Jul 272016
 


Cool clear nights, frosty mornings and plenty of rain can only mean one thing, it is August. Travelling around my home town I have already seen the first spring blossom and the jonquils are splashing the dull browns and greys with colour. Here are some top gardening tips for your place in the month of August.

Warm Areas

Frost free or occasional light frosts (North from about Coffs Harbour and all the way across to the west to Geraldton)

Stick these into your veggie patch: rocket, silverbeet, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, mizuna, lettuce, parsley, zucchini, pumpkin, leeks and parsnip.

Why not try some lovely flowering plants in your patch as well, like: nasturtium, petunias, marigolds (French) and celosia. These are great at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your patch. If planning on putting in some tomatoes next month, prepare a bed now (your toms will thank you for it). Do this by popping in some organic compost, pelletised chook poo, a wee bit of water, and applying a straw mulch. This bed will be awesome come September… and you will have the greatest tomatoes in the street!

Consider a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked patch. At this time of year, try wheat, lablab or chickpea. Just like the tomato bed above, this will improve your soil incredibly, and, for a bit of forward planning, you’ll find it well worth the effort!

Pruning and weeding is a must job to do at this time of year.

Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

Cool to Cold Areas

Low temperatures for extended periods of time (all of Tasmania, most of Victoria, the southern highlands of NSW, the ACT and a tiny southern bit of SA)

It’s your very last chance to put bare rooted trees in! Race down to the nursery now, and grab some fruit trees, including apples, pears, plums, peaches, and nectarines. Deciduous exotic trees can be planted in now also.

There’s a bit happening in the veggie patch, so you could try spinach, broad beans, Jerusalem artichokes (put them in a pot or they can take over!!), potatoes, peas, onions, parsley, cabbage, broccoli, rocket, silverbeet, cauliflower, lettuce, leek, Asian greens, radish, beetroot and parsnip.

Pruning and weeding is a top job to do at this time of year. Deciduous fruit trees love a big old haircut now, except your apricot!

If planning on putting in some tomatoes next month, prepare a bed now (your toms will thank you for it). Do this by popping in some organic compost, pelletised chook poo, a wee bit of water, and applying straw mulch-avoid sugarcane in these areas due to the transport associated with its supply.

This bed will be awesome come September….and you will have the greatest tomatoes in the street!

Get spraying! To prevent peach leaf curl (which also effects Nectarines)

Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

Green manure crops (like faba beans or field peas) are good to go now…..improve that dormant veggie patch!

On really cold days, why not head out to the shed, and sharpen, clean, oil and maintain your garden tools. Sounds tedious, but it’s really rewarding, and will save you cash and plant illness in the long run.

Temperate Zones

Occasional winter frosts (pretty much the rest of Australia, most of the inland, some areas of Victoria, most of SA and the southern area of WA)

It’s time to get planting! There is some great plants you can put in now, once the frosts have gone. Try beetroot, lettuce, parsnip, peas, radish, celery (in a milk carton), leek, lettuce, onions, mizuna, mitsuba, seed potatoes, rocket, silverbeet, and spinach.

Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

If planning on putting in some tomatoes next month, prepare a bed now (your toms will thank you for it). Do this by popping in some organic compost, pelletised chook poo, a wee bit of water, and applying a straw mulch. This bed will be awesome come September… and you will have the greatest tomatoes in the street!

Pruning and weeding is a top job to do at this time of year. Deciduous fruit trees love a big old haircut now, except your apricot!

Green manure crops (like clover, barley, wheat or field peas) are good to go now… improve that dormant veggie patch!

On really cold days, why not head out to the shed, and sharpen, clean, oil and maintain your garden tools. Sounds tedious, but it’s really rewarding, and will save you cash and plant illness in the long run.

Of course, this is just a rough guide, and many of you will find your situation varies from the above listing due to microclimates created in your garden, location in relation to your nearest major city, extremes of weather (Mother Nature does like to keep us on our toes) and garden type. But the one thing that remains the same for all zones and regions is this: no matter the season, we can all garden more sustainably all year round

Happy gardening, see you next month!

