Jobs for August

Now is a good time to stock up on plants that will provide late summer and early autumn colour in your borders. Plants such as Echinacea, crocosmia, sedum, phlox and helenium all look good now and will establish before winter.

On hot days hanging baskets can dry out very quickly and the plants may start to wilt a little. If this happens it is a good idea to take down the baskets and sit it in a bowl or bucket of water for half an hour to allow water to soak into the compost. Continue to feed weekly to encourage more flowers to the end of summer.

August is when we start to harvest the first apples from the garden with varieties such as ‘Discovery’ and ‘Irish Peach’. These early apples do not store for long and are best picked and eaten straight away. To test when apples are ready to harvest, hold the fruit and give a gentle twist. If it’s ripe it will leave the tree without any tugging!

Once lavender bushes stop flowering the old flowering stems can be trimmed off with shears to keep the plants bushy and compost.

To have a handy supply of fresh herbs over the autumn and winter, plant a hanging baskets with a selection of herbs now, such as thyme, marjoram, parsley, sage and rosemary.

Tomatoes should be ripening now and to help them along, remove some of the lower leaves from the plants to improve the air flow and feed with tomato fertiliser.

Vine weevils can be a real problem in containers where the small cream coloured grubs eat plant roots. Control the grubs by using nematodes watered into the compost, or by drenching with a soil insecticide, but remember, do not use both methods.