"Whilst August yet wears her golden crown"

As our thoughts turn to getting away, possibly to a lovely, secluded space or sunny beach or conversely to the pell-mell helter-skelter of theme parks, the garden still needs some care and attention. Whilst long established plants can survive irregular rainfall and longer spells without water, vegetables in general benefit from a good soak. Keeping any emerging seedlings well-watered is vital.

So although you might not be thinking of sowing afresh, some you can make now for catch crops of different salad leaves before the frosts or some tender vegetables for Christmas or spring cabbages for harvesting next year are as follows:

By sowing oriental leaves, rocket, spinach, pak choi, endive and chicory this month means they are less likely to bolt as they mature in the cooler weeks ahead. Others to consider include wild rocket, chervil, flat leaved parsley, coriander, land cress, sorrel, winter purslane (claytonia) and hardier varieties of lettuce such as Arctic King to see you through the autumn and early winter. Kohl rabi, winter hardy spring onions, winter radishes and turnips 

If you can cover with cold frame or cloche later, then sowings of mustards for stir fries from mid-August plus corn salad, kohl rabi, land cress, lettuce and rocket. Spring cabbages, spinach, winter hardy spring onions as well as Japanese onions from late August will overwinter for harvest early spring. Some crops are fully hardy such as kale, chicory, winter radish (mooli), mustards, spinach, swiss chard and spinach beet.

If you have cleared a patch, don’t leave it bare whilst you’re away. Sow some green manures – fast owing these help suppress weeds, retain moisture and nutrients although they require digging back in. Clover, trefoil, buckwheat, phacelia, grazing rye and winter tares all provide varying benefits depending on your situation and soil type.

TIP: remove central growing tip from tomato plants mid-August which helps ripen fruit. 

title quote from August Crown by Michelle L Thieme


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