Garden Tips for August
Sow tomato, capsicum and zucchini seeds indoors or under cover. With winter seed-sowing a heat pad can help germination along.
Stake up broad beans so the spring winds don’t knock them flat. Remember, there’s quite a long wait between the flowers dying off and the pods growing – patience rewards the gardener.
In go the bee-attracting flowers: calendulas, poppies, bergamots, and lavenders are loved by the bees and they’ll be flowering at a similar time to the edibles.
Thyme, bay, parsley and rosemary can take a hammering from the herb scissors over winter, so apply a liquid fertiliser to encourage them to take off when the weather warms up.
Control slugs and snails to stop them feasting on your seedlings.
The rest of the garden
Prune hydrangeas and make sure you get the right flower colour: add lime to encourage pink flowers, or Aluminium Sulphate for blue flowers. If you are planting white flowered types avoid full sun – they look best in dappled shade.
Place pots of sprouted spring flowering bulbs in sunny areas to make the most of their upcoming displays.
Late August is a great time to begin planting hedges and perennial borders for the summer garden. Mulch after planting.
Flowering camellias brighten the last of the winter days, but be sure to clean up fallen petals to avoid spreading camellia petal blight.
The South African plants that give good winter colour include proteas and leucadendrons. As our summers get a bit warmer, these plants seem to ignore a drought and cope in our Auckland clay.
Avoid mowing very wet lawns until they have dried out a little.
Project for August
Tree planting season. Dig a planting hole to at least the depth of the tree’s rootball and twice the width. For hard, compacted soil, add a handful of gypsum in the hole. Mix the existing soil with Garden Mix or Nutra Soil and carefully place around the rootball, then heel in firmly. Trees and shrubs should be staked in the first few years.