The Garden in August
The summer is coming to an end and it’s time to enjoy the last bounty of the summer harvest.
August has been such a busy month that I admittedly ignored the garden a bit more than I should have. While watering has been on my daily agenda, things like plucking weeds and checking for diseases has not been my priority. Due to that and the immense heat wave we have had (and are still having!) the garden hasn’t been in its best shape this month. Fortunately my schedule has slowed down a bit again and I have been able to do some catching up on my gardening these past couple of evenings. While some plants such as the tomatoes and bell peppers are enjoying the heat wave and endless hours of sunshine, other plants have been struggling and I partly had to throw some on the compost. While the weather cannot be altered, I have been doing my best to support my plants during these hot days and give them the care they need.
The strawberries are still yielding fruit and continue to produce a lot of offshoots which I cut off regularly. Since I harvested the onions they had spread almost throughout the entire vegetable bed and so I recently went and cut away the new plants. When strawberry plants produce offshoots you can certainly use them and even discard the old ones and replant the new ones in their place. I decided to give my strawberry plants another year and didn’t use the offshoots for cultivating new plants.
Like I mentioned, the bell peppers have been loving the heat and continue to grow. Even though the plants are rather on the small side, they carry up to 4 large bell peppers per plant and are continuing to grow more. The weight causes them to grow a bit wonky but the bell peppers we have since harvest have been delicious! I make sure to give them either compost or horn shavings regularly to support their growth.
Two of my pumpkin plants are also growing incredibly fast and climbing their way throughout the vegetable bed. I soon have to buy some straw to place underneath young pumpkins to prevent them from rotting in the damp soil. I also make sure to protect my plants with organic snail poisoning because snails looove pumpkins!
My zucchini plants have unfortunately been hit with mildew and a few days of not doing anything about it has caused a huge outbreak. I am currently trying to save the plants by cutting away leaves that are infected severely and spraying a milk solution on ones that could potentially be saved. I use a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part milk and pour it over the infected leaves. Why fresh milk? The bacteria in the milk feed on the fungal spores and basically eat away the mildew without damaging the plant. It’s a safe and natural way to treat mildew without using pesticides. Let’s hope it isn’t too late for my zucchini plants!
The tomatoes on the other hand are doing so well that we can’t even keep up with harvesting all the produce. I have a total of 6 plants which is more than enough for a two person household! I plan on buying thicker wooden sticks to support them on because the bamboo I have been using cannot hold their weight anymore. It’s important to give tomato plants plenty of water, however only water them at the bottom and never let the leaves get wet! My husband and I built this little roof to shield the plants from rain which has keep them healthy and happy throughout rainy days.
The plants which yield the most are without a doubt the zucchini and tomato plants. I have already given away quite a bit of vegetables because they have been too much for our small household. The great thing about an abundance of veggies is that most friends and family members greatly enjoy home-grown produce and it brings me just as much happiness to pass them on. I also made some homemade tomato sauce which I cooked for several hours (the old traditional Italian way) and used it for this chili. It was delicious (and a great way to use up several kilos of tomatoes)!!
Now let’s take a look at what vegetables and plants you can grow in August. We live in a mild climate zone in Switzerland, so this list is for our climate zone here. (Our winters are mild, seldom any frost and negative temperatures, while the summers can be quite hot with temperatures up to 30C or 86F. We get a lot of rain.)
August Growing and Sowing List
- turnip cabbage
- garden cress
- bell peppers
Lettuce is an easy vegetable to grow and it is very low maintenance which is why I love having plenty of it the garden. The only two problems you might encounter when growing lettuce are snails and too much sun. To avoid the snails, sprinkle organic snail poisoning around the lettuce plants regularly and check the leaves for signs of snails. To prevent them from being burned by the sun, grow your lettuce somewhere in the half shade. If that’s not possible, be sure to give them plenty of water in the evenings once the sun is gone and/or in the morning.
I recently received a bushel of purple basil as a gift (my friends are all aware of my love for gardening) which has since been the newest addition to my herb bed. Planted next to the lemon verbena it makes for a nice touch of color.
The blackberry bushes (shot in the morning hours with the sun rising) have been steadily climbing their new trellis. As I mentioned in June, I was having some difficulties with lice on the leaves and told you I would keep you updated on the treatment. I am happy to report that my treatment with soapy water has removed all the lice completely.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope liked my update and found some of these tips helpful! Come by next month and see what I am up to in the garden. 🙂
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