Winter Gardening Tasks for August
Winter Gardening Tasks for August
Many gardens are resplendent with the flowers of azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, and flowering cherries this month. The fact that spring is close provides some comfort during this cold, wet month when we are all tired of winter!
House Plant Care
Winter can be a difficult time for many houseplants, those that have survived to August are pretty robust and/or have been lovingly cared for! The key aspects of houseplant care over winter are; good light, a warm environment, sufficient water (but not over-watering), misting of foliage and regular inspection to check for any early signs of problems.
Keep harvesting your winter vegetables including broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach, and turnips. Replant seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, silverbeet and spinach to ensure supplies of these vegetables in spring and early summer. Seeds of traditional summer vegetables can be sown into seed trays and kept in a glasshouse or a similar warm structure.
In the flower bed
Winter flowering annuals are now near the end of their best displays. Calendulas, cornflowers, pansies, snapdragons, stock, violas, and wall flowers all provide excellent late winter flowering. Top up any plantings with potted colour, i.e., winter annuals grown to flowering size when available for sale.
Numerous bulbs flower this month, providing a delightful burst of colour and fragrance in the winter garden, these include daffodils, jonquils, hyacinths, muscari, and lachenalias. Other bulbs will follow early next month.
Even though it’s winter, existing strawberry plants will be growing, and producing flowers towards the end of August. These should be removed as the fruit that forms will not grow to maturity. Remove any weeds that appear among the strawberry plants as they compete for water and nutrients.
If you haven’t put any strawberries in yet, it’s not too late! You can source established strawberry plants from your local supplier and plant through till early spring for a bumper summer crop.
A prolific month for harvesting a number of citrus fruit such as lemons, limes, late mandarins (clementine), navel oranges and grapefruit. Remember to give all pip and stone fruit trees a spray of copper oxychloride to help reduce an outbreak of fungal diseases in spring.
Feijoa trees can be pruned by thinning out dense branches. Allowing better light and air movement through the plant leads to improved fruiting.
Containers and even hanging baskets are very useful in winter for growing salad greens and herbs or for providing colour on decks and patios. When starting a new crop or flower display, always clean the container thoroughly and use fresh container mix.
Complete the planting of new specimens into the rose garden, taking care not to damage the roots and adding plenty of compost. Also apply fresh compost around existing plants, the first of the new season’s growth will appear towards the end of the month.
Planting ornamental trees and shrubs
August is a very safe month for planting large deciduous trees (drop their leaves in autumn) and any ornamental shrubs and trees. Ensure planting sites are well prepared by adding compost and a Daltons Premium Planter Tab. Stake new trees if they are planted in windy areas.