The August garden

with David Williams

Watering at this time of the year can be a time consuming job for the gardener however, as we are spending hours watering every day. With this in mind it is a good idea to prioritise what needs the water the most.

Pots, hanging baskets and the greenhouse are top of the list as they are completely reliant on you for water. Second is any newly planted trees and shrubs that have not got their roots down into the ground yet.

Next it is best to turn your attention to the vegetable garden. Vegetables need lots of water to prevent them from going woody and running to seed. The extra time spent here will give you a bigger and better crop. Established borders should not need extra water unless it has been dry for a long period instead concentrate on the plants that are showing stress and give water to them rather than watering the whole border.

I wouldn’t worry about trees and shrubs as their roots go down deep and are able to get water from lower in the soil where other plants cannot.

No matter how brown your lawn gets it will always come back to life after a good rain so unless you are obsessed with a perfect green lawn all year round I would save your water for the plants that really do need it.

August in Britain is all about flower shows and church fates. They are happening up and down the Four Shires, Although they are becoming less and less common every year I hear about events that are never going to take place again. This is usually down to the fact that they have run out of money to put it on.

Banbury flower and produce show will be taking place this month on the 19th August. Once again it will go hand in hand with the Banbury Food Fair which offers an eclectic mix of cuisine for you to try.

There will still be lots to do in the garden especially if you want your stuff looking tip top for a show.

In the vegetable garden your onions should be ready to harvest about now. To get the best results, 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 for all your salads. But it is also time to consider sowing some crops for you to harvest through the winter such as Japanese onions, kale, cauliflower and cabbage to name but a few. Also cut back your herbs to prevent them from going to flower it will also encourage lots of new growth which is what you need to cook with.

There will be plenty of dead heading to be done in the flower garden. It is important to do this regularly so that the flowers keep coming. Especially if you have sweet peas, keep on 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 that I can plant into gaps made when you cut back. This way, your border will keep looking good and full of colour all summer long.