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What to do in your veg patch in August

Here is a great resource to help you grow great fruit and veg at home from our friends at Garden Organic. Like BigBarn Garden Organic work with schools to get kids growing veg and they are supporting our petition to get Food Growing on the national curriculum (please sign here).

So here is what they are suggesting to do in August:

August is the time of bumper harvests in all parts of the garden. Lettuces, beans, potatoes and peas all waiting to be harvested and enjoyed. Flower colours tend toward hot yellows, oranges and purples. We are almost in autumn, so take a little time to savour the delights of summer.

Water well in dry spells – especially beans, cucumbers, marrows, leeks and celery. But watch out for potato and tomato blight, as well as mildew, in warm, damp weather.

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Vegetables

Runner beans failing to set is due to lack of moisture at the roots. In dry weather, water well, at a rate of 5-10lt /sq m into the soil, twice a week. Contrary to popular belief, spraying flowers with water does not increase flower set. Plants grown over a winter compost trench (pictured) will be especially happy with their roots embedded in a rich and moist environment. It is normal for runner beans to produce more flowers than can possibly set as beans; expect a 50% loss.
Tie in tomatoes, keep pinching out side shoots, and take off the top shoot to stop after the final truss. Keep feeding with liquid comfrey feed once a week.
Earth up and stake tall winter greens
Cut away old leaves from squashes and pumpkins to help fruits ripen
Harvest garlic, shallots and onions. See Harvesting and Storage

Fruit
Keep soil around fruit trees and bushes in good condition, especially in hot dry spells this month. Container grown plants and those on dwarfing rootstocks are especially vulnerable in dry weather.

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Mulch well, but always onto wet soil. Leave a gap around the stem or trunk to allow air flow. Grass mowings, leafmould, rough compost and similar materials are all suitable mulches. This will help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and improve the soil.
Prune plum and damson trees after fruiting. Cut out any material that is dead or diseased. Pruning plums now will reduce the risk of infection by the fungal disease Silver Leaf.

Herbs
Cut back chives if showing signs of rust (orange patches up the stems). New, clean shoots will quickly re-grow.
Prune out curled and folded leaves on bay trees to remove bay sucker eggs and nymphs. Rake up leaf litter around trees/shrubs to further remove affected leaves harbouring the insects.
Remove mint plants showing signs of rust. This disease will persist over winter and re-infect plants next year. Re-plant with new stock and in a different part of the garden. If growing in containers, scrub out before re-using.
Basil, parsley and coriander can still be sown this month.

This is direct from Garden Organic’s website and has some great tips every month.

Your Local Food Map?

We will continue to quote and expand on their input next month. As Boris does Brexit we all need to get growing food?

Many of our readers go on to grow their own crops, but often rather more than they really need for themselves. Please look out for places to sell your excess produce through our Crop for the Shop scheme here.

You will find places on our Local Food Map that have opted in with a carrot flag on their icon. You could even approach your local shop, pub or restaurant and supply them with fresh produce in return for a pint of beer or meal.

And please also advise them to join our map.

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