Winter in the garden - August
With spring only a month away there's plenty to do in the garden. It's time to start thinking about preparing and planning for spring planting, including sprouting seed potatoes to ensure a Christmas harvest. August is also the perfect time for a winter tidy up.
August is the perfect time to begin sprouting seed potatoes. Most potato crops take about three months to mature, so need to be in the ground in September for a Christmas harvest. Leading up to spring there's plenty to do in the vege garden from planning your crops for the coming season, preparing the soil and planting some cold hardy vegetables.
With spring knocking on the door it’s all about the power of the flower. Magnolias, blossom trees, daffodils, tulips and a whole host of flowers are beginning to put on a floral finale to say good bye to the winter blues.
Buds on fruit trees may be starting to plump or fatten up getting ready to burst into blossom as the days get longer and the temperatures warmer. Continue planting strawberries too for a summer harvest.
Harvest time is from seedling planting to harvest. For seeds, depending on variety, it will take an extra 6-8 weeks from germination to planting.
- Harvest in 170 days
The Auckland Vegetable Gardener's DiaryChange region
Asparagus, beetroot, bok choi, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, coriander, kale, lettuce, mesclun, onion, parsley, parsnip, peas, potatoes, pumpkin and squash, radish, rhubarb, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
Broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, mesclun, onions, parsley, parsnip, peas, radish, rhubarb, rocket, silverbeet, spinach.
- Dig in Tui Compost and Tui Sheep Pellets before planting to replenish nutrients used by previous crops.
- Prepare potato beds ready for planting by digging over the soil to a depth of 30cm. Next, add plenty of compost or Tui Sheep Pellets. Blend Tui Potato Food into the soil prior to planting.
- Once tomatoes are available in store you can start planting in Tui Tomato Mix, specially blended with extra potassium to encourage big juicy fruit.
- Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails with Tui Quash.
- Feed vegetables already planted with Tui Vegetable Food or Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser to give them the nutrients they need to grow.
- Keep an eye out for weeds. As soon as the soil warms up, everything - including weeds - will start to grow. Apply layers of Tui Pea Straw Mulch on areas that are going to lie bare for another month or two, as this will help prevent weeds from becoming established.
The Auckland Fruit Gardener's DiaryChange region
Apple, pear, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry, feijoa, lemon, orange, mandarin, lime, plum, peach.
Tamarillos, persimmon , citrus – lemons, limes, mandarins and cumquat, and avocados.
- All fruit require a position in full sun. Shelter from prevailing winds is preferable.
- Before planting strawberries, blend in Tui Sheep Pellets and add a layer of Tui Strawberry Mix to give your strawberries the best start.
- Feed strawberries already planted in garden beds with Tui Strawberry Food. Feed strawberries planted in pots and containers with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.
- Prune to promote new growth and allow more light into the plant/tree. Always remove dead and diseased wood.
- It's the last month to prune grapes and kiwifruit before the sap starts to move.
- Prune feijoa once fruiting is over. Prune apples, pears and apricots. Avoid pruning peaches and plums in winter because it can spread the silver leaf virus. These fruits should be pruned in summer to limit its spread.
- Stake all young fruit trees to enable to roots to anchor themselves into the soil for the first few seasons.
- Tie down malleable branches to maintain or establish espalier framework, after August the sap starts moving again and the stems begin to firm up.
The Auckland Flower Gardener's DiaryChange region
Roses, gladiolus, crocus, hebes, lavender, lavatera, nemesia, azaleas, rhododendrons, pansy, viola, bellis, calendula, clematis, calendula, lily, forget-me-nots, cyclamen.
Daphne, warratah, protea, azaleas, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, camellias, viburnum, europs, wallflowers, winter roses, hellebores, dianthus, Daphne, iberis, kowhai, flowering kale.
- Apply Tui Bulb Food to existing bulbs plantings.
- Apply a side dressing of Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser to pots and planters.
- In warm areas whitefly and aphids may begin to appear on fresh new shoots. Hose small infestations off or soapy water. For larger infestations, check at your local garden centre for a suitable spray.
- Slugs and snails are the main problems still; they will munch through tender shoots and leaves of newly planted flowers. Lay Tui Quash to control, or get the kids to go on a ‘Snail hunt’ for fun.
- Prune to tidy up the garden before new growth appears in the spring. If you are not sure what your plants are, a general rule of thumb is to prune after flowering, not before.
- Keep on top of weeds to prevent major problems with them in spring. Weed empty garden beds as soon as anything appears. A thick layer of mulch will control and even kill some small weed plants.