August – Winter
North Island, New Zealand
Temperate with Frosts
The last month of winter! We are well into the month of crisp mornings, sunny beautiful days and then frosts at night that so readily catch us out. The frosts always leave me uneasy and I wonder how my garden will cope. So far, so good!
This month there is plenty to do in the garden as we look towards spring and planning the spring/summer garden. There is still lots of options for planting in August though to ensure you have a steady supply of in-season fruits and vegetables…
To plant this month:
Beetroot, blueberries, deciduous fruit trees (apple etc), lettuce, onions, pak choy/bok choi, parsley, peas, strawberries, silver beet, spinach…
My top 5 in the garden for August are…
Winter is the perfect time of year to plant blueberries, ready for harvesting in spring/summer. The first spring/summer, the fruiting will be minimal, but give them time and a blueberry plant will pay its’ way rewarding you with lots of fruit.
Blueberry plants have quite shallow roots so are perfect for planting in pots as I have done, or they make attractive border fences also. They like a slightly acidic soil and not too much compost/manure. They like sunny, free draining soil. Remember to net your plants so that the birds don’t get to your fruit before you!
There are so many different varieties of blueberries with harvests arriving at slightly different months, so pop to Mitre 10 or the equivalent and browse their great selection.
2)Pak Choy/Bok Choi.
I’m still absolutely loving the speed at which pak choy/bok choi (Chinese cabbage) grows. It’s literally garden to plate in just over a month which makes a welcome change to how slow growth is for most vegetables during the winter.
Plant pak choy/bok choi in a sunny spot, in healthy free draining soil and in little over a month you will be enjoying them. You can wait for them to be ready and sizeable and use the whole plant, or like me, use a leaf at a time in stir fries or raw chopped in salads.
Lettuce can be grown year round but thrives in cooler and even shady conditions and is actually easier to grow in winter as it won’t bolt to seed. There are so many delicious and pretty types available. Pick the outer leaves and you will be kept with a continuous supply for a long time.
Lettuce is great in a garden bed or for convenience, works just as well in pots outside your door, for easy access during the cooler months.
Parsley is so versatile, it’s one of my garden must-haves and I use it all the time. I mostly use it in salads – not just as a garnish, but as an ingredient.
It’s perfect to turn scrambled eggs into an acceptable meal, along with a loaf of fresh bread!
Parsley is hardy and easy to grow. Just put it in the sun or semi-shade in good quality free draining soil. Pick what you need ,as you need and the plant just comes away again each time.
It’s still a great time of year to split up rhubarb plants into some young healthy new plants. All you need to do is break off a clump from your existing plant (or ask a friend for some) with a sharp knife and plant it and it will come away in no time as soon as the roots have settled.
I have done this with my main plant and the new baby plants are thriving…check out my photos. Come spring, they will come away even more quickly. And in years to come should provide lots of fresh rhubarb stems for stewed rhubarbs and crumbles.