What jobs should I do in the garden this month? Garden jobs in August

The summer is upon us and our gardens are flourishing. Now is the time to start thinking ahead to Autumn and beginning to put plans into action which will mean your garden continues to look good and is productive right into winter.

Look after borders now to prepare them for winter

Borders

Trim lavender once it has finished flowering. Hang to dry and then mix with dry rice to fill lavender bags later, or make lavender sugar.  Layer fresh lavender leaves in jars between 3cmof caster sugar. Seal the jars and store to use later – it’s delicious in cakes. Remove flowers before using or crush with the sugar in a pestle and mortar.

Plant colchicums, cyclamens and crocus to naturalise in grass.

Propagating and general maintenance

Take cuttings of established box plants – book on one of my box trimming workshops for next summer.

Spread a compost mulch around fruit bushes, asparagus and rhubarb. Ensure the ground is moist first.

Prune rambler roses.

Prune rambler roses in August

Give hedges a final trim to get them into shape for the autumn.

If you have bare patches of lawn these can be reseeded from the end of the month if the weather cools.

Vegetables

Lift onions and shallots.

Now is the time to harvest onions and shallots

Harvest sweet corn at lunch time and have a pan of boiling water already on the go. Put the cobs straight in and eat as soon as they are ready. They will be delicious as you catch them before any of their natural sugar turns to starch.

Encourage further cropping of beans and courgettes with regular picking.

Harvest main crop potatoes.

Complete summer pruning of trained fruit trees such as espaliers and cordons.

Prune back to ground level summer fruited raspberry canes.

Start to sow seeds for autumn picking. Sow directly into the ground or in modules to plant out later. The following can all be grown well into Autumn and cropped as cut and come

Sow swiss chard now to ensure you have crops well into winter

again. Protect with fleece if you want to continue cutting into winter.  Sow, kale, Swiss chard, mustard spinach, chicory, lambs lettuce, lettuce and rocket now.