Homeschooling Garden Club – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Its August and the weather is being somewhat tricky with the temperatures swinging back and forth over 10 / 12 degrees within 12 hour periods, promising rain and not delivering, then being muggy and windy.

The Good in the garden at this time is most things are doing their thing and simply growing, so it nice only to have to pop out and pick the herbs, the apples, the plums, the salads, the spring onions and watching the tomatoes, cucumbers, courgette get bigger.

A number of my plants have black fly all over them which is not so great, but I have seen a large number of ladybirds. Ladybirds, love blackfly! So, we are seeing a lot of ladybirds. I love ladybirds: as this was one of the names of my classes when I worked in schools. They have a very interesting life cycle. Want to do learning this week? Why not borrow a book about ladybirds.

The bad, is the swings in the weather, getting very hot after rain can open up the conditions for blight and grey mould. The very high temperature, we had last weekend, has upset my pumpkin. Some of the larger pumpkins are not looking too great. My beans have decided they have had enough, given up and simple withered. I have only managed to get this amount of beans in total.

So, I am not looking forward to this weekend’s predicted 34 degrees. We have used up all the water in the water butts and so I am having to trek the water around by can from the outside tap, not close to anything that needs watering.

The ugly, is that some of the apple trees are dropping their apples early and we are having to scramble to pick them up and get them into the kitchen quickly. Normally, I would be suggesting that you leave some windfall fruit on the ground as a tasty treat for wildlife. However, we have been having a problem with too many wasps. Apart of the wasp’s there is another garden visitor interested in our fallen apples and we can see the evidence in the teeth marks. We have spotted this visitor using the hedgehog holes we have put in the fence. We have given the whole garden a good look over, the rat has not yet moved in. We will be dealing with him directly.


We can’t close the hedgehog holes as this week we have also found evidence of them as well – hedgehog poo on the patio. Technically, that is a good sign – unless you pop out bear footed and step into it!

Things To Do This Month in Your Garden.

  • Keep bird baths topped up with fresh water

  • Deadhead summer flowering perennials and annuals as they finish flowering so they give you more flowers.

  • Continue to cut down stems on perennials as they finish flowering, add these to your compost heap

  • Trim Lavender bushes after flowering to remove the dead flower spikes

  • Peg down runners on Strawberry plants ready for detaching once they have rooted

  • Take tip cuttings of woody herbs such as Rosemary and Sage to replace any old plants

  • Pinch out the tips of Runner Beans once they have reached the top of their poles (or in my case, I will be digging them out and thinking about a replacement crop.)

  • Summer prune shrubs by removing two thirds of the long, upright growths that have developed since the spring.

Start planning ahead by looking at where the gaps are and you can choose some spring flowering bulbs that can be planted over the next couple of months.

Planting

  • Transplant leeks to their final positions once they are the thickness of a pencil

  • Sow seeds of perennials that need a frost to germinate and leave them outside in a cold frame

Pocket Money Jobs this Month

  • Sweep your patio areas regularly and treat any small weeds as they germinate

  • Hoe weeds from gravel areas and treat with a residual weed killer to prevent more weed seeds from germinating

  • Clean out your water butts if they are empty, removing sludge and algae

  • Trim hedges that are becoming untidy

Wildlife and Pests

  • Keep bird baths topped up with fresh water

  • Leave seed heads on some of your plants as extra food for birds and small mammals

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