Friday, August 1, 2008

August in the Garden

August is the most difficult month with unpredictable frosts and strong cold winds, but also some warm sunny spells. Except for sandy soils the ground is still wet and cold so only a limited range of seeds and plants can be planted. Repair paths and drives and complete alterations. Check over all spraying equipment.

Vegetable garden

Prepare soil for vegetable planting.

Sow seeds of lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage, silver beet, onions, leeks, early carrots, radish, early peas, spinach, parsnips and parsley.

Plant early potatoes and shallots

Dig in green crops

Lay bait for slugs and snails in all parts of the garden.

Clean up globe artichoke plants. Dig and divide if necessary.

Ornamental Garden

Plant out pansies, sweet peas and other late spring bedding plants

Plant out and prune roses

Plant out new shrubs in permanent positions

Take care and look out for spring bulbs coming through the ground so they want be damaged

Take cuttings of chrysanthemums

Watch out for slug damage on tender plants and new shoots


Spring clean the glasshouse and wash down the walls, roof etc with disinfectant to control pests and diseases.

Tuberous begonia tubers should be cleaned and set out in trays to start growth.

Bring in spring bulbs for forcing into early flowering in pots.

Bring in potted shrubs for flowering indoors - azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons.

Fertilise pot plants that are grown for display.

Watch for pests and diseases and apply preventative sprays.

Plant some chicory roots and keep in the dark.

Pot up early tomato plants.

Potted fuchsias that are shooting should be repotted.

Sow seeds of early summer flowering annuals indoors

Sow seeds of tender vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes indoors

Indoor Plants

Cymbidium orchids should still be in flower but old flower spikes can be removed and plants placed outside if frost is not a problem.

Repot all plants that are pot bound and starved.

Give potted plants some slow release fertiliser for spring growth.

Home Orchard

Complete all pruning urgently

Spray fruit trees with all seasons spraying oil to control; pests and diseases

Plant out strawberry plants


Spray peaches, nectarines, citrus, tamarillos, almonds, apricots, with copper oxychloride to prevent curly leaf. Repeat at bud-burst and after petal fall. Spray for scale insects with oil or a with a systemic insecticide. Check for leaf rollers and caterpillars and spray with all purpose insecticide. Spray grapes for fungus diseases with all purpose fungicide. In late August spray raspberries, boysenberries, strawberries for fungus diseases.


Rake lawns and then aerate with a fork 50-75mm deep.

Apply fertiliser of 3 parts sulphate of ammonia and 1 part superphosphate to older lawns.

Trim lawn edges to get the garden edge into its correct shape.

Top dress lawns with sieved soil to level out hollows, sow seed if necessary.

Cut grass at least one notch higher than summer.

Lawns on clay are greatly improved by a top dressing of river sand.

Turf any worn areas or areas needing repair.

Lawns on poor soils can be top dressed with rich soil.

Planting trees and shrubs

Plants are expensive and good soil preparation will ensure excellent growth and flowering.

Dig a hole 2-3 times larger than the size of the container. Not just in width but also in depth. By digging up the bottom of the hole so the soil is loose better soil drainage is obtained and the roots can travel down into the soil unimpeded. Without good drainage it is like putting plants in a bucket that is going to fill with water as soon as it rains and the plant will most likely die.

Remove the shrub from the container and tease out some of the roots to ensure they will have good contact with the soil.

Place the plant in the hole so that top of the root ball is level with the rest of the garden. Do not plant it too deep or to shallow as this will cause the plant to suffer and probably die. When placing the soil around the roots add some compost and long lasting all purpose fertiliser to improve its fertility.

Firm the soil into place by using your foot and finally smooth out the garden and then water well. Plants that are well planted grow better, are healthier and produce a great display in the garden. The extra effort is worth it.

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