When the summer months are in full swing, there is no better time to utilise your polytunnel. Although the UK weather is never predictable, the scorching summer days will likely outweigh the bad.
While the weather outside is optimal for growing, gardeners can still utilise their polytunnel and begin to prepare for the adverse autumn weather. Getting ahead can help you significantly as the year progresses whilst still enjoying all the August growing season has to offer.
To make the most of your polytunnel before the colder months set in, this guide will show you how to bridge the season gap between the summer and autumn months and help you decide what to plant in August in the UK.
What’s inside your polytunnel in August
August brings an abundance of delicious, fresh, and healthy home grown produce for you to enjoy. The heat-loving crops you have lovingly tended throughout the spring months have grown and are ready to pick.
Despite the fruits of your labour becoming fully grown in many cases, there are still plenty of vegetables to plant in August in the UK. Your crops should be at their best now, so start harvesting! You should be collecting your carrots, sweetcorn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions, and more. An August polytunnel harvest can quickly fill even the largest of baskets, so be ready to pick, pickle and freeze. Friends and family, neighbours and work colleagues will be happy to relieve you of any surplus fruit and veg!
If your crops aren’t quite ready, consider whether your heavier crops are putting strain on their stems. Tie up your tomatoes and cucumbers to avoid any stem breakage. Stake peppers and aubergines to help support the plants, keeping them upright and keeping them off the ground where they are vulnerable to pests or rotting.
Keep feeding ripening crops and plants in pots regularly. Now is a good time to switch to high-potash fertilisers to encourage tomatoes, melons, and cucumbers to continue to fruit well. Your tomatoes will also thank you for pinching out the tops of the plants when they have reached the required height, removing the entire stem to just above the topmost pair of leaves – This helps to concentrate the plant’s energy on ripening tomatoes, rather than getting taller.
Once you have picked your August yield, you can shift your focus to optimum polytunnel growing in August.
Top growing tips for August
Your polytunnel should be looking ripe with new produce. If your yield is ready at the right time, gaps may occur once you have picked the ready plants. To help you manage this change, check out our handy hints and tips.
Prep your polytunnel
It might seem like a tiresome task but weeding your polytunnel in August is one of the best times to do it. As the weather is so warm, the weeds can be left out to dry out and die in the warmth, making your life a lot easier.
Weeding little and often helps you manage a task that could escalate into an enormous one. Weeds can be an eyesore amongst your beautiful crops and they steal valuable moisture and nutrients from your soil – so weeding is most definitely worth your while.
Cut back foliage and remove any unwanted, diseased or damaged, yellowing foliage as soon as they appear to help prevent the spread of fungal diseases and allow air to move more freely throughout the polytunnel.
You may begin to see some gaps in your polytunnel from the crops you have picked. A good idea would be to fill the gaps with compost top dressing. You should replenish the nutrients in the soil, giving future plants a healthy environment in which to grow.
Keep your crops hydrated
Keep watering your plants regularly and carefully. Consider watering your plants early in the morning in preparation for the hot days ahead. If the atmosphere is very dry, mist overhead and hose down paths.
If you don’t have the time to individually water your plants, consider getting an irrigation system built into your polytunnel. These can help you design your own watering system, taking the stress out of plant watering.
Get some holiday help
If the pressure of knowing what veg to plant in August or what August seeds you need to sow is getting too much to cope with, consider getting help from other people. More people are off work due to the summer holidays, so get them involved!
That way, if you want to go away on holiday, then you need not worry. You know you will have someone on hand to take care of your precious crops while you are gone.
Create more space
As your crops grow larger, they will start to take up more space in your polytunnel. Therefore, you might find it hard to make space for new vegetables to plant in August in the UK.
It might be a good idea to invest in some polytunnel trestle staging. Not only does it give you more growing space, but spacing out plants also helps to keep the air circulating around your polytunnel, helping your crops stay as healthy as possible.
Keeping ventilation to a maximum and allowing air circulation between your plants is important during the summer months, as overheating can kill plants. Polytunnel doors and side vents should be opened as soon as the sun shines throughout August.
Adding extra thermal mass
Enjoy the summer weather while it lasts, as we all know it will inevitably change very soon. You may think that thermal protection is the last thing that needs considering in summer, but as the weather changes at the end of summer, your plants may need shielding.
Think about getting a fleece or bubble wrap ready to protect your crops. You will want to give your veg the best chance of growth, so thinking ahead and prepping your polytunnel is your best option.
What to plant in a polytunnel in August
So, if you are wondering what to plant in August, wonder no more. We have the information to help you map out your plan for the coming weeks and work out what you can plant in August.
What seeds to sow in August
It is now time to focus your attention on vegetables that will provide hearty winter harvests as well as crops that will be ready to pick in autumn.
Some of the best seeds to plant in August are beetroot, late-variety carrots, winter variety onions, lettuce, radish, turnips, and spinach.
What to grow
When considering what to grow in August in the UK, you may want to think ahead of time by planting a vegetable like a sweet potato. Your sweet potatoes won’t be ready to harvest until the following autumn. However, when you have grown healthy sweet potatoes, you will be glad you thought ahead.
If you were forward-thinking and saved some ‘first earlies’ from the potato seeds you planted in spring, you could plant them in your polytunnel this August. Even better, you might get new potatoes for Christmas this year!
When discussing what winter veg to plant in August, the question on everyone’s lips is – Can you plant pumpkin seeds in August? The answer is – Yes, it can be done! If you protect your seeds with mulch and fertiliser and keep them well ventilated, you should grow healthy pumpkins.
What to harvest
A harvest in August is a colourful and equally tasty array of fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables that should be ready in August include strawberries, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, peppers, lettuce, rocket, courgette, spring onion, aubergine, melons – the list goes on! So, get harvesting in August to create the most beautiful summer salads for your family and friends.
Why choose Premier Polytunnels?
At Premier Polytunnels, we have over 30 years of experience in polytunnel design, catering for domestic and commercial growers. Our range of polytunnels suits all growers. Whether you want to sell your produce or keep it for your enjoyment, contact us and we will advise you on the best polytunnel for you. In addition, we offer tools and extras to help you make the most of your growing seasons. We offer raised beds, irrigation equipment and other accessories designed to help you grow the healthiest crops.
You can join our mailing list for more information. But if you have any questions, please contact us on 01282 811250 or email email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help you.