August is our get ready for spring month. Use this month to pave the way for spring plantings. If you get in early with greencrops and organic matter you’ll reduce your need for bought fertiliser and compost.
Begin by cleaning out the old.
- Leave everything that is still providing harvest. Clean older crops up by peeling off old ratty foliage and in doing so you’ll create room.
- Clean out finished crops by chopping them off at ground level – where practical. Crunch or chop them up and use them in compost or for mulch. Really big chunky bits can go beneath avocados or other fruit trees to slowly break down.
- Harvest over wintering rootcrops like carrots, parsnips and yams. Wash them, dry them and store them in the crisper. Catch them before the weather warms next month and they start to split and head off to seed. Don’t waste these best of all foods!
… then fill it up right away!
Fill the space right away before the weeds take over. Keep harvest momentum up with new food crops and prep for spring with greencrops or compost piles.
Try to give an equal weight to each. They don’t need to be separate necessarily, some crops are well suited to sharing space with a greencrop as in the top photo where crimson clover, parsnip and nasturtium provide the groundcover for sprouting broccoli.
- Plant in guilds for garden strength. Peas + kale + mizuna + borage + calendula OR broadbeans + bok choy + cornflowers + phacelia. So many potential combos – have fun!
- Sow mixed greencrops of your choosing. Create your own little greencrop guilds – a nitrogen fixer + tap root + nectar + groundcover
- Pile up organic matter
Stock up on compost + seeds
Order in whatever seeds you need… remember to include greencrops and companions!
If you are going to need compost, look about for an organic supplier or atleast someone who cares about your gardens health ie tests each batch for mineral balance. Bought compost will likely be immature and will definately be devoid of life. It’ll benefit greatly from some time sitting on your soil to mature and become imbued with life, especially if its been sealed in a plastic bag. Free it from its suffocating bonds and empty it onto the soil. Perhaps pour some EM over it – let it breathe and revitalise before adding it to your garden.
What to plant and sow in August
Here’s what I can plant in my Levin garden, given that at the mo, my soil is 10 degrees and night temps range from 3 to 13. My soil has transformed from claggy clay to a lovely workable loam – this also dictates what I can plant. If yours is still soggy, leave it alone and plant into pots and boxes until it’s dried out. Meantime, keep building and converting clay to soil, you’ll get there!
If you’re a beginner and unsure what suits your place just take the plunge and have a go – it’s simply the best way to learn. It’s how us old gardeners know stuff, by all our flop crops.
- Mustard and phacelia greencrops for spring nectar and bee + predatory insect enticement
- Lupin greencrops sown this month will be pre-flower and ready to cut down or plant amongst, come October. A perfectly timed precursor to mid-spring plantings of heavy feeders. Think corn! tomatoes! squash!
- Poppy, calendula and borage
- Broccoli, cabbage, spring onions, red onions, brown onions, peas, miners lettuce, corn salad, parsley, various saladings
DIRECT OR TRAY SOW
- Spinach, coriander, bok choy, saladings or rocket in the greenhouse unless its warm enough outside at yours.
- Broadbeans, peas and brassicas
- Broccoli, kale, cabbage, onions, shallots, spring onions, perpetual spinach, silverbeet
- Saladings, beetroot, potatoes or bok choy in the greenhouse