What to do in August
August is usually one of the best months for harvest in the container garden. Courgettes, tomatoes, chillies, runner beans and soft fruit are all ripening and delicious.
Jobs to do in the container garden this month include
- Tying up and support
- Tidying up, cutting back
- Feeding and watering
- Sowing for winter
1. Tying up and supportFruiting crops like tomatoes and squash can get quite top heavy this month as the fruit fills out. If not supported, stems may break or plants may fall over. Use canes, sticks, cages - be as creative as you like - to support your crops. Be particularly sure to check this when heavy rain or strong winds are forecast.
2. Tidying up, cutting back.When growing in a small space, you can often find that some plants will start overshadowing others, particularly at this time of year. You can remove some of the leaves without harming the plant. (As a general rule of thumb don't remove more than a third of the leaves in one go). You can do this to expose tomatoes to the sun to ripen, to take off leaves that are shading over crops, or simply to remove old, withered leaves. This job is best done on a dry day to minimise the risk of disease.
3. Feeding and wateringSee July notes.
4. PickingAs a general rule of thumb, the more you pick the more you get. This is particularly true for runner beans (pick them small to encourage more to grow) and courgettes (zucchini).
5. Sowing crops for winterIf your climate is warm enough, (most of the UK is, for example), sowing some things now for winter can be a really good idea because:
- Pots full of winter veg simply look so much better than bare pots.
- Winter crops will help prevent nutrients leaching out of your soil.
- And of course, it's incredibly rewarding to be able to pop outside in winter and pick a salad - and winter grown leaves often taste better, too!