August is a bountiful month on the allotment, the weather is (or should be, but you never know with England) beautiful and your plot is churning out produce quicker than you know what to do with it. Here are five things for you to crack on with in August.
This may seem like an obvious one, but harvest your produce regularly. This stops the fruit and vegetables becoming too old and directs the energy to the fruits that need to ripen. For things such as sweet peas, beans, lavender and chillies; the more you pick the more they produce.
Now that have you harvested your glut of fruit and vegetables, its time to preserve the excess. There are a plethora of recipes and types of preservation you can try; canning, chutney, jam, dehydration, cordial and even just good old freezing. Here’s a quick and easy jam recipe for some strawberry and raspberry jam.
Tidy up your tomatoes
Your tomato plants should be full of fruit and about to ripen by now, if you’ve planted them outside. Keep any top heavy plants supported by tying them to canes. To make sure that you can get the most fruit from your plants, pinch out all side shoots.
Pinch out your beans
Once your beans have reached the top of their support structure, pinch out any excess growth. This will redistribute the energy below to where it is needed the most – to produce the bean pods.
Feed your plants
Whilst watering your plants is crucial, feeding is just as important. Several plants on the plot will benefit from liquid feed. You don’t need anything particularly fancy, you can make your own feeds if you so desire. Nettle, comfrey, banana peel and even seaweed feed can be made at home. If you don’t want to go to hassle of making your own, then a basic tomato feed will do the trick.
Tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers, pumpkins and beans are at their best when they have been fed with extra nutrients. You will want to feed your plants once every 10-14 days.
Here’s a list of what you can sow for the last time in August:
– Potatoes; you’ll be able to harvest these in time for Christmas
– Lettuce; “Mixed Green (baby leaf)” and “Lotto Rossa”
– Turnip “Milan Mixed Purple”
– Chicory; “Rossa Di Trevisco” and “Palla Rossa”
– Perpetual Spinach
– Chinese Cabbage
You may be able to sow several July items in the first week or so of August, depending on the weather in your area.