August, is it spring or still winter... the annual debate!

Most of the work in the garden this month is about completing the winter pruning and spray programme. Later in the month is preparation for early spring work.

For gardeners who have a green house with a heat pad early seed sowing may be started. Autumn cuttings of pelargoniums and fuchsias should be well rooted by now and will need to be potted up into their first small pot. Any potting mix must be carefully handled especially if it has been stored over from last season ie. open bags outside and leave open for several hours before using. Wear a mask and gloves, especially if using potting mix inside.

Good hygiene for seed sowing containers will give good germination results. Use fresh sowing mix and discard any seeds that are past best-before date. New shoots from perennials can be used for cuttings, this includes plants like chrysanthemums and dahlias but they must be free of pests and disease so give them an all purpose spray a few days before (most of these plants will give better cuttings in September).

Green crops in the vegetable garden should now be dug in and compost applied to other areas to prepare the soil for planting next month.

Dig over the ground ready for potato planting incorporating a potato fertiliser 2 to 3 weeks in advance. Seed potatoes will be starting to shoot (citting) ready for early planting.

Keep on top of the weeds before they get too big. As it gets warmer weeds will grow much faster and smother young plants.

Lawns will be looking a bit untidy so a mow at a higher level will improve appearances. Later in the month feeding and maintenance work may begin.

Spring flowers will respond to a side dressing of a balanced fertiliser as they start their new growth later in the month.

Good gardening, Michael Coulter

Remember: bring your questions to our monthly AAG meeting, post them on HortTalk or email Michael directly beforehand