Buds on deciduous trees are swelling, there’s an abundance of citrus and spring bulbs are standing tall ready to show their faces next month. August is just so close to spring that you can practically smell it.
What to sow this month from seed: broad beans, carrots, broccoli cauliflower, bokchoy, onions, peas, rocket, lettuce, radishes, silver beet, spinach
What to plant this month from seedlings: asparagus, onions, broccoli, cabbages, garlic, silver beet, lettuce.
Prepare garden beds for spring planting
With the harsh winter weather nearly behind us, we can asses the damage it has done to the soil. The pounding of the rain will have compacted it as well as people stepping on it when it’s wet.
Take time this month to prepare your vegetable beds and return them to their former glory by adding organic matter to the soil in the form of compost, sheep pellets, aged manure, and by cultivating it well. Take care not to dig over your garden too much, unless absolutely necessary, as this disturbs the intricate Eco systems set up below the soil.
Enjoy your citrus
Home grown citrus is at its best right now. If you’re overloaded with fruit, there are an over load of recipes out there to make sure it’s all put to good use. Try middle eastern preserved lemons to add a citrus kick to roast chicken, salad dressing or pastas. Tui Garden Products has a great recipe on their website. You can find it here.
Plant salad greens in containers
Things can still take a little longer to grow as the sun doesn’t stay up as long as it will in spring and summer. Growing salad greens such as rocket in containers means you can place them in the sunniest spots and move them around if need be. They grow quickly and offer a ‘cut and come again’ harvest so you can be eating fresh salad greens as you please.
Start a compost bin
If you haven’t got one already, setting up a compost bin will help you get rid of all the fallen leaves and plant debris as well as kitchen scraps, vacuum dust, pet hair and newspaper. You don’t actually need a physical bin, if you have a room to make a compost heap do so, as the bins do fill up quickly.
A compost heap needs a mix of ‘brown layers’ and ‘green layers’. The brown provide the carbon and are things like twigs, dead leaves and newspaper. The green provide the nitrogen and are your fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, eggshells etc.
You want to layer your compost like a lasagna. For each layer of brown, add a layer of green. Try make sure no pieces are too big in your compost as they’ll take longer to break down. Then you wait as the worms do their thing and break it down for you. To speed things up, cover the compost to keep it warm (with a lid if it’s a bin or a burlap sack if it’s a heap) and add an occasional sprinkle of Blood and Bone.
Start seedlings inside
You can get well a head in your spring planting by starting seedlings inside. I will do a more in depth post on this later on this month.
Plant Fruit Trees
It’s still a good time to plant deciduous fruit trees right now, but do so before they start to blossom. Garden centres should have them on special now which is an added bonus.
Treat Leaf curl
My nectarine and peach trees were affected by leaf curl last year. If yours were too, treat them now with an organic copper oxy spray such as this one. If you don’t, it’s most likely that your trees will get affected again by the fungal spores left over winter.