This August gardening calendar has been produced by Mantis on order to make your summer gardening as enjoyable and successful as possible. If you are new to our gardening calendars, make sure you look over our July and June editions as well. This guide looks at everything you could or should be doing in your garden throughout August, and it covers lawn care, garden care, fruit and vegetables and a variety of other common gardening activities.
Lawn Care in August
Keep on top of mowing – You should still be mowing once or twice a week, although do this on a high setting, to ensure the grass roots are protected from the sun. Leaving the cuttings on the top will help to keep moisture in during dry spells
Remember to dethatch – There may be a build-up of debris at root level due to the high setting mowing so dethatching is essential. The dethatcher/rake attachment for your Mantis Tiller is ideal for this job.
Prepare for winter – In late August you need to prepare you lawn for the winter months. You can do this by scarifying and aerating, which will expose the roots to moisture. There is a useful aerating attachment for you Mantis Tiller that will make this job much easier. Thatch that builds up over the summer months can act as a barrier to air and carbon dioxide and actually soak up water that falls on the surface, denying the roots of sufficient moisture, which can lead to an unhealthy lawn.
Top dress the lawn – This involves adding a soil mix to the top of the grass. This will aid decomposition of the thatch beneath the surface and also improve the soil quality ready for new growth in the spring.
Garden Care in August
Remember to keep watering containers and hanging baskets – They will need to be watered every day right through the summer. If you are going on holiday, remember to ask a neighbour or family member to come in and do this for as you don’t want to come home a load of dead foliage. Alternatively, you can get an automatic watering system from most garden centres. These are controlled by a timer and will keep things regularly watered until you return.
Feed containers and hanging baskets – Do this every two weeks or so to keep them flowering for longer.
Stop feeding your roses around now – If you continue to feed them, this will encourage soft fresh growth which won’t have time to mature and could end up diseased as a result.
Take some cuttings – it is a good time to take cuttings of favourite plants and propagate them for next year’s garden. Do this by taking a 2-3” shoot from the parent plant just below a leaf node. Remove any larger leaves as it is important the leaves are not touching each other or they may rot off. Also remove leaves from the lower part of the cutting. Dip the tip in some hormone rooting powder then plant them up to the first set of leaves and pack the compost down around it to eliminate any air, which will prevent the cutting from ‘striking’. Water gently and then place them in a propagator on a window sill, out of direct sunlight, until they have rooted and are strong enough to transfer to larger single pots.
Prune climbing plants – Such as climbing roses, wisteria when they have stopped flowering. You can also prune your summer blooming shrubs once flowers are no longer appearing. Pruning at this time of year helps to prevent the plant from getting too bushy and will encourage new flowers to grow next year.
Cut back tired looking perennials – they may not flower again this year, but pruning them now will encourage fresh looking new growth keeping them looking healthy.
Fruit & Veg Care in August
There is still planting/sowing to do – You can still plant new crops at this time of year. Spring bulbs such as Japanese Onions can be sown directly into the soil now and can be left until spring when they can be harvested. For a spring harvest, cabbages and broccoli can be planted now and cauliflower that were sown earlier in the year can now be transplanted and should provide you with a harvest in January. Other seeds to sow now include radishes, spinach, carrots, spring onions salad leaves and turnips.
Harvesting the last of your summer fruiting veg – Such as broad beans and peas and you should still be pulling tomatoes, chillies and peppers off their vines for a couple of weeks yet.
Remember to feed your pumpkins – Ready for harvesting at Halloween, feeding every couple of weeks should ensure some monsters for the children.
Winter squashes can be planted now – Winter varieties are tougher and beefier with a sweeter taste. If your soil is poor you can create a squash bed by choosing a spot, covering it with cardboard and a layer of manure or good compost. Plant the seedlings into this and water in well. The cardboard will rot away but it will retain moisture and nutrients in the meantime and provide the perfect growing conditions for your squashes.
Keep a check on disease and pests – Check the underside leaves of your brassicas for eggs for the Cabbage White butterfly and blight on tomatoes and potatoes. Remove the butterfly eggs from brassicas and the affected leaves from blight-infected plants to prevent it spreading.
Harvest your herbs – If you have a herb garden, keep harvesting them to encourage new growth; you can always dry or freeze these for use at a later date.
Put straw beneath your strawberries, squashes and pumpkins – This helps to protect the plants and fruit from pests and disease such as slugs and rot and it also keeps them clean. You can then throw the straw into your Mantis Compostumbler once the plants have stopped producing fruit.
Prepare your beds for winter – Consider planting some green manure to help to improve the soil in your growing beds for the next season. This will provide good cover, preventing weeds from taking hold during the winter and can then be turned into the soil in early spring using your Mantis Tiller, to rot down and release nutrients, providing great conditions for the next season. Some varieties to choose from include alfalfa, grazing rye and crimson clover.
Other Gardening Activities in August
Keep your patio tidy – Sweep it regularly to prevent weeds appearing and if they do, treat with a path weed killer (always follow manufacturer instructions).
Keep your bird bath topped up – If you have one, ensure it is topped up so the local wildlife can cool down on warm days.
Keep on top of plants in your pond – Trim them back so that they don’t take over. Once they die off, they will build up into a slimy mush, keeping them trimmed helps to prevent this. Also, keep checking the filter is clear and clean if necessary. However, avoid over cleaning your pond.
Keep your greenhouse ventilated – It can get very hot at this time of year so it is important to ensure that you open the windows and try to avoid plants sitting in direct sun. There are a few products at your garden centre to assist with this such as shade netting, shade paints or internal and external blinds. If it does get very hot, spray some water into the air to cool it down.
Please get in touch with Mantis if you have any questions about our range of tillers or our tiller attachments. A tiller can be an invaluable tool for any serious gardener and we’re happy to help however we can. Similarly, please get in touch if you have any questions about this August gardening calendar.