Spring, is that you? Warmer weather is in sight, but we've got one more month of frosts to get through before we can revel in the bounty of spring and summer. So what can we do in our gardens in the meantime?
While the soil may still be cold and chilly winds could strike at a moment's notice, there's a lot you can get done in the garden this month and your preparation will pay dividends when the warmer months roll around.
Peas and broad beans can both go in the ground now and not only do they look pretty, but they'll start producing food quickly once the weather gets a little warmer.
Salad greens like lettuce, silverbeet and rocket can also be planted in August, and in just over a month you'll be using your harvest to put together fresh and yummy spring salads.
You can also try planting leeks, shallots and onions - just ensure the soil is relatively fertile and slightly alkaline.
One of the key activities to tick off in August is to get your garden prepped for spring.
Start by finishing off your pruning, particularly any rose bushes, which will require a bit of TLC ahead of prolific growth as the weather warms up.
You should also apply a good-quality lawn fertiliser to your grass and a slow-release fertiliser to your plants. Finish it off with a generous layer of mulch, to trap the moisture so your plants don’t dry out as the mercury rises.
Any tomato lovers can also get a head start on their patch, by filling some egg cartons with seed raising mix and tomato seeds, then keeping them in a sunny, warm spot, like a windowsill.
If you’re looking to inject some colour into your garden, try planting some brightly-coloured daisies, which are sure to bring some winter cheer to your patch.
Gerberas can also be planted now in pots or garden beds, or get adventurous with some edible flowers like calendula, which will add some colour and interest to your spring salads.
If you're after something a bit different, plant a Midyim berry bush for some native Aussie bush tucker. The bush likes full sun or part shade in well-drained soils, and the taste and appearance of its berries are reportedly very similar to blueberries.
Try using your harvest in a delicious pie or whip up a Midyim jam.
Trees and shrubs
After getting started on planting your bare-rooted trees in July, finish off the rest of your tree planting in August.
Take care of any flowering shrubs, like camellias, by giving them a feed with plant food.
You can also plant olive trees at this time of year, which love warm and dry climates in summer and cool winters, similar to their native home in the Mediterranean. These beautiful trees are both drought and frost-tolerant, and after four or five years will start producing delicious and versatile fruit.
Looking to grow your own veggie patch? Start your garden on 25 and 26 August with a FREE Basil Growing Kit and Collector’s Tray when you buy a participating paper. Then, collect a new growing kit, complete with seeds, soil and pot for just $2.50 each day – all you need to do is add water.
NT | SA | TAS | WA: August 25 – September 8
NSW | VIC | QLD: August 26 – September 9