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Seed Club - August


Whether you’re new to growing from seed or more experienced, our Seed Club offers you great deals on seeds, timely reminders and practical seed-sowing advice. Every month, Sally Nex will be guiding you through the key sowing and growing jobs.


It's holiday time! Not that I'm going anywhere. There's no school run to do, the garden is overflowing with fresh veg - why would I want to be anywhere else? August can be a tricky month, though. Most spring sowings have run their course, and if you're to avoid the dreaded August doldrums those late sowings made in May and June suddenly become vital. As I clear spent plants, I just pop in a youngster for a seamless transition.

Sally Nex


Veg jobs for August

Veg jobs

  • Vary the water you give tomatoes according to the weather, giving each plant up to 1.5 litres (three pints) a day on sunny days but dropping back to as little as 200ml (1/4 pt) if it's overcast and cool. If moisture levels yo-yo too much your fruit will split, so aim to keep soil evenly damp at all times
  • Greenfly love settling down to enjoy a juicy parsley leaf in midsummer so inspect leaves regularly (especially the undersides) and squash on sight
  • Keep slugs off container-grown veg by standing pots on bricks in wide saucers kept topped up with water. Slugs hate swimming - so they'll look for their tea elsewhere
  • If kale leaves start looking a little ragged, the caterpillars of cabbage white butterflies could be to blame. They'll strip the leaves if you let them, so pick them off every few days or spray with the biological control Steinernema carpocapsae
  • Leave a few pods on your French bean plants unpicked to mature. Once they turn brown and papery, shell out the dried beans inside and store as haricots for hearty winter soups
  • Lettuces are shade-lovers and really suffer in hot weather, often bolting (running to seed) early. Cover rows in shade netting during heatwaves and water often to keep them nice and cool
  • Sow a mix of chard varieties thickly into containers or wide drills (water the bottom of the drill beforehand if it's dry) and they'll shoot up in record time to give you baby leaves with brilliantly colourful stems to brighten up salads through autumn
  • After mowing the lawn, take the cuttings over to the veg garden to use as a thick, weed-suppressing mulch around your plants. Pull them back a little from the plants themselves, though, in case they cause stems to rot
  • Pull beetroot once they get to golfball size to enjoy the roots at their sweetest. Twist off the foliage (you can eat this too - it's like spinach), and roast the beets whole in a parcel of foil till tender
  • If you're going on holiday ask a neighbour to pop in and pick over your climbing beans for you while you're away, so you don't come home to lots of old tough beans fit only for the compost heap


Seed Club veg offers

Seed Club Snap up bargains at Thompson and Morgan:


Flower jobs for August

Flower jobs

  • Towards the end of the month, sow another module tray of larkspur seeds and leave outside in a sheltered spot till next spring. They'll germinate all the better for a bit of frost and flower much earlier too
  • Collect your own zinnia seeds for next season - the offspring won't be the same as the parents but they'll still put on a colourful display! Let seed heads dry on the plant if possible and clean off debris before storing till next spring
  • In hot weather water daily in the morning or after the sun has lost its heat in the early evening, so every drop soaks right into the roots and none is lost to evaporation
  • Take cuttings of Verbena bonariensis now to grow on under cover for next year's flowers. Cut a non-flowering shoot 10cm long just above a bud, remove lower leaves and dibble into dampened, gritty compost to root
  • Dead-head annual rudbeckias, snipping spent flowerheads back to the next pair of leaves down to encourage more blooms
  • Transplant self-sown love-in-a-mist seedlings to where you want them to grow, digging them up carefully with as much root intact as possible and replanting at the same depth
  • Clear spent sweet peas, removing top growth to the compost bin but leaving the nitrogen-rich roots in the ground to break down, releasing their goodness into the soil
  • When cutting delicate annuals like cosmos, cleome or zinnias to bring into the house, pop them in a bucket of clean water somewhere cool for two or three hours for a good drink before bringing them indoors - they'll last much longer
  • Hoe between rows weekly to slice off annual weeds the moment they emerge, choosing a dry day so they shrivel on the surface of the soil and can't re-root
  • Late sowings of cosmos made last month should be sturdy seedlings by now, so use them to fill gaps opening up in borders as early flowering plants are cleared. They'll flower from September till the first frosts



Seed Club flower offers

Seed Club Save money at Thompson and Morgan:


Next month

Sally Nex

Seed Club - jobs for September

Enjoy putting your feet up while you can, as it's back into top gear next month. There are spent plants to clear, veg beds to tuck up for winter and next year's hardy annuals to sow - and all with the harvest at full throttle and the freezer filling fast. Brace yourself - it's going to be busy!


Seed Club factsheets

Download your handy, printable factsheets, giving you the know-how to grow vigorous and healthy crops from seed. (The factsheets, in PDF format, open in a new window.)


View the full range of offers

Browse the full range of seed collection, tools and accessories on offer by visiting the Seed Club page on the Thompson and Morgan.


More advice on seed sowing

Seed sowing projects on Seeding sowing projects and videos
For more tips and advice on raising plants from seed, browse our extensive collection of step-by-step projects and practical videos.

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