I post these updates in the hopes I can inspire others to grow their own food. In your garden, on an allotment, on a balcony. Space should never be a barrier to have a go. If it looks easy that’s because after a bit of hard work – it actually is!
August as a summer month is going pretty well. We’ve had a few days where it’s been rather cold though which is disappointing (to my tomatoes). August is the month that a lot of the raised beds start to come to a close and I’m already planning ahead for next year.
I’ve decided that because I’m running out of space on my blog, I’m going to continue all monthly garden updates on my Instagram account only. That way it will be real time reporting – as it happens, in the garden. You don’t need to install or even use Instagram to access my posts on there. Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
Here is my August Garden update:
August is the month for enjoying the sunshine, harvesting tomatoes, keeping on top of watering containers and cutting down fruited raspberry canes.
Grasshoppers have been heard this last week (not managed to see one yet), a dragonfly near flew into me and spiders galore as they get ready for the turn of the season have all been part of the garden so far this month. We also have a lady blackbird that’s coming into the garden to feed and wash regularly in the available resources!
- Quick tips: Back in January I sat down and made a few lists and ideas on what I wanted to grow in our gardens this year, taking into account space, time spent and food that I love to eat. Having that list has proved to be really useful because I was able to buy all the necessary seeds required without over doing it (a gardeners obsession), know exactly what I need to sow/plant when and be able to plan time to do it rather than rushing everything as and when I suddenly remembered. Or worse still start sowing everything too early!
Thankfully while the temperatures have been hot and humid the pests have not bothered any more of the crops. This may or may not last depending on how long the humid weather lasts. So far we’ve only had a max of two days in a row before the temperatures have dropped again.
The potatoes were dug up at the beginning of the month. I got a fair few pounds in weight but not nearly as many as I was expecting and I think I’ve discovered why. The tubers had to compete with nearby privet hedging whose roots have made their way along and up the raised bed. While the top couple of inches of soil were moist the remainder of the soil was almost dry to touch. The hedge roots had drawn both moisture and nutrients from the tuber plants quicker than the potatoes could develop. Unfortunately that’s not the only bed to have been effected by this issue. When harvesting my onions and garlic that bed was full of raspberry and eucalyptus roots. Neither plants are near the raised bed but any strong roots like trees have will automatically seek the best soil out and a few meters is nothing for both the Eucalyptus nor the raspberries to scale.
Googling this issue I’ve got three potential solutions:
- Move the beds/get rid – not really an option as I want as much growing space as possible. Moving the beds will not stop the roots finding the nutrients in the beds.
- Create a barrier between the beds and the hedge/trees – this looked to be quite a good option until I saw the sheer amount of work required to set it up with no guarantee it would work.
- Create a barrier for the bottom of the bed – this looks to be the best option. The beds we have are deep enough to create a barrier (with or without drainage as long as I add drainage material). It will be a big job to get the barriers installed but once complete should allow me growing grace of between two and three years before the roots find their way in again.
Talking of the onions and garlic though – they did really well this year. Because they have shallow roots they did okay in the bed they lived and produced the best garlic ever! This is due in part to starting the garlic off so early, and also I think because I covered the garlic in straw over winter.
I harvested broad beans. The reason harvesting was delayed was because I’m keeping them for drying. The runner beans are being harvested now. They taste delicious! The soya beans are still growing but already producing furry green pods which is good.
The mange tout, while not producing huge harvests were very tasty. Having all the peas and beans in one bed has proved to be very successful this year. It’s used up less space and produced as much as if they had been given 50% more space.
In the ‘three sisters’ bed the butternut squash are growing like mad things as too are the sweetcorn. Alas, the runner beans just couldn’t grow quick enough to avoid the snails eating them. I realise now that I should have kept the beans back until last minute, before planting them, but it’s been a very useful exercise to see just how much space everything takes up. I reckon I could have grown at least another five sweetcorn plants in this bed.
In the grow house, I’m having trouble growing aubergines, again. I have three lovely healthy plants, but the flowers just drop off never to show any crops. In contrast, the tomato plants have grown up strong and showing off many bunches of green tomatoes. The chilli plants are struggling. They definitely prefer an ever hotter, sunnier position. While I’ve got pods developing it’s not nearly as many as last year when I had the plants sat on the patio. Still I have crops and that is the main thing!
I’ve experimented growing tomato plants in hanging baskets this year. They are positioned on a west facing, rather windy, side but the tomatoes are literally tumbling out the side of the baskets so I am very pleased with that result!
Finally both the apple and plum espaliers have fruited for the first time! I’m so excited because I really had my doubts that I’d pruned the trees correctly but apparently I have and much to my amazement we have enjoyed seven fresh juicy plums and the four apples will be set for harvest next month. While they sound small harvests it’s probably worth noting that that this was where the espalier had grown most, establishing itself well. I’m hoping next year it will double in blossom as the form of the tree settles.
What are you hoping to get up to in your garden this month? Are there any particular crops you can’t wait to start growing/harvesting?
Whatever you are up to – enjoy the great outdoors this week 🙂