In the Vegetable Garden
This is the month when you will find yourself bringing in vegetable harvest. Your early main crop potatoes will be adorning your plate alongside French beans, Runner beans and cabbage. This is a month of plenty. You’ll be stringing up onions, plucking tomatoes daily and wondering what to do with it all. Potatoes last for months and store well, beans can be pickled or frozen, red cabbages can be pickled. Beware courgettes will be turning to marrows over night, so stay on top of the cutting of courgettes and lettuces, picking of beans. If you’re on holiday this month you will have to accept that you may have a marrow or two on your return or that your ready to eat Runner beans will have swelled to large and knobbly monsters. All is not lost when this happens, marrows store well and are useful in stews and most beans can be left on the plant to dry. The beans can then be shelled, used in casseroles or saved as seed for next year. Save some money, save your own seed.
It’s not over for sowing a late crop outdoors. You can grow Lambs Lettuce, harvesting a few leaves at a time, treat it like spinach and cover over with cloches when the first frosts come (from Dobies at www.dobies.co.uk). You can get a quick cash crop of Radishes, try the new variety, Amethyst, the seed companies claim that it is free of that pithy taste that pervades some Radishes at this time of year (from Marshalls at www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk). If you have never considered the humble Turnip, subject to many a Blackadder joke, then dip your hand in with the fast growing Aramis, great in soups and roasted (from Mr Fothergills at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk).
In the Flower Garden
Keep deadheading your annuals and other perennials. If you have not dead headed your Lupins yet you need to do so or else the growing seed pods could weaken the plant. Even in August you have to think ahead, and if we have another bad winter, your perennials will need all the strength they can get stored in their roots.
You can still sow seed during this month and here are a couple of my favourites are the bawdy and gorgeous, sluttish, Michaelmas Daisy (at Marshalls at www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk) and under glass, start thinking of next spring with Wallflowers, try your hand at a few varieties like the cherry hues of Aurora (from Mr Fothergills at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk) and the velvet like blood petals of Scarlet Bedder (from Mr Fothergills).