Next up in our series of allotment-themed blogs is a growing guide for August. We caught up with Steve Millam, Director of Chichester College’s Brinsbury Campus to find out what the top tasks are this month.
Seasoned gardener and horticultural expert, Steve attends seed swaps and gardeners question times across the South. He shares an allotment with his sister, where they specialise in soft fruit and veg.
August on the allotment
This is peak harvest time for most allotment growers with many of the spring sown crops such as carrots and beetroot coming up to harvest. Runner beans need to be picked constantly to keep them cropping, and they all get eaten fresh in our house, but later on you could think about some runner bean chutney, I was given some last year and it was great.
French beans are an excellent and reliable crop on my allotment, productive and easy, with successional showings you can get crops right through to Autumn now, so much better than buying imported ones from the supermarket!
When I first started on the allotment I followed all the rules and had my rotations planned, everything in straight lines and spaced evenly. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do that, one of the joys of allotment growing is to take time to admire what others are doing on their plots (I spent a pleasant afternoon watching someone double dig their entire plot earlier in the year!). However, I have relaxed the rules and now mix crops up in beds, plant some flowers for cutting in there as well and always try a new crop or variety every year. Golden beetroot is a great alternative for instance.
There is still plenty of time to sow crops in any gaps that appear in the beds, I might just get another pea crop in, using the variety “meteor”, and more spinach, lettuce, radish and spring onions have all got to go in. I'm very keen on the rapid growing salad leaf mixes, and these are very adaptable, quick to grow and taste fantastic.
There's always plenty to do on the allotment in August, and I'm looking forward to the first apples of the year very soon!