Well it’s been a very busy month outdoors in the recent hot weather with our gardens resuscitated by the June thunderstorms. Up till then it was a constant battle of keeping the gardens watered. It will be interesting to see what the remainder of our summer has in store. I’m sure at some point certain areas will be suffering from water shortages, possibly in the South of England first. On our allotments I was often there very early in the mornings, watering before the sun got too hot. So far everything looks healthy and is growing well, except the onions,which have got the problem of ‘Allium Leaf Miner’ which attacks the leaves making them curl up. It has a small larvae in the main onion bulb and this affects the whole plant. So all you can do is discard the onions. It’s a problem that has spread from the south of the UK, now affecting northern areas. So growing onions has become that much harder.
Our Strawberry crop has performed well this year and as I write this our Raspberries are starting to form, so a good season for fruit it appears. When the strawberries have stopped fruiting they send out long ‘runners’ which can be pegged down in the soil, which root from leaf nodes. These can later be potted up and eventually separated from the main runner stem to form new strawberry plants for next year. Once you have strawberries you never really need to buy anymore, as they reproduce very easily.
Last year’s Garlic crop should now be harvested and left to dry probably inside a greenhouse until totally dried off. Then the leaves cut off later on. At the moment it’s a busy time harvesting courgettes, beetroot, radishes, lettuce, cucumbers and dwarf french beans. This month also you need to be feeding your tomatoes weekly, plus aubergines, peppers & chillies, tying up climbing plants to support the crops as they form. Be careful not to let your tomatoes dry out, otherwise you could get a problem known as ‘blossom end rot’ which see’s them get black patches on the tomato bases. A sign of irregular watering patterns. Runner beans soon reach the top of their canes, so pinch out the top’s as they do. This encourages the beans to form and more strength goes into the forming bunches so they mature. Pick them young, before they get ‘tough’ and ‘stringy’.
This year our Broad beans have grown well, but like most years get ‘black fly’ around the top of the stems. So pinch out the growing tips once this appears. It also gives more strength to the main plant to let the beans develop more.
Continue removing dead flower heads from flowers and feed tubs and baskets on a weekly basis. They’ll continue to flower well into the autumn then. Our sweet peas are doing very well this summer and I keep picking them to encourage more flowers.