Our Top August Allotment Tips is back and the last few weeks have seen a bonanza of tasty produce to harvest on allotments up and down the land. All the hard work of earlier in the year is now paying dividends in the most wonderful way.
Harvesting Your Crops & Cutting Flowers
The more frequently you crop runner beans and courgettes, the greater the yield will be. It is the same with sweet peas. If spent flowers are left on the plants, pods start to form and flower production is greatly reduced. At this time of year, frequent, short visits to the plot are key.
Some plot holders give away their surplus produce and flowers to friends or neighbours rather than leaving it on the plant too long. This is a good idea and is also useful if you are away for a few days.
I tend to pick the majority of my produce before it gets too large or mature. Beetroot, broad beans, courgettes, peas and turnips are some examples. Beetroot and turnip are best harvested up to the size of a golf ball for maximum flavour and tenderness. Larger specimens can go a little woody in the centre.
There Are Plenty of Varied Tasks to Keep Allotmenteers Busy This Month!
Soft fruit is cropping profusely now but afterwards, there is work to be done. After my loganberries and summer-fruiting raspberries have finished, I’ll be cutting back the fruited canes, close to ground level. This helps the plants to maintain vigour and remain as productive as possible. If left they can become congested with weaker stems. Loganberries are a cross between a blackberry and raspberry and are notoriously heavy croppers with larger juicy berries. If like myself you are not the biggest fan of raspberries, loganberries make a great alternative.
As the summer wears on, wasps love most fruits and can become a real pest. Tree fruits such as plums are vulnerable as wasps quickly exploit any weakness in the fruit made by birds, insects or via rot or blemishes. Last week I made a discovery on my plot that one of my bird boxes had been turned into a wasps nest! Quietly and without fuss the wasps had built a colony inside the box including on the outside. Rather than tackle this now, I’ll simply leave it alone and stay well clear. A waspinator is a low priced deterrent that dissuades wasps from nest buildings close by. Alas for this year it is now too late, but there is always next year.
How to Tackle Potato Blight – Top August Allotment Tips
Keep an eye out for potato blight, which can often strike at this time of year. Blight is encouraged by any humid, damp late summer weather. Early signs are unsightly brown fungal patches appearing quickly on the foliage. In just a matter of days, the whole plant becomes riddled and collapses. Cut off the stems at ground level as soon as sightings are confirmed to prevent the blight from reaching those all-important potato tubers.
Sowing, Planning, Ordering & Restoring the Plot
Over the past few years, I’ve shamefully allowed my strawberry planter to become a little neglected. During the next few weeks, my intention is to correct this by starting again. I’ll refill the planter with new compost and new plants. These will have time to become established before the onset of winter.
During mid-August, I like to sow a crop of late summer Spinach. As soon as germination occurs, keep the plants moist and out of any sustained hot temperatures. This will reduce the chances of the plants bolting.
If you haven’t done so already now is the time to purchase onion sets, shallots and garlic for overwintering. For banana-type shallots try the sweet-tasting ‘Longor’ which has attractive-looking pink flesh. The variety ‘Griselle’ has a stronger, spicier taste.
August is a typically varied month on the allotment. I love the mix of reward versus effort you get at this time of year. Meanwhile, let’s not forget to plan for winter!
We hope you have enjoyed our Top August Allotment Tips and stay tuned for more in September.
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