With this August forecast in mind it’s important we’re efficient in the garden - seizing good days and carrying out key jobs when weather allows but also we take the time to sit down and enjoy our good work. This month is a key battle against weeds, preventing the ripening masses from setting seed and giving us years of future weed growth. Whenever you see a weed coming into flower - swirl the cutter and ‘Off with its head’ should be the cry!
Many weeds now are entering their reproductive stage so you need to keep an eye out for everything from Docks to Redshank to Himalayan Balsam setting seeds, after August the weed battle reduces in intensity.
For me I’m not upset with weeds in a garden, indeed weeding is an immensely enjoyable job - as the great Bob Flowerdew would say “Weeds are just compost I’ve not made yet”. I meet few gardeners that share the same enthusiasm for weeding as me, most look upon it as a chore, but when I’m weeding I get a sense of achievement when I look back over a piece of ground that I’ve just cleared.
Remember weeds grow where the soil is good, rubbish soil won’t attract weeds! - so soil higher in fertilty, higher in organic matter will have more weeds in it, but you don’t have to clear 100% of the weeds, you just have to manage them, keeping the weed pressure down around the plants. A healthy soil should have a ‘seed weed bank’. From a kitchen garden perspective weeds are important to be controlled within the first 20% of a plants lifespan, this is when they’ll have the greatest effect on the yield of your crop. In the ornamental garden is a case of having enough desireable plants growing as to hopefully crowd out the weeds, so pack plants in, layer your plants….have tall plants underplanted with ground covers..better to have too many plants that a garden full of weeding to do!!
Remember you’ve 9 dry days in August….make the most of them!