An unexpected benefit of this unusual year is that we get to enjoy August in the garden, a month when many of us are usually away.
We can stay on top of watering and enjoy our borders and pots at their flowery peak. There’s also plenty of harvest in the veg garden and we can sow new crops for harvesting later in the year.
For in-depth advice about what to do in your garden every month, subscribe to Which? Gardening magazine for only £5 – either online or by calling 029 2267 0000.
1. Trim hedges
Hedges need a trim at least once a year to keep them looking neat – fast-growing ones, such as leylandii, need trimming two or three times. August is a good month to do the job as hedges will have plenty of new growth that needs to be cut to get them back to their original outline.
- Check that there are no active birds’ nests in the hedge as it is illegal to disturb them.
- Lay a tarpaulin under the hedge for the clippings to fall onto, making it easier to tidy up at the end.
- You can set up a string line as a guide to help you cut in a straight line or just use your eye to judge.
- Cordless hedge trimmers are easiest as there’s no cable to accidentally cut, although petrol trimmers are best for large hedges. The longer the cutting blade the quicker it’ll get through the hedge, but the harder it will be to control, so try before you buy. Check our Best Buy hedge trimmers.
- After trimming, put the trimmings in the compost heap or green-waste bin.
- Give your hedge a boost by watering it with seaweed feed, splashing it over the whole hedge.
- Remove any weeds growing underneath and mulch the bare soil with garden compost or well-rotted manure.
Watch out video guide to cutting your hedge
2. Cut your lawn as needed
August can be a dry month, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and don’t bother to cut your grass during dry periods as it won’t be growing strongly.
If it does start to look untidy, raise the height of the cutting blades to leave the grass longer as it will cope better with the stress of being cut.
If we do get a drought and the grass turns brown, don’t bother to water it as it will soon turn green again once the rain returns.
Check out our top five lawn mowers
3. Feed your tomatoes
Tomatoes will be growing strongly and producing fruit. To help them produce the best crops, feed them with a tomato feed at least once a week and make sure you water them every day.
Remove the sideshoots that appear between the main shoot and the leaves. When it’s mid-August, remove the main growing tip at the top of the plant. This will stop the plant producing more flowers and concentrate the plant’s energies on ripening the fruits it’s already produced before the shorter days and colder nights of autumn.
4. Sow veg
Be prepared to fill gaps as they appear when other crops are harvested, by sowing veg in module trays or pots. Use a Best Buy compost for sowing seeds.
Good veg to sow now includes:
- Kohl rabi
- Chinese cabbage
- Spring onions
- Autumn onion sets – late August
- Spring cabbage – late August
5. Water your patio pots
Keep patio pots and baskets in full flower by watering them every day. Even if you added controlled-release feed at planting time, your plants may be starting to run out of steam so feed them at least once a week with tomato food in the water.
Remove old flowers as they fade as this will keep your plants looking tidy and also encourage them to produce more blooms.