August is a busy, productive month in the garden.
The vegetable garden is at full tilt & we’re realising the fruits of our labours, picking vegetables for our dinner most evenings this month. So far we’ve had courgettes, spinach, beans & purple podded peas. The latter have been finally weakened by mildew, but I’d definitely grow them again, they can be eaten as mange-tout or left to grow & develop into peas .. & they look pretty too.
It feels very good to have simple meals with fresh, organic food, but it’s also time to plan ahead for autumn & winter vegetables.
We eat salad every day -even if it’s just a small amount in a sandwich- & want to continue for as long as possible. Hardy leaves like rocket, lambs lettuce & mizuna are the ones to go for now, they’re pretty hardy, but need covering with one of those little fleece tunnels for protection in harsh winter weather.
I haven’t grown any this year, favouring perpetual spinach instead this year, but there’s time for a final sowing of swiss chard. It tastes and looks lovely, & small leaves can be used in salads and larger ones steamed like spinach.
There’s a limit to what we can grow in 6 raised beds, right now there are winter squash & leeks to keep us going through most of the winter.
It’s satisfying ( & cheap) to grow plants from seed, but if, like me, you haven’t got round to it, most garden centres sell small winter vegetable plants. I’m buying baby cabbage plants to fill one of the empty spaces.
Meanwhile in the rest of the garden, there aren’t many of them, but the roses are having a second flush of flowers.
The garden looks a bit tired at this stage in the summer, but late summer perennials, like Rudbeckia & Achillea, really come into their own now, taking over from the early summer flowers. The garden would be a lot duller without the hardy geranium, Rozanne. It’s a stalwart of my summer border, flowering all summer long, it’ll continue well into autumn..
It’s a good time to spread rotted-down compost over damp, bare earth. Short term it revives tired plants & in the long term helps to improve the soil, a dose of organic fertiliser will help too.
Our lawn was reduced by half in the big re-design last year, growing food not a big lawn makes sense to me. The other bonus is that it only takes 10 minutes to cut, & a mown lawn makes the biggest difference if you only have a little time to spruce up the garden.
The grass is left to fend for itself & seems to cope well, I put this down to not cutting it too short, which generally just weakens it.
I hope your garden is doing well, enjoy the rest of the month.
all photos: Jill Anderson.