AUGUST already – how did that happen?

Although whilst gardening it feels like we have gone back to April, with everything growing with that super-spring energy super-charged with April-esque showers. And yet, the early mornings also now have that autumnal feel about them already. As you can tell – I don’t really know what month it is!

I do know that for a lot of people gardening has lost its appeal by this time of year, as enthusiasm for ‘going on holiday’ replaces any enthusiasm once felt for ‘growing your own’. I completely ‘get it’, if it’s any consolation, professional gardeners also wane a bit now too–Bank managers tend to keep us motivated!

However, there is a lot of ‘good gardening time’ left yet, so try to stay enthusiastic.

There is still time to sow some veggie and leafy salad seeds for late crops and of course to plan for winter veg.

As Monty Don says, “August is a great time to sow seeds and plant young plants in the UK. On the vegetable patch, sowing and planting out now will keep your cropping season going, providing you with short-term harvests of salad leaves and other quick-growing crops such as radishes, along with longer-cropping plants like winter cabbages.

For veg that need a bit of time to crop well, planting in August will ensure plants get plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures before autumn sets in.”

The rabbits had my spring sowing of lettuce and after sulking for a couple of months, I have just made several new sowings of ‘Four Colour Mizuna Mix’ from Thompson & Morgan which should be ready to harvest in 6 weeks. Mid-September will soon be here – and will probably bring summer with it. I’ve also sown some more beetroot – I am confident that we will have a summer-like autumn and therefore they won’t know what month it is either.

Plenty of salad crops will grow outside in winter with a little protection. The key is to get them in the ground in early autumn whilst the soil is still warm so seedlings or plug plants will establish quickly when planted out.

I’m going to sow some corn salad and winter purslane in trays and bring them on in the greenhouse before planting out at the end of the month. I’ll also sow some directly into the soil now. It will be interesting to see the difference – and of course so much will depend on the type of winter weather we get.

I will have to provide some protection with a cloche when the temperatures fall. It can be a good time to buy things like that now – ahead of the winter–as you can get some good deals. You can ‘get sowing’ in flowerbeds too.

Obviously you won’t see the rewards this year but sow hardy annuals now you’ll have a good head start with colour in the spring. Colourful and easy to grow, calendula and cornflowers can be sown directly in the ground or in pots during August and September for earlier flowers next spring.

Just mark where you have made the sowings as the chances are you’ll forget!

And for those who have noticed my obsession with my runner beans this year – I win! I have had a meal of the most delicious butter-soaked sliced runner beans. Hopefully I will have more than one meal but just in case, I want you to know that against all odds – drought, high winds, heavy rain, rabbits, pigeons, moles – I triumphed.

My brother is a huge advocate for ‘little wins’ and as the saying goes, “Success is only a series of small wins.” Now if only I can win with my lettuce.