During these hotter months, water becomes vital, especially for your vegetables. They have a high percentage of water, so they need plenty! If you have a bumper summer crop, consider freezing, preserving or sharing your harvest, so it doesn’t go to waste.

Key Points

  • In cooler areas give hedges a trim so they develop new growth to harden before winter.
  • Remove spent summer annuals and prepare the ground for autumn/ winter flowering plants.
  • If you intend sowing grass seed in the autumn, start preparing ground now. Spray out all weeds first with Roundup – be patient, wait till all weeds have died off before cultivating the soil.
  • Finish picking stone and pip fruit, and then lightly prune fruit trees, removing any overcrowded branches to let more light in.

The Edible Garden

  • Although this is officially the last month of summer, in warmer climates it is still not too late to plant out some more lettuce seedlings to get continuous cropping into autumn.
  • Now is the time to be thinking about the autumn/winter garden. As the summer crops are harvested, dig over the soil adding compost and a dressing of lime in preparation for winter crops.
  • You can now start planting out seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, leeks, celery, Brussels sprouts
  • Continue harvesting summer veges regularly. If you have powdery mildew on courgettes, cucumbers and pumpkins, this can be controlled with Yates Greenguard, one of the new environmentally friendly products used to control plant disorders.
  • Sowing seeds is an economical and fun way to start off your winter vege garden. You can now sow the following seeds – beetroot, carrots, parsnips, spring onion, and silverbeet. Sow carrots and parsnips directly into the ground and thin as the leaves emerge. Other seeds can be sown in seed trays and planted out into the garden as young seedlings.
  • Keep an eye out for white butterfly caterpillars and dust affected plants with derris dust.
  • Lift garlic and onions and lie out in the sun to dry.

The Flower Garden

  • February is bulb planting month. Daffodils, Freesias, Ixias, Anemones, Sparaxis, Ranunculus can all be planted now, in pots or directly into the garden. When planting in the garden, incorporate some Bulb Food into the soil around each bulb. In pots, mix in some controlled release fertiliser such as Osmocote or Acticote. As a rule of thumb the bigger the bulb, the deeper you plant it – about twice as deep as the size of the bulb.
  • Towards the end of the month start thinking about preparing pots and baskets for their winter displays. Start with fresh container mix, adding in some extra controlled release fertiliser. Seedlings of Alyssum, Lobelia, Pansy, Primulas, Viola will all be available this month to get you started.
  • Trim back the long tendrils on Wisteria and other climbing plants that have finished flowering
  • Continue to deadhead roses, perennials and annuals as the flowers finish. This will help prolong flowering into the autumn.
  • In this drier period, small thrip insects thrive. They especially like Fuchsias, Camellias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Photinias, and Gladioli. Spray with Yates Super Shield to control these and other insect pests and diseases.

The Lawn

  • Raise the cutting height on your lawn mower. Longer grass shades the roots and helps them retain moisture which keeps the lawn green.
  • The summer heat will slow growth, water if necessary.