‘August is a wise time to launch a major onslaught on garden weeds to prevent the threat of ‘one year’s seeding, seven years’ weeding. ‘ (Frances Perry)
‘The broad beans, early new potatoes and early peas may be coming to an end, but they will soon be replaced by runner beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, marrows and cucumbers.’ (David Mabey)
August can be a delightfully busy time in the vegetable garden. There are so many vegetables and herbs to harvest, and so many crops to coming to fruition that need constant care and attention, watering, feeding and mulching. If the weather is hot and dry, vegetables grown in containers or troughs can rapidly dry out, and become weakened and subject to fungal attacks such as blight or mildew. In the organic garden, all types of plants will benefit from being watered and fed at the same time with very diluted seaweed extract which has a strengthening and yet mildly fungicidal effect.
Roots and tubers
Young carrots and beetroot can be harvested now, as well as early potatoes. Check maincrop potatoes for the fungal disease potato blight, and if there are any signs of it, cut the haulms (stems and leaves) down to prevent infection of the tubers.
As broad beans and French beans are harvested, the runner beans on the wigwams begin to come into their own. Keep the runner and climbing French beans well watered (best done by watering into a cut-off upturned plastic bottle in the centre of each wigwam). Check daily for blackfly (black bean aphids) and wash them off and kill them with diluted soft soap. Control snails by sprinkling ferrous phosphate granules round the base of the plants, and by putting copper tape or wire round the base of the poles of the wigwam. Keep picking the runner beans regularly as this encourages more pods to form.
Onions and leeks
With onions, it is essential to bend the leaves over to the ground to prevent further growth, and to encourage the onions to swell before harvesting. Now is the time to plant out young leeks
Make sure that all young brassicas are covered with fleece, fine mesh, or fine netting, to prevent cabbage butterflies from alighting on them and laying eggs, which would turn into caterpillars that would later devastate the leaves.
Salads and cucurbits
Pick lettuces and rocket plants before they bolt, for use in summer salads. Even bolted lettuces can still be harvested and used to make lettuce soup. Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and outdoor cucumber and tomato plants should all become ready for harvesting during this month. Tomato plants should be stopped after four or five trusses, to prevent further upward growth and divert the plant’s energy into producing fruit. Continue to keep these plants well and evenly watered, and well-fed with seaweed extract. Pick the tomatoes as soon as they begin to turn red and bring them indoors to ripen them up quickly by placing them in the same bowl as already-ripe tomatoes.
Copyright (c) 2013 Torbay Organic Gardening Society, 25 Church Road, St Marychurch, Torquay TQ1 4QY
Tel 01803 328055 Leaflet No: CAL8