It’s the holiday month of August and that represents two important things for gardening enthusiasts. Firstly: it could be a hot and dry period – therefore plants might suffer. Secondly: there might be the opportunity for a holiday – so the garden might be vacant for a while.
These both pose a bit of a problem and it is based on that all-important resource: water.
Gardeners are clever folk, however, and challenges are good!
Plants do need water and feed regularly, especially those confined in hanging baskets, in pots and containers and especially those in a sunny position and plants growing against a south-facing wall. Not to mention vegetables that need nurturing in order to convert moisture into delicious flavour!
- Irrigation systems are a great investment. The ‘leaky hose’ arrangement means you can simply set it up, turn it on and leave it to drip while you are away. Some systems have plastic reservoirs which can be used to feed the plants. Others run off the mains system. They are a great labour-saving device that you might want to employ throughout the summer.
- Water hydrangeas with a colourant if you want them to turn blue next year. It’s all about acid and alkaline. Hydrangeas change colour (except for the white ones) based on the pH level of your soil. The more alkaline the soil, the pinker the flowers. To make pink hydrangeas turn blue (or to keep your blue ones from turning pink), increase the acidity of your soil. Or add a colourant.
- Keep weeding! Little and often is the gardener’s friend. You can use a hoe in dry weather – it’s a great labour-saving tool.
- Mow less frequently. Just use your mower to tidy up the lawn as it will stay greener if it is a left slightly longer.
- Keep harvesting! This is an abundant month so invite your neighbours in if you are away. They can enjoy the fruits of your harvest too.
- Courgettes, for example, make more flowers and fruits the more you pick, so keep doing it!
- Tomatoes need consistent watering to avoid blossom end rot. You can also ‘stop’ outdoor tomatoes by pinching out the growing shoots.
- You can still sow salad crops outside.
- Harvest onions, garlic and all your green vegetables such as beans. Freeze the surplus or delight friends and neighbours.