August offers gardening enthusiasts and amateur gardeners a variety of work, ranging from harvesting and preparing the autumn harvest, care of the orchard and the renewed pruning of strong-growing woody plants. We have summarized the most important gardening tips for you in August.
Eggplants are ready for harvesting in August at the latest. As soon as the outer skin gives way under light pressure, you can take the vegetable from the bed. The cut open fruit should not have a greenish color inside, as this indicates too much solanine, which is slightly toxic. The seeds of ripe eggplants show a greenish to white coloration. You can recognize overripe fruits by wadded, very soft flesh and a dull outer skin.
Harvest cucumbers early
When harvesting cucumbers, it is better to harvest a little too early than too late. If the fruits ripen too long, the plant will reject the following blossoms and young fruits. For snake and mini cucumbers, you can pick the ripe fruit every two days. Peeled cucumbers are ready for harvesting when their greenish skin color turns yellowish.
When harvesting, always reach for a sharp knife and cut the cucumbers. On the other hand, do not tear off the fruit to prevent damage and associated vine death.
Planting endives for autumn harvest
If you want to harvest endives in the fall, you must plant the young plants in the bed no later than August. If you do not buy the seedlings from the gardener, but grow them yourself from seed, you should hurry with this project. However, the advantage of growing your own is a greater variety in the salad bed, as you can mix mild, yellow and strong, green varieties.
For sowing, sow the seeds in small pots, which you fill with growing soil. Once the seedlings have developed three to four strong leaves, move them to the bed. Place the young plants at least 30 centimeters apart and cover the root base only lightly with soil to prevent the endives from rotting.
To help the small plants grow, it is recommended that the soil be moist but not waterlogged. If the head formation begins, the water requirement of the plants increases at the same time. Especially during this period, you should reach for the garden hose more often and water vigorously two to three times a week.
You should sow your chard at the latest at the beginning of the garden month of August. First, thoroughly loosen the seedbed and keep it slightly moist so that the plants will develop well after sowing.
Because peas and beans enrich the soil with nitrogen and ankle bacteria, chard thrives especially well in a harvested bed of this vegetable. Those who garden in mild locations cover the vegetable bed with a thick layer of leaves in the fall and can enjoy a second harvest the following spring.
Sow lamb’s lettuce for an autumn harvest
If you are planning a fall harvest, you should sow your lamb’s lettuce by mid-August at the latest. The vegetable seeds feel most comfortable in a sunny bed and at a sowing depth of one inch.
While professional gardeners will reach for a garden roller after sowing, you can alternatively work with a narrow board: Press the soil in the bed well so that the leaf rosettes are less likely to get dirty as they grow. Afterwards, your freshly sown lamb’s lettuce will thank you for watering it with a soft stream of water.
Sowing true chamomile
Chamomile has a distinctive aromatic fragrance and is a proven medicinal plant. It can be sown directly in a sunny bed from April onwards and will give a harvest in the same year. If you sow the seeds only in August, you will not be able to harvest in the same year, but the next year you will get a richer flowering than with spring sowing.
As light germinators, chamomile seeds should only be lightly sifted with soil or pressed down well so that the wind does not blow them away. Regular weeding is a must, especially at the beginning of the young plants’ development. In harsh locations, it is also advisable to cover the plants with brushwood during the cold winter months.
Fertilize fruit trees
For young fruit trees, use potassium magnesia to increase the stability and resistance of the fruit trees to pests and diseases. Potassium supports the formation of sugar substances in the plant tissue and thus promotes the frost resistance of the bark and wood.
While potassium magnesia was originally recommended for application in early fall, more recent studies recommend fertilization as early as August. Since a fruit tree absorbs nutrients and water through its fine roots, ideally you should not apply the fertilizer directly to the trunk, but rather to the edge of the tree disc and rake it lightly into the soil there.
Harvest and cut back blackberries
In August, blackberries are waiting to be harvested. Pick the berries when they have already been deep black in color for a few days and are somewhat softer. Since new fruits are constantly ripening, we recommend harvesting your blackberry bushes about every three to five days.
After the harvest is over, pruning is done as a maintenance measure to ensure a bountiful harvest the following year as well. It’s important to know that fruit bushes form their fruit on the previous year’s annual canes. While you leave these canes standing, clip all biennial canes just above the ground.
Leave vigorous this year’s shoots and shorten the branches on these canes in two steps: After you have shortened the side shoots to so-called cones between 20 and 30 centimeters in August, finally cut them back to buds or leaves the next spring shortly before new shoots appear.
If you would like to add blueberry bushes to your orchard, August and September offer the best time to replant. While woodland blueberries will thrive in shady locations, late-ripening varieties in particular prefer a sunny garden spot.
To plant, dig a spade-deep planting hole about 80 inches wide. Fill this with sawdust from conifers, softwood chips and rhododendron soil. Set your young fruit bush in the soil and press it well all around. Finally, your blueberry bush will thank a mulch layer of shavings that you can spread generously over the bed.
Plant strawberries for next year’s harvest
If you want to enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet and juicy strawberries this summer, you need to plant the plants in the bed by mid-August of the previous year. Make sure the location is ideal for the strawberry variety and choose a bed where you have not cultivated strawberries for at least four years.
Plant the shallow-rooted plants about 25 centimeters apart with a row spacing of about 60 centimeters. The planting depth should only be deep enough so that the heart of the plants is not covered with soil. Although some strawberry varieties are considered hardy, a light protective layer of straw or lawn clippings has still proven effective for the cool winter months.
Second pruning date for strong-growing woody plants
Hedges are usually pruned at the end of June. At this time, shrubs have completed the first growth phase and can not only be brought into shape by pruning, but also maintained at the same time. Strong-growing shrubs, such as privet, copper beech or hornbeam, however, sprout again vigorously during the summer months.
These strong-growing hedges therefore thank you for a new cut in August, which you should implement as early as possible. In this way, the plants will have enough time to regenerate and the pruning wounds can heal well until winter. Since any holes that develop within the hedges will not close until the new shoots appear next spring, you should not trim the hedges too severely and rather opt for moderate pruning.