So much depends on the weather, but looking into my crystal ball there are a number of things I shall hope to be doing in August.
French beans should keep coming, although peas and broad beans will finish. It is important to pick legumes regularly, for once the crop begins to mature the plant stops producing. Once this point is reached I always leave some pods on the plant and collect the seed for use next year. When plants die back it is time to cut them off at the base, leaving the roots in the ground. The stalks go on the compost heap while the roots, rich in nitrogen, should be left in the soil to rot and enhance it.
Tomatoes and Companions
The tomatoes seem to be doing quite well but the success or otherwise of these will depend on how much sunshine there is to ripen them. I plant them with basil, for reputedly it is not only in the kitchen that these two complement each other.
Depending on the weather the sweetcorn should be ready at the end of the month, although it could be September. Unless I net them the squirrels will let me know when they are ready by eating them. So I will aim to be one jump ahead and net the corn.
Keep Picking Concurbits
An abundant supply of courgettes should result as long as I keep picking them, and ditto the cucumbers which will be chopped into a green salad with the lettuce leaves, wild rocket, and nasturtium leaves and flowers.
I have autumn and summer fruiting raspberries so I hope to be picking the former. The fruits appear at the top of the canes. Once the summer fruiting ones have finished I will cut down the canes which have borne the fruit this year, leaving the green ones to bear next year’s raspberries.
The Florence Fennel will be ready to lift. It is a bit temperamental and tends to come all at once and to bolt in very dry conditions. Watering the bulbs in drought may stop the latter, while I tried to guard against the former by planting at various times.
Onions will be ready to harvest when the foliage turns yellow and droops. In hot weather I will leave them on the soil to dry, but I won’t let them get wet once half the job’s done, so I may transfer them to a drying rack which will be kept inside unless the weather is fine. Any blemished ones will be used first.
The second early potatoes will be dug by the end this month and earlier if potato blight strikes. I deliberately do not plant a late maincrop variety because of the threat of blight spreading on the allotment. While this is a common sense way of avoiding the problem it is important to be vigilant and to dig the tubers as soon as there is any evidence of this incurable disease. I wonder if it gives its name to the verb or vice versa, and how does a blighter fit in?
This spring, once plants started growing again, my very thin White Lisbon salad onions which had over wintered quickly grew to a decent size and provided us with a very early supply. Since this resulted from an August sowing last year I shall be doing this again.