The Fruit Garden in Summer
What to do in the fruit garden in August
At this time of year it is best to allow all fruits, except pears, to ripen on the plant. Pears should be picked just before they are ripe - when they part quite easily from the tree. Picked pears can then be ripened indoors and eaten when ready.
Detach young strawberry runners from their parent plants once rooted to make new strawberry beds. Check that new roots have formed by gently pulling on the runner. If the new plant remains firmly in position, then you can assume that it has rooted successfully. Cut the runner with a sharp knife, then a couple of days later, move the plant to its new home-ideally a sunny, sheltered spot with fertile, well-drained soil. Keep them well watered at this stage.
Continue removing runners from established strawberries, and give protection to autumn fruiting cultivars, in the form of netting against birds, and lay straw down against mud splash.
Pruning and Training
Finish summer pruning gooseberries and check for mildew and sawfly.
Prune blackcurrants once they have finished fruiting. Prune one or two of the oldest fruiting canes right back to ground level, and nip back the other branches to a healthy new bud. Spray if leaf spot is a problem.
Once loganberries have finished cropping, cut back the old canes to ground level, to give next year's fruiting canes-a chance to get away strongly. If the new canes are crowded, it's advisable to remove all but four or five of the best looking, and train them along the wires as they grow.
Tree fruit such as pears, plums, apples, cherries, peaches and apricots will need picking, as soon as they are ripe. Rake up and put on the compost heap any fruit left rotting beneath the trees.
Birds and wasps can be particular menace this month.
Melons should be swelling and will need regular supplies of water. If they have reached their full size and have stopped swelling, stop watering them and move aside, or cut off completely, any leaves that are shading the fruit. Any flowers and young shoots should be nipped off.
The training and summer pruning of fruit trees grown against walls should continue through August.
Weed round the base and between the rows and break-up the ground if it is compacted from heavy picking. Then give them a thorough watering followed by mulching.
If mildew is a problem on grapevines, spray with an appropriate fungicide.
Support Branches of Fruit Trees
Any branches heavily laden with fruit will need supporting if they are not to be broken. Plums are particularly likely to suffer from this because of their rather brittle wood and the habit of producing either very light or very heavy crops. The various methods of support are described in July.
Fruit for August
The following fruits can be harvested in August:
Blackberries & hybrids
Peaches & nectarines