Gardeners like to think that August is a “quiet month” but in fact it can be surprisingly busy with pruning, harvesting and taking advantage of the last chance to plant out spring crops.

There’s also a second wave of insect pests to deal with, not to mention a resurgence of weeds. Both can line up problems for the future if not dealt with now.


 Prune climbing and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering - unless they’re repeat flowerers.

 Dead-head bedding plants and perennials to encourage them to flower into the autumn and cut back faded perennials to keep borders tidy.

 Prune all summer-flowering shrubs once blooms are finished and trim lavender plants once they have finished flowering, by up to a third.

 Keep patio container plants well-watered and feed with liquid fertiliser every fortnight.

 Wisteria will benefit from having laterals pruned back to a couple of buds.


 Feed high-potash fertiliser such as tomato food, not only to tomatoes but to sweetcorn, pepper, cucumber and aubergine plants once fruit starts to form.

 Start harvesting maincrop potatoes when leaves go yellow and die back. Store in hessian sacks which keep out the light but allow ventilation.

 Keep picking courgettes and runner beans or further flowering or fruiting will be inhibited. Garlic should also be ready for lifting now.

 Spring-sown carrots and beetroots should be ready to harvest but can be left in the ground for a while longer.

 When soil is moist, sow spring cabbage and winter lettuce. Mulch with compost as soon as seedlings are large enough.


 Beware a second wave of cabbage white caterpillars on brasssicae and red spiders in the greenhouse. Daily spraying with warm water is said to be a deterrent.

 Wasps will be a nuisance among ripening fruit so try hanging half-full jars of jam-sweetened water among the branches.