August in the garden is a month when we can start to think about Spring and the tasks to come. Although the days are noticeably getting longer there is still plenty of cold and frosty weather to come.

Many Winter tasks can be completed, like pruning and Winter spraying. Moving deciduous fruit trees and other trees and shrubs should be done by the end of the month.

As ground conditions improve soil can be dug over and compost dug in to prepare for planting and sowing in the vegetable garden. Lime and superphosphate may be applied to allow time for the soil to absorb it before planting and sowing in a few weeks time.

Spring bulbs will benefit from a dressing of a potash fertiliser to improve flowering and to strengthen stems. Watch for bud movement on the stone fruit in order to correctly time the copper spray to control leaf curl and brown rot.

As rose pruning is completed get the sprays on for pest and diseases before growth starts and give the first fertiliser dressing just before they start to grow.

Complete pruning of soft fruits. Hardwood cuttings of currents and gooseberries from prunings may still be taken. Strawberry plants may be planted in the ground or in pots (pot grown will often fruit earlier).

Tomato growing areas should be prepared now for later planting by digging in compost and fertilisers and in some cases changing soil if disease has been a problem (especially in greenhouses). It is still too early for planting, even in unheated greenhouses.

Seed sowing can be started in controlled areas like greenhouses, cloches and heated pads so that plants will be ready for transplanting in a few weeks time, more so for the hardier plants.

Once lawns have started to grow and have been cut at least twice they can be fed to encourage growth and suppress weeds.

As Spring warms there will a lot more to do in the garden and to look forward to. Good gardening.

Michael Coulter

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