August gardening jobs

August gardening jobs
    With most of the summer's big sporting events over, now could be the time to devote your full attention to your garden. 

If you're not a particularly big fan of sport, the chances are you've been doing plenty of gardening to get away from it all, so you'll probably have a bit of a headstart.

Unless you're heading to sunnier climes for a holiday, there are plenty of jobs to do in August  – and hopefully you'll get the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labours on those long, balmy evenings.

If you have wisteria plants, you should make sure you prune them this month. Trim back the whippy green shoots of the current year's growth to five or six leaves after it has flowered.

One of your main tasks now should be deadheading – this ensures plants grow for longer and more flowers are produced. 

The easiest way to deadhead plants is to use your finger and thumb, but you can use secateurs, scissors or a knife if they have tough or stringy stems. Remove spent flowers as soon as they begin to look unattractive.

Probably the most obvious task you'll need to do this month is watering – particularly if you're lucky enough to live in one of the drier parts of the country. Containers and new plants will require special attention and you should use rainwater or recycled water whenever possible.

Several types of vegetables will need to be harvested: sweetcorn, courgettes, french and runner beans and second early potatoes should be ready, and you should start harvesting main crop potatoes as the leaves yellow and die back.

Fruit plants also need tending to at this time of year. Cut back the fruited canes of your summer raspberries, ensuring they are ready for next year's crop. Strawberry runners can be lifted up and planted to make sure you get a good crop next year

You should also prune restricted fruits this month when the bottom third of the new shoots are stiff and woody. For pears, this should be anytime from mid-July, while for apples it should be the third week in august. Cut back new shoots over 20 cm long to three leaves above the basal cluster.

If you have ponds and water features, you'll need to make sure these are topped up. And let's not forget our feathered friends – if you have a bird bath, you should top it up with water to provide a bit of relief on hot days.

It's also time to think about collecting seeds from some of your favourite plants to store for next year. Only take seeds from your most vigorous and healthy plants, and do so on a dry day once the seedheads ripen.

Nuts can be collected by hand at the time when they naturally fall. Alternatively, place a blanket underneath a tree and shake the branches until they fall off.

And, of course, sit back, put your feet up, relax and soak up as much sunshine as you can – you've earned it. 

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