Your garden is mostly dormant in winter and the cold, wet weather makes it hard to get outside. But August marks the transition period between the cold and warm months, making it a great time to get out there and get your garden ready for spring.
Harvest any remaining artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, leek, lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, radish, peas and snow peas.
Gather up your herbs, including chives, curry, dill, mint, parsley, sage and thyme. Then dry them out so that they’ll last longer.
For warmer areas, your eggplant, okra, pigeon peas, snake beans, sweet potato, rosella, and watermelons should all be ready to enjoy.
When it comes to growing, timing is everything. You can still plant winter veggies like peas, broad beans, onions, spring onions, chives, and leeks. It’s getting a bit late for cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli now but you could still plant in some good-sized seedlings at the start of the month.
Early varieties of spring vegetables like carrots, silverbeet, and spinach can tolerate the cold. However, you’re better off with seedlings because seeds will take a while to come up.
If you’re really keen, you can grow spring and summer vegetable seedlings indoors. Plant pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, corn, zucchini or watermelons in seed trays and place them in a well-lit area. Nurse them through until the weather warms up and transfer to your garden in spring.
But if you live in a warmer region, you can start on spring vegetables a bit earlier. Think about snow peas, rocket, silverbeet, spring onions, cabbage, lettuce, parsley, zucchini, pumpkin, leek and parsnip.
And as it gets warmer, sow tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant, beans, cucumber, pumpkin, beetroot, silverbeet, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, radish, and even early season potatoes.
If you want your garden to thrive in spring, then you need to do your groundwork now. With a bit of planning you can ensure its success all the way through to summer.
The biggest thing you can do for your garden in August is feed the soil. Start digging in any compost and manures, and adding fertilisers, so that they’re breaking down by the time you’re ready to plant.
This will improve your soil’s ability to use moisture, encourage worm activity, and promote microbes that help release the nutrients in your soil. It also increases fibrous root growth to suck up all that nutrition.
After the rains subside, the last thing your plants need is competition for water and nutrients. It’s important to weed regularly so that they don’t take a hold. Once you’ve removed them, throw down a layer of mulch. It’ll deprive the weeds of the light they need to germinate and stop any airborne seeds from landing on your soil and taking root.
Mulching is always a great idea because it improves soil structure and helps retain moisture for the warmer months ahead. Remember, if you plant seeds you can’t mulch until they’ve established themselves.
Pea straw mulch is ideal because it adds more nutrients to your soil than most other mulches. Lay down a 10cm thick layer over the soil around your plants, which will last about 12 months. You can even put down a layer of newspaper first to reduce evaporation and lock in the moisture.
Pruning plants gets them back into shape and encourages new growth. The end of winter is the time to do it because most of them are dormant or at the end of their flowering cycle.
Roses and fruit trees need a hard prune. Remove any dead, diseased or crossing branches. Cut off old flower heads on young plants and cut back the branches on mature plants by up to a third. Make sure you cut cleanly so that it’s easier for the plant to heal.
After pruning, it’s a good idea to give plants a spray with lime sulphur, which stops exposed cuts from getting fungal infections. Also spray on the ground, at the base of the plant, to get rid of any fungal spores that could infect your plant later.
Feel free to let us know what you're up to in the garden at the moment by replying below or hitting the Start a discussion button.
My wife and I spend some time in the garden on Saturday after a trip to Bunnings. We're slowly getting rid of all the weeds that have popped up over the winter months and we got some new mulch down to keep them at bay. Looking forward to Spring just around the corner!
How is your garden looking at the moment?
Happy 1st of August, everyone! One day closer to warmer weather.
We're planning on topping up mulch on our veggie patches to prepare for the warmer months ahead, so heading down to Bunnings to get some this weekend. Just read this great refresher on how to use mulch by the Bunnings team that I'm going to keep in mind. Thought I'd share if anyone else needed it.
What is everyone else doing in their garden at the moment?
I always forget to mulch so this is a good reminder, thank you. I just wish they made them in smaller bags for people like me who just has a courtyard garden!!!!
This reminds me that around the end of August I need to take some sizeable cuttings from the frangipanis in the front yard – mainly so I can get the lawnmower past them when the grass starts growing again.
Frangipanis are easy to propagate from cuttings. I'll leave the cuttings outside (but out of the rain) for maybe six weeks or so, until the bases of the cuttings start to swell. Then I'll pot them up in relatively small pots, maybe 180mm to start with. I'll use stakes to hold them up because you don't want the cuttings too deep in the potting mix or they'll rot.
I did the one below a few years ago. The cutting was a Y-shape about 30cm tall, and it grew pretty quickly (the pot it's in now has a 30cm diameter, so you can see how much it has grown).
I'll have to post another pic once it grows some leaves and flowers again. It was the runt of the litter last time – I gave the bigger ones away as gifts once they were looking really good. They make great presents that cost next to nothing.
Would you happen to have a picture of the tree in bloom? I'm just curious as to the colour flowers it produces. Speaking of gifts, my wife propagates succulents and uses those as her gifts to family and friends.
Hi @EricL . The little frangipani and two of the three big ones have the classic white and yellow flowers. The third big one is the "tricolor" or "fruit salad" variety, which has a mix of pink and yellow in the flowers and a richer, headier fragrance. No pics, unfortunately, but I'll post some when they're back in bloom.
What sort of succulents does your wife propagate? Bromeliads and jade plants (Crassula ovata) are nice to propagate as gifts too.
While I've got you, what's the best time of year to Weed and Feed lawns here in south-east Queensland? It must be getting close. Every spring I think about doing it, but by the time I think of it the Bindii has already gone to seed, so I've missed the boat. Because I've got some buffalo mixed in with narrow-blade grasses I'll need to use a buffalo-specific one like Yates Buffalo Pro, won't I?
The lawn around the other side of the house is on quite compacted soil and needs aerating so it can take advantage of spring. I tried aerator sandals last year but they didn't help much. I think I need something that makes bigger holes so I can get some top-dressing sand down there. I might try something like this Trojan spiked aerator but I'm getting tired just thinking about how much work it will take to do the whole (little) lawn. What do you suggest?
Too bad I can't just tow through one of those giant spiked drum rollers the council used to use on footy grounds...