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.
Our handy calendar shows you when to plant in your region, including harvest dates.
- Harvest in 60-85 days
The Canterbury Vegetable Gardener's DiaryChange region
Asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, peas, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach.
Beetroot, Brussels sprout, onions, peas, radish, spinach.
- If you have planted cover crops such as mustard and lupin now is the time to dig them in. These plants will rot down in a matter of weeks, adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
- Potatoes - start sprouting new season seed potatoes ready for planting in September.
- Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails with Tui Quash.
- Feed vegetables with Tui Vegetable Food or Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser to give them the nutrients they need to grow.
The Canterbury Fruit Gardener's DiaryChange region
Apple, pear, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry, plum, peach.
Tamarillos, persimmon , citrus – lemons, limes, mandarins and cumquat, and avocados.
- In frost prone areas or for sensitive plants, protect tender fruit trees with frost cloth. 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.
- All fruit require a position in full sun. Shelter from prevailing winds is preferable.
- Prune grapes and kiwifruit before the sap starts to move.
- Prune feijoa once fruiting is over.
- Prune apples and pears.
- 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 Canterbury 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, pieris.
- Apply Tui Bulb Food to existing bulbs plantings.
- Apply a side dressing of Tui NovaTec Premium 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.