August in the garden

David Williams talks about the August garden

August in Britain is all about flower shows and church fetes. These however are becoming less and less common every year. Many site things such as running out of money, committee fall outs or lack of help from the local community as reasons for the decline. But there are many successful flower shows that carry on regardless, year after year. These are a British institution and it would be a shame if they didn’t carry on. One show that was lost many years ago was the Northampton town produce show. This was a big show that was well attended and everyone looked forward to it every year.  This show is now seeing a rejuvenation and will be back on the 19th20th of August. Although this will be on a smaller scale than the original show the spirit and atmosphere will be the same. Like all of these shows, however, they are only possible with people getting involved. If you have grown some flowers and vegetables this year then why not take them along to your local show, or if you cook, bake a great cake. There are usually lots of classes for children to take part in too.

Back in the garden there is still a lot to be getting on with, especially if you want your flowers and produce looking tip top for a local show. In the vegetable garden there are always jobs that need doing. Watering will be one job that you will be doing regularly unless we have a normal wet summer! Your onions should be ready to harvest about now. Dig them up with a trowel, cut the green tops and roots off then place upside down on your greenhouse bench. Do the same for your garlic and shallots as well, if you have not yet harvested them. Keep sowing your salad crops every couple of weeks so you get a constant supply of salad leaves throughout the summer. It is also a great time to consider sowing some crops that will be ready to harvest through the winter, such as Japanese onions, kale, cauliflower and cabbage to name a few. Also cut back your herbs to prevent them from going to flower. This will also encourage lots of new growth which is what you need to cook with.

In the flower garden there will be plenty of dead heading to be done. This needs to be done regularly so that the flowers keep coming. If you have sweet peas, keep cutting off the dead flowers before they go to seed. The more flowers you cut off the more flowers will come. Cut back any perennials that have finished flowering. I always like to have a few bedding plants growing in pots. These can be used to fill in gaps made when you cut back any perennials. This will keep your borders full of colour all summer long.