Another month is under our belts and August begins right in the middle of the “dog days of summer,” the hottest and most sultry time of the year!
I love August. Summer still lingers, but the thought of autumn is already on its way.
Gardening in August
Almost everything you have sown, planted and lovingly nurtured throughout spring and early summer will be coming to fruition now, how exciting! Daily trips to your polytunnel, Greenhouse or allotment plot should see you returning home with oodles of delicious homegrown crops from peas, beans, carrots, beetroot, sweetcorn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions to salads.
There is plenty to do in the poly tunnel in August, whether it’s pruning, tidying or sowing, its best to be done in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are more comfortable. Tie up tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers – as the fruits develop they become heavy and the plants will require extra support to the main stems to avoid breakages and loss of crops.
Keep Crops Hydrated
Water, water, water! Early morning is the best time to water – target plants directly, and water deeply. Avoid getting leaves wet if possible in the hot sun as this can burn plants. A great way to conserve water is by capturing it in water butts.
Harvesting rainwater from your polytunnel can help you stay on top of your plants watering needs. You can easily and cheaply set up a rainwater harvesting system on your polytunnel. All you have to do is add a timber rail on one or both sides of the polytunnel. Regular household guttering can simply be affixed to this to feed water along and down a downpipe into a water butt waiting below.
August is traditionally holiday time so you might need to enlist the help of trusty friends, family or allotment neighbours to keep an eye on your Polytunnel while you’re lucky enough to be away. (No doubt everything will come into season all at once and need picking) If possible, set up an automatic watering system in your Polytunnel. Once you have one you will wonder why you didn’t install one years ago. They’re worth their weight in gold! Going on holiday will no longer involve wondering if your precious plants will survive a dry spell or having to rely on someone else to hold a hose!
Keep on top of weeds in the Polytunnel….Boring but vital! Little and often will reduce what will become an enormous task if left to spiral out of control. Weeds don’t only look messy but drink valuable moisture in the ground and zap nutrients.
Weeding on a sunny day will ensure weeds left on the surface dry out and die in the warmth.
Planting and Harvesting
Continue with harvesting of all vegetable crops such as: –
- keep picking runner beans to maintain cropping well into the autumn
- continue to earth up potatoes and prepare to lift onions towards the end of the month.
- Pick courgettes, runner beans and french beans. They are notorious for the speed at which they grow, check daily and pick before they grow too large or become stringy.
You can plant overwintering crops such as: –
The most important thing this month is to enjoy your poly tunnel, Greenhouse or allotment plot. Sit back and take in the wonderful colours, intoxicating scents an abundance of homegrown fruits and vegetables and hopefully more sunshine. What could be more enjoyable and satisfying than surveying the results of your hard work throughout the year, stay cool, and enjoy the delicious bounty of your dedication this growing season!
For more sowing and growing tips, why not download our FREE 12 month August growing guides and top of the crops.
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK