The end of winter is near, meaning this month is all about preparing your garden for spring
. A change in season often means that the needs of your plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs also change, and the care you give them requires some tweaking. Prepare your garden for a fresh burst of colour and new growth by following our August gardening guide.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR AUGUST
Plant & Sow
- Plant spring-flowering seedlings such as alyssum, begonias, calendulas, cinerarias, fairy primrose, impatiens, lobelias, marigolds, pansies, petunias, poppies, snapdragons, and stocks.
- Sow vegetables such as beetroot, brinjal, beans, cabbage, carrot, green pepper, lettuce, marrows, spinach, turnips, and tomato for harvest in summer.
- Plant summer-flowering bulbs and rhizomes like cannas, dahlias, gladiolus, golden arum, nerines, spider lilies, tigridia, and watsonias.
Prune & Trim
- Feed your clematis and fuchsia plants every two weeks with a fertiliser such as Seagro, Nitrosol or MultiFeed. You’ll be rewarded with thicker growth and more blooms in summer if you pinch out the tips now.
- Start hydrangeas on a blueing programme by feeding them with 25g of aluminium sulphate once every two weeks.
- Cut back bougainvilleas which have finished flowering. Fertilise with 2:3:2 and water well. Stop feeding and watering when first buds appear, to encourage the development of flowers.
- Feed winter-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, with bulb food to supply nutrients for next year’s blooms. Don’t remove the yellowing foliage as this also helps to feed the bulbs.
- Feed fruit trees, vines and berry-bearing plants with a fertiliser that is high in nitrogen, such as 4:1:1.
- Make sure you prune your roses before the middle of August, if you haven’t already done so.
- Prune autumn and winter-flowering climbers and shrubs such as Cape honeysuckle, cassias, euryops daisy, golden shower, lion’s ear, plumbago and poinsettia.
- Divide and replant perennials such as agapanthus, cannas, golden rod, Michaelmas and Shasta daisies, lobelias, phlox, wild iris and wild garlic.
- Prune evergreen fruit trees, such as lemons, limes and ornamental orange trees.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Grow your own: Carrots
- In August, the following fruit will be ready to harvest: avocado, bananas, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartjies, limes, kumquat, guava, loquats, paw-paw, pineapples, cape gooseberries, granadilla and kiwi fruit.
- This month is a bumper harvest of vegetables, including asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, black radish, Japanese white radish-daikon, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, cucumber, endive, horseradish, kale, leeks, garlic-scarce, lettuce, mushrooms, new potatoes, onion, pak choi, parsley, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spring onion, Swiss Chard, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tatsoi and turnips.
- Herbs such mint, sage, thyme, marjoram, oreganum, rosemary, fennel, bay leaves, lavender, parsley, dandelion, nasturtiums, garlic chives, winter savoury, calendula, nettle, rocket, sage, bulb fennel, perennial basil, sorrel, bloody sorrel, lemon grass stems, lime leaves, cat mint, green and red mustard and garden cress will all be in abundance in August.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene (a form of vitamin A), and rich in vitamins C, B1 and B2. Freshly-picked carrots taste vastly different to the ones you buy in the supermarket. If there is any vegetable worth growing yourself, it must surely be the humble carrot, which can be used raw in salads, cooked and eaten on their own, or added to soups, stews and other dishes. Experiment with different varieties, available in purple, red, white and yellow. Here’s how to grow your own:
Did you know?
- Clear out a patch of sandy or loamy soil, with a pH of about 6.0–6.8, by removing stones, rocks, and even large pieces of bark. Obstructions in the soil tend to result in a misshapen, stunted crop.
- Carrots thrive in loose soil that is deeply-tilled. Avoid using poorly-drained, heavier soils, as well as light soils that could be easily blown away.
- It’s best to sow carrot seeds in rows, so plant seeds directly into beds of about 1cm in depth, and about 2cm apart.
- Carrots are known to be slow to germinate, and it’s important to water regularly and keep the soil moist. To help retain moisture and speed up germination, gently mulch around seedlings.
- Fertilise with a balanced fertiliser about 5-6 weeks after sowing.
Only 3% of beta carotene is released during the digestive process when we eat carrots raw. Try pulping or cooking your carrots — this ensures that about 39% of the beta carotene is released.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE: