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Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labours this August, but Stay Ahead of the Game With Ladybrook Nursery’s Top Gardening Tips.

When we get to this time of year with August only days away, there’s a natural temptation to sit back and relax.

After all, if you’ve put the time in with hard work in the garden, why shouldn’t you be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours. Well there is no reason, but nature never takes a break. Gardens and plants continue to need TLC, even when you’d prefer to take a bit of a sabbatical. So, although you can enjoy the garden in its full glory, you’ll still need to do certain things to keep your garden and your plants looking good.

Here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top gardening tips for a flourishing August garden.

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 gritty compost. Regularly rake in a small amount of seed to cover any threadbare patches.
  • When the weather is dry and hot, ideally you should try to leave the grass a little longer by setting the blades a little higher.
  • After being away on holiday you will want to cut the grass, but to avoid any unnecessary stress to the lawn, it is best to do this gradually. Try removing just 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 the back end of August and early September is the ideal time for sowing. The area should be level and 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 weed killer containing Glyphosate some weeks before commencing soil cultivation. This will allow any re-growth to be treated for a second time.

Flowers.

  • Some hardy annuals such as Calendula, Eschscholzia, and Myosotis can be sown direct in their flowering positions to produce 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 increasingly popular and sowings of Cowslips and Primroses should be made in trays, then placed in a cold frame.
  • Feverfew and Field Cornflower can be sown where they are required to flower.
  • August 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 roses should be done regularly, and flowers trimmed just above the top leaf on the stem; stem cuttings can also be taken for propagating.

Vegetables.

  • When many varieties of peas and beans start cropping, the challenge for gardeners is to replace them with some more productive plants. So consider planting onion sets of garlic.
  • Sowings of Japanese bulb onion Senshyu semi-globe yellow can be made outdoors from mid to late August for harvesting the following July.
  • August sowings can also be made of spring cabbage, Chinese cabbage, corn salad, winter lettuce, and radish.
  • As you lift your potatoes, try replacing them with late-season potatoes which will give you a second crop in October.
  • Main-crop potatoes can be lifted as required for immediate use. If 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 attacks it may be worth considering using a fungicide spray.
  • Potato yields can also benefit from being given extra water.
  • The tips of any climbing shoots of runner beans should be pinched out if 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, or 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 it will affect further flowering, so remember to pick cucumbers on a regular basis.

Fruit.

  • Keep well-watered during dry spells and keep 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 should 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.

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