Tips and ideas for August for your homegrown vegetable garden by the knowledgeable Theresa from Homegrown Market Garden…

With lots of harvesting underway this month it might be easy to forget that there are still jobs to do and new crops to plant! As we remove plants that have finished for the season it’s a good idea to get gaps filled and get new plants underway to keep us in lovely homegrown veg over winter.

Now is time to start planting out your leafy winter crops ready for a winter supply

Of course much will depend on space that’s available in the homegrown garden while things are in full production but we can make use of undersowing and successional sowing this month. New batches of lettuces can be planted in containers, quick growing radishes can be used to fill the smallest of gaps and as we start to think cool season crops we move back towards planting out leafy greens, kales, turnips and spinach in readiness for winter.

This month is also when we begin to think of how to store that lovely produce we have grown. Peppers can be dried, gherkins pickled, fruits jammed and others frozen – a time to get creative in the homegrown kitchen.

In my opinion it’s the best time in the garden since we’re planting future crops while harvesting and enjoying others at the same time. With the recent weather we’ve been having just remember to keep your sunscreen close, and thirsty plants well watered.

This month we could be planting:

  • Kale
  • Chives
  • Pak Choi
  • Amaranth
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Rocket
  • Turnip
  • Radish
  • Perpetual Spinach
  • Oriental Vegetables
  • Kohl rabi
  • Winter lettuces
  • Sprouting broccoli
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spring Cabbage
  • Peas (dwarf varieties only)
  • Land cress

Of course not all of these have to be sown from seed. Our website has a wide range of vegetable, fruit and herb plants that can be planted directly into your gardens this month. These are sustainably grown in Shropshire in recycled materials and delivered directly to your door.

Plants include growing guides showing you how to grow and harvest them – and if that’s not enough, we run a free veg gardening group offering additional support too! See our website for details.

Checklist of Jobs for August

With planting underway there are several additional jobs to be getting on with this month:

  • Pinch out runner bean tops to prevent having to over reach for the beans.
  • Lift and store second early potatoes.
  • Take cuttings for woody herbs such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram and sage.
  • Keep on top of pest control. A soft soap liquid solution works well.
  • Thin seedlings to prevent overcrowding and water well if the soil is dry after thinning. The transplants may be situated elsewhere to get another crop.
  • Keep the greenhouse well ventilated and damp down the floors to help the humidity.
  • Harvest and dry a wide variety of fresh herbs to use later in the season.
  • Lift and store early beetroot. They taste more tender when harvested before they reach the size of a tennis ball.
  • Keep harvesting your vegetables to encourage production. In some cases, the more you pick the more you get!
  • Continue to feed tomatoes and peppers but reduce the watering towards the end of the months to help the chillies to ripen.
  • Completely remove and turn the contents of the compost bin. There will be plenty of green waste added this month so it pays to turn before it gets overfull.
  • Make a new strawberry bed with the runners from the existing plants.
  • Keep an eye on courgettes and pick them while they are still young. They seem to grow in the blink of an eye!
  • Lift and dry onions, shallots and garlic for use in the coming months.
  • Continue to sow catch crops such as radish or gem lettuce.
Beans can be topped to prevent them climbing too high if they are on canes or string. So any beans produced can be easily reached and harvested.
Turning your compost bin at the right time will help with the rotting process and ensure you get plenty of mature compost at the end of the season.

And let’s not forget composting, with advice from Garden Organic:

  • The compost heap should be a mix of brown and green material in a roughly 50:50 ratio. If your heap is dry, water it and then add grass clippings, nettles or comfrey leaves to speed up the decomposition process. If too wet, scrumpled cardboard or shredded/scrunched up paper will create air pockets and prevent lawn cuttings going slimey.
  • Perennial weeds have roots full of minerals. Don’t waste them. Add the foliage to the compost bin, and stuff the roots into a plastic sack. Add water or a urine/water mix (1 part urine/20 parts water) and tie the sack top. Leave for a month or two, until the weeds are sludgy. This gloop can now be added to the compost. ü For full advice on compost making, see Garden Organics page on Home Composting.

I hope you find this useful. If you’re a keen home gardener or allotmenteer (or would like to be) why not consider joining our growing community Homegrown Gardening Group. It’s free and all are welcome.

Happy growing!


Homegrown Market Garden

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot