Allotments are brimming with fruit and veg at this time of year, but it’s important to avoid waste and also give everything a fighting chance come rain or shine.
Here are Garden Trader’s top tips for allotmenting in August:
1. Keep picking! Even if you are fed up of a certain type of vegetable that just won’t stop growing, keep picking as soon as it’s ready. Freeze fruit and veg (that can be frozen) once you’ve given it a good wash and blanch in boiling water if needed. Or of course keep your friends and family well stocked!
Beetroot and varieties of beans need to be picked at their prime or they become too big or rubbery.
Courgettes will be going mad too so keep picking them and don’t let them go mushy. You might need to get inventive with recipes as well. We’ve made courgette and pineapple jam this year!
2. Give everything a good feed – in August your fruit and vegetables are fighting for nutrients so you can boost them at this crucial growing stage with a feed. Depending on whether your allotment is organic or not, pick one that is right for you. Your tomatoes and leeks will thank you for it especially, as they are having their final stage of growth.
3. Talking of tomatoes, if you have four trusses formed then nip out any additional flowers, as any new growth is unlikely to ripen in time and you’ll be taking precious nutrients away from the other tomatoes that do have hope. Also, where you have fruit formed then remove some of the leaves around it to maximise its exposure to sunlight, this will help to ripen them.
You might also want to do this for any pumpkins you have growing. Pop them on some kind of brick so they aren’t directly on the ground and let the sun get to them. They’d also welcome a nice feed too!
4. Keep a close eye on your greens, checking for hungry white flies and a number of other bugs. If you spot them you can find a suitable way to deal with them, but it’s best to get on top of them early, especially if you have a big patch, as they can munch their way through your cabbages super quickly! They lay lots of eggs too, so you might have to go back and treat them a few times.
5. And we know it’s everyone’s least favourite thing about gardening and allotmenting but keep on top of your weeds! See one – get rid of it!
Put a mulch down to keep the ground nice and damp too.
And, if a vegetable has finished and you’ve cleared the ground, cover it with something like green manure to lock in the nitrogen and other precious nutrients. When it rains you don’t want all that goodness being washed away.