  15 Responses to “August In Your Patch”

  1. Hi, can anyone suggest a sustainable means of keeping white cabbage moths away from my seedlings like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and celery. Thanks

    • Danny i was always told to plant white pansys around brassica’s

    • Hi Danny. I too use white pansies as part of a range of decoys. Apparently the flowers look like an adult butterfly which deters other adult butterflies from landing. I’ve also had success with growing pungent herbs nearby e.g. dill or mint. They seems to mask the scent of the brassicas. Also, and I don’t know why, if I grow rocket (usually self sown) amongst my brassicas, that seems to attract lots of caterpillars and they mainly leave the nearby brassicas alone.
      Finely, a fine white net helps but it only works if the cabbage white adult butterfly hasn’t already laid her eggs on the leaves of the seedlings – which can even happen in the nursery or garden centre where you purchased them. If that has happened, then the caterpillars will hatch underneath the net. Its not too difficult to see the creamy yellow eggs on the underside of leaves, so check before you plant out. Good luck. Unfortunately you will see lots more of them around the garden now that the weather is warming up.

    • Hi Danny, get some white paper or recycle a white rubbish bag. Cut a number of pieces about the same size as a white butterfly. wrap some wire around the middle of each piece and attach to a stick or something narrow that can be poked in the ground for the “imitation” butterfly to hover above your crop. The real butterflies will notice that this area is already taken and move on. We have successfully saved our young green crops using this method especially the rocket that had been inundated with caterpillars the previous year.

    • I have had some success with crushing up eggshells in biggish pieces on the soil around the seedlings. Not sure if they think it is other moths, but seems to work!

    • Hi Danny
      I used a tip I saw on a gardening show. I put large black circles like eyes on a styrofoam ball.
      Attached it to a twig and put it next to my broccoli. There were no caterpillars this year. Also used it to keep caterpillars off my citrus trees.

  2. Hi Dann,

    Why not have a look at the SGA page on dealing with this pest. It can be found here: http://www.sgaonline.org.au/?p=170

  3. Thanks Helen. Just happens I have planted some coriander and sage nearby. Hopefully that will assist once they grow a bit more.

  4. It says not to prune apricot trees in August (lucky I read this before jumping i boots and all tomorrow). When (and how) do you prune them – we are in Melbourne.

  5. I have inherited a couple of big old apricot trees that I really need to bring back to a size that I can net, as I constantly lose all my fruit to the local rosellas! I was going to go in hard with the pruning saw and see how they faired, but I know they can be prone to rot. Any suggestions how best to approach it?

  6. Re keeping cabbage moths off seedlings. I use plastic tree guards with bird scarer mesh pegged across the top of the bag, and held down with pegs to the bamboo stakes. This also helps with wind protection and drying out.

  7. Re: pruning apricot trees. The advice I’ve been following is to prune all stone fruit trees after fruiting, or at least by late autumn, while the weather is still dry, so the wounds can close up before the rains come.

  8. re: keeping cabbage moths / cabbage white butterfly off seedlings. Have a look at Jackie French’s guide to companion planting…She has some great suggestions for a 3 pronged approach to dealing with them on your brassica’s. Mainly she says to disguise their (brassicas) scent, disguise their (brassicas) shape and attract predators…
    I planted white flowering plants around and amongst my brassicas, sometimes I put flowering stuff in pots so I can move it about the place when rotating crops. This confuses the butterflies/ moths as they think there is already another or other butterflies/ moths in the area. They don’t like that and will fly somewhere else.
    I plant celery with brassicas to disguise shape and they don’t compete so much for food as celery is fairly shallow rooted, or silverbeet, parsnips and broad beans.
    Sage for scent disguise and tomatoes when the season is right…..
    Try to avoid planting brassicas in rows as that is kinda like a buffet for them..
    A few suggestions but loads more info in Jackie French’s guide to Companion Planting…She’s my current favourite reference as she trials so much in her own garden and what she suggests seems to actually work here in Melbourne..

  9. Good morning all great day in Hobart after some lovely rain over the last few days.
    Can anyone advise me on the following.
    I have a Privot hedge that I planted a couple of years ago from cuttings its doing ok but I would really like it to take off this year .
    any advise on what I should & when I should feed it to get max growth.
    I have over 60 plants.

    • I don’t know if you realise that privet is an environmental weed in the Eastern states of Australia. There has been debate about whether it is considered a weed in Tasmania, or a potential environmental weed. If you really want to keep it, we suggest regular light applications of chicken manure and compost. If it were mine, I would plant something else since the warming climate may turn it into a definite environmental weed. Sorry to be discouraging.

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