What to do in the vegetable garden and orchard in August
It may still be chilly, but spring produce is just around the corner.
Words: Jane Wrigglesworth
1. Start spring fruit tree prep. Start a routine fruit tree spray schedule before bud break in spring. Apply a copper spray when dry (or immediately after rain) to prevent fungal diseases such as leaf curl, botrytis, and black spot. Spray again after flowering, then again at leaf fall in autumn. Make sure you cover trees thoroughly, including small crevices.
2. Well-sprouted early potatoes can be planted. Use a tunnel house in cold regions.
3. Sow seeds in trays for planting out later: beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions.
4. Plant sprouted Jerusalem artichokes into well-drained soil enriched with compost. Plants can grow 3m high and spread, so allow for plenty of room in a separate bed. Set in shallow trenches about 5cm deep, 30-40cm apart, and 90-120cm between rows.
5. In warmer regions, sow beetroot, carrots, radish, and parsnip directly in the ground.
6. Rhubarb cuttings taken in winter will root in spring. Lift established plants. Use a spade to chop off a large chunk of the crown, ensuring there is at least one healthy- looking fat bud. Replant.
7. Sow early peas as the days become warmer. Protect with bird netting and cover with newspaper or cloth at any hint of frost.
8. Continue to sow broad beans.