It’s nearly August and I’m dreaming of long summer days and a healthy summer garden overflowing with vegetables and herbs. To make this dream into reality it’s time to get into the garden and turn over, mulch and fertilise the raised beds so they’re ready to plant.

If you’re wondering what to plant at this time of year the passionate people at Awapuni Nurseries have written a brilliant monthly guide (available on their site), here’s this month’s guide for what to do and plant in August….

If you’re keen to freshen up your back yard with some nice smart lawn, now’s the time to prepare the soil. Give it a good rake, level it off and get ready to apply your grass seed and fertisliser. How do you know when to do this? Once the soil temperature has started rising – that’s the time to apply your grass seed. And, how do you know when the soil temperature is rising? That’s easy – when you find you’re mowing your lawns more often than not – the soil temperature has increased. If you live in the colder parts of the country, you should be finishing off your rose pruning around now.

Hoe out winter weeds now before they get growing in spring, you’ll save yourself a lot of work.  Now’s the time to plant new brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage etc) for harvesting in summer and new season potatoes, yams and kumaras for enjoying at Christmas. Grow lettucepeasbroad beanssilver beetbeetroot and new season rhubarb. But before you do, dig over the garden and add a good general fertiliser and a bit of mulch to give the soil a boost.

When the weather starts to warm up – hopefully at the end of the month – you can start to plant carrots and radish. Brighten up your flowerbeds by growing pansyviolastock and lobelia seedlings. Or try planting perennials like new season lavender, peony roses or hostas.

It’s also a good time to plant fruit trees.  Tidy up and put all your leaves and prunings into your compost bin. For our guide to creating compost click here.

And, lastly check for aphids on everything, but particularly new shoots on your roses.
If you spot aphids on your plants simply hose them off with a strong stream of water and spray the plant with Neem, an organic oil.