August is one of the best months for harvests in the container garden. As well as salads and herbs, you may also be harvesting tomatoes, courgettes, and beans. In warmer parts, chillies, peppers and aubergines, too.
It’s also the time to sow seeds to give you a supply of green leaves throughout winter and early spring.
Jobs to do this month include
- Tying up and support
- Tidying up, cutting back
- Feeding and watering
- Sowing for winter
1. Tying up and support
Fruiting crops like tomatoes and squash can get quite top heavy this month as the fruit fills out. If not supported, stems may break or plants may fall over (oops, this just happened to my tomatillo!). Use canes, sticks, cages – anything your ingenuity can come up with – to support your crops. Be particularly sure to check this when heavy rain or strong winds are forecast.
2. Tidying up, cutting back.
As your fruiting crops grow large, you can remove some of the leaves without harming the plant. (As a general rule of thumb don’t remove more than a third of the leaves in one go). You can do this to expose tomatoes to the sun to ripen, to take off leaves that are shading over crops, or simply to remove old, withered leaves. This job is best done on a dry day to minimise the risk of disease.
Pinch out flowering shoots of salads. Unless you are planning to save some seeds (which is fun to do), pinching out the flowers of salad crops (don’t forget that most are edible, too), can help encourage them to grow more leaves. But if your salads get tough and bitter, the best thing is to start again
3. Feeding and watering
See July notes.
As a general rule of thumb, the more you pick the more you get. This is particularly true for runner beans (pick them small to encourage more to grow) and courgettes (zucchini).
5. Sowing crops for winter
If your climate is warm enough, (most of the UK is, for example), do consider growing stuff over winter because:
- Pots full of winter veg simply look so much better than bare pots.
- Winter crops will help prevent nutrients leaching out of your soil.
- And of course, it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to pop outside in winter and pick a salad – and winter grown leaves often taste better, too!
Here are some ideas of what grows well in winter and when to sow it.