Vege patch to-do list
This month’s moon calendar, and edible crops to sow and tend now
August is busier than you think.
It’s still winter, but there’s plenty to plant, sow or get done out there. Sow suitable salad crops in pots or trays to harvest as baby salad greens, or even chance sowing a few direct in a sheltered spot in your garden. You can pop in seedlings of suitably cold hardy leafy greens too. Bareroot fruit trees are still available at the garden centre and won’t be for much longer – and remember bareroot trees are cheaper than bagged or container grown trees, not to mention easier on your back to shift around! Pick up a few potted and bareroot strawberry plants while you are at the garden centre too if you want more plants or to ensure you have young strawberry plants coming on – strawberry plants crop well for about three years, so it’s a good idea to add a few new plants every year and take out any that are past their best.
Chit seed potatoes now to plant soon.
Letting seed spuds start sprouting before you plant isn’t essential, but it gives your crop a head start when it’s too cold to plant outside! Besides it’s easy as, just arrange your spuds in a single layer in a shallow box and pop them somewhere warm, dry and out of direct sun inside for a week or so – the sprouts should be about 1-2cm – then plant outside.
Sow tomatoes, pepper and chillies.
August is a great month to start these heat-loving solanaceous crops inside or undercover in trays. It is a bit of a faff, keeping them cosseted on seed-raising trays or the top of your fridge (heat from below will hugely improve your strike rate), but it does mean that come late October when it’s warm enough to shift these heat-loving crops into the garden your plants will be nice and big – and of course that means they’ll start bearing fruit more quickly. And with tomatoes at least, if you pick early you avoid the worst effects of blight and psyllid.