination should be around a week. Alternatively start the seeds in a cold frame if you prefer. The cabbage will stand the winter cold and will be ready to harvest next from next May onwards, a good few weeks earlier than cabbage sown during late winter.

Overwintering onions, grown from seed, can also be sown now, this time I prefer a seed tray, filled with proprietary compost, ready to grow on and plant out in early October. The onions will be ready to harvest by the end of next June, a good six weeks or so earlier than their spring sown counterparts.

Meanwhile radish can still be sown now and right through into next month to harvest before winter.

I do find that sowing seeds at this time of year on the allotment can slip down the list of priorities. It takes a certain amount of self-discipline to get back into seed sowing mode. After all there are plenty other things going on!

Continue to hoe during dry spells, perhaps interspersed with many fulfilling hours spent picking our food, glorious food. Runner beans, courgettes and radish need picking almost daily, they are growing so fast now. If Runner beans are left unpicked, for any length of time cropping is greatly reduced. Take off any large bulging beans you may have missed and compost them.

runner beans grown on allotment

Runner Beans from Lee Senior’s allotment

Harvest beetroot when they are the size of a golf ball for maximum flavour and tenderness. Larger ones look impressive but can go a little woody in the centre.

bayer's fruit & veg disease control

A fungicide that can give useful protection against potato blight

Keep a lookout for potato blight… This destructive disease unfailingly strikes every year in late summer, encouraged by any humid, damp August weather. Early signs are unsightly brown fungal patches appearing quickly on the foliage. In just a matter of days the whole plant becomes riddled and collapses. Cut of the stems at ground level as soon as sightings are confirmed to prevent the blight reaching those all-important potato tubers.

Any tomato plants growing outside should have their growth stopped by the middle of the month. Nip out the leading growing shoot just above the highest truss. This encourages the plant to put energy into setting fruit in unpredictable weather, hopefully before the weather closes in.

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Lee Senior

About Lee Senior

Lee Senior is an experienced horticultural writer, RHS Yorkshire in Bloom judge and horticultural consultant. He has also had an allotment for over 25 years. After initially spurning horticulture as a career option, to pursue his boyhood dream of becoming a train driver, Lee soon realised he couldn't resist getting his hands dirty to make a living. Horticultural College training led, to getting an allotment at the tender age of 18 (in the days when you could actually get a plot quickly). My gardening hero, is Geoff Hamilton" says Lee. "It was Geoff who convinced me that you didn't have to spray everything that moved in the garden. Watching him on Gardeners’ World in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was a revelation. I was lucky enough to meet Geoff and I’ve also more recently had the pleasure of meeting Joe Swift. Now over two decades of practical experience has taught me to work with mother nature, not to fight against her and don't try to tame her, as so many gardeners seem to be on a mission to do. Small-scale food growing is my passion and I can't wait for my two daughters, one who is 8 years old and the other who is 5 to hopefully pick up the baton in the future. Nothing beats the flavour and satisfaction of growing your own food. You simply cannot buy the same quality and freshness. Everyone can have a go at growing something says Lee, no matter where they live. Lee has also written his two books; 'Pennine Way, The Highs and Lows' which is a humorous, personal account of walking this momentous iconic walk. His second book 'Walking in the Aire', features 14 short walks in Yorkshire.

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