On these warm days, nothing is nicer than sitting under a sunshade on the terrace and letting your eyes wander over your own garden: Butterflies are magically attracted by the summer lilac, bees buzz over roses, and birds twitter in the apple tree. In addition, perennials, bushes and trees sway in the warm wind. That’s summer music. But the garden needs our care also now. Here is what needs to be done this month:
WITHERED FLOWERS MUST NOW BE REMOVED – AND DO NOT FORGET THE DAHLIAS
If they are taken care of, dahlias give us the most beautiful flowers until well into autumn. Requirement: Always cut off the parts that have died. Always cut only to the next side shoot – even if that means that a long bare stem remains. This way the plant can put all its energy into the formation of new flowers and ugly stem tips are avoided. And while you’re at it, you can also prune the other perennials. Don’t forget the roses. It can be really relaxing during an evening stroll through the garden.
WATER IS VALUABLE SO USE IT SPARINGLY IN THE SUMMER
If August is dry and the soil is sandy, watering the plants can be quite expensive. That’s why you should collect as much rainwater as possible beforehand. There are special rain barrels to use for this purpose, which you can place next to the garden shed or garage. If you are willing to make more effort and spend more money, you can also bury cisterns in your garden. But you can also save water without much effort at all. Simply follow these rules: Only water when the soil is no longer moist at a depth of at least 3 centimetres. A mulch layer of grass and hedge clippings keeps the soil moist and reduces evaporation; by the way, ground cover plants such as geraniums have a similar effect. Always let the water infiltrate slowly. Sometimes it is advisable to water a second time after moistening. When watering young or newly planted plants, always build a small wall of soil around the spot you want to water. By doing so, the water cannot run off into the bed, but ends up where it should be – in the root area of the plant. And: Never water terraces, paths and driveways. That’s a waste of water.
PRUNE LAVENDER IN AUGUST
Lavender should be pruned every year to keep it compact. The best time to do it is as soon as the flowers fade. Depending on the variety and the region it can be between midsummer and the end of September. Beware: Do not wait until the seed heads form or the flowers turn brown before pruning, after all, the lavender should grow a little before the winter comes. The plant shall be pruned a lot but must retain new shoots on each stem. These new shoots grow quite fast and provide good protection in the winter. Next year, they will also ensure that your lavender looks great.
DELICIOUS: SOW AUTUMN LETTUCE SEEDS NOW
In order ensure that healthy greens end up on your plate also after the summer, the autumn lettuce shall be sown now. For example, spinach, lamb’s lettuce, radishes, lettuce and endive, or others. You can harvest them in October and November. Those who own a heated greenhouse can consider themselves lucky – they can sow and harvest almost all year round.
FOR A RICH HARVEST: CARE FOR YOUR TOMATO PLANTS IN AUGUST TOO
The harvest time for tomatoes is slowly but surely reaching its peak. To ensure that all tomatoes ripen by the end of the season, there are a few things to keep in mind: First, remove the leaves in the lower half. This allows more light and sun to reach the fruits growing there and reduces the risk of disease. The shoots growing in the axils shall be removed regularly. To prevent it from falling over, attach the main shoot to a pole. Now fertilise once again and water the plant thoroughly on dry days. If the tomatoes are growing in pots on your terrace or balcony, make sure they have some shade. Otherwise, the fine roots of the plant suffer, calcium absorption is disturbed and black spots appear on the tip of fruit.
IN THESE DAYS COLLECT SEEDS – IT SAVES A LOT OF MONEY
Whether columbine, lupine, foxglove or poppy – the seeds of these wonderful perennials are very easy to collect. This way you get seeds for many free plants which may last for several years. How to do it? Very easy:
Once the plants have withered and the fruiting heads are turning brown, it’s the time to do it. When exactly it happens can vary from region to region. But: Collect them on a sunny and windless day. Place individual capsules in envelopes and whole flower stems, e.g. foxglove – upside down in a bowl. After a few days, the seeds come out of their casings. Then the seeds shall be sieved, sorted and placed in opaque paper bags or airtight containers. Finally, store the collected seeds in a cool and dry place. Important: Never store seeds in plastic bags.
TAKE CUTTINGS NOW
In the course of the month, it is great to take cuttings – for example from fresh hydrangea shoots. It is very easy: The first thing to do is to choose a healthy new branch without flowers. The branch shall be cut off at a length of about 10 centimetres, the leaves removed except for one pair, and the remaining pair – shortened by half. Dip the lower end of the branch in root activator, then put it in a pot with compost. Now moisten the leaves and the soil with water from a spray bottle, pull a plastic bag over it and place the pot on a shady windowsill. Important: The soil must not dry out. After 6 to 8 weeks new roots should have formed. The hydrangea cutting can now be moved to a larger pot with rhododendron soil. Next spring, you should plant it in the ground.
THEY NOW NEED ATTENTION: CARE FOR POTTED PLANTS
Your potted plants need your full attention in these days: Do they feel good in their spot? Is your pot big enough? If you have any doubts, the plants must be moved and repotted now at the latest. If the potted plants are hungry, use a liquid fertilizer once a week. Beware: Never fertilize if the plants are weak or dry. First water thoroughly, then use the liquid fertilizer dissolved in the water. After a longer period of rain, definitely check the saucers and planters and remove excess water quickly. Otherwise, the roots could rot. If thunderstorms are forecast, place large potted plants in a wind-protected corner.