NO TIME TO RELAX
Gardening activities are very much determined by our weather and after a long dry and warm spring, the heat wave which predominantly affected areas south of the border, did assist our Scottish climate to reach seasonal highs for about a fortnight. It was very enjoyable and just as we were getting ready to complain of the drought, the heavens opened up and the honeymoon was over. June and early July were somewhat damp to put it mildly. Down at ground level crops and weeds had a field day with anything green reaching rapidly up to heaven. While this is brilliant for cabbages, kale, lettuce, courgettes and turnips, other crops took a different view as continual damp weather took its toll.
|Onion white rot|
Gardening jobs may be numerous but small at this time of year as we are supposed to be on top of tasks which gives us more time to relax in the sun on the patio, occasionally getting up to dead head a geranium or spent rose. However gardening opportunities have been few and far between as we dodged rainy days to catch up with lots of very wee but essential tasks.
Slugs just thrive in the moist undergrowth and strawberries, impatiens and French marigolds are under severe attack so pellets were essential. Then mice invaded the strawberry patch. They are getting very clever. They manage to spring the mouse traps, gobble up my best cheese, then tuck into a few more strawberries before heading home. Strawberry Colossus is proving to be a hit, but I wish they would leave one for me to sample. The strawberry patch is well netted so no bird problem, but now I need to put nets on my saskatoons and redcurrants to keep the blackbirds away.
Nets were also necessary on a recent planting of cabbages and cauliflower for autumn harvesting. I had just got them planted when the rains came so thought I would net them next day hoping the sun would be shining. Pigeons had an early morning start on my fresh young green leaves, but I think they will survive and grow now the nets are in place.
I am keeping an eye open on my gooseberries absolutely laden down with a heavy crop of berries, as in previous years it attracted the attention of our allotment site resident fox.
Cherry Cherokee also had to be netted otherwise our resident blackbird family would take the lot.
|Potato Casa Blanca|
Weeds just love the wet weather and have to be picked off as there is not enough sun to shrivel them up after hoeing. They germinate and grow very fast just now.
White rot on onions and root rot on raspberries is becoming a menace with the wet weather. Onions like it warm and dry and this wet spell has taken its toll. Root rot on raspberries is also spread by soil moisture and infected soil can easily be transported on boots, in compost and tools. Remove any infection as soon as it is found. Clubroot on a row of rocket salad leaves virtually wiped them out as it spread easily in the moist soil.
Summer harvesting is well under way for many crops. Pick peas, lettuce, rocket, spring onions, turnip and the first early potatoes. They may still be small but only lift enough for a few days needs.
Sowings of turnips, parsnips, beetroot and salads for late summer use will now be germinated so thin out to give seedlings plenty of room to grow. I usually thin twice, initially to a couple of inches apart and then later select the strongest and thin out the rest to allow full growth.
Chrysanthemums grown for cut flower always need support as they will grow about four feet tall depending on variety. Those grown as sprays are just left to grow and flower, but the decorative, incurve and reflex types grown for single large heads will need disbudding. Once the top flower bud is obvious, start to remove all other buds and sideshoots from each main stem so the plant can put all its energy into developing a large head. Extra feeding helps to increase flower size and maintain a healthy vigorous plant. Always disbud from the top down just in case of any accidents.
Dead head annual flowers, perennials, roses and keep some of the seed heads from favourites like Poppy Ladybird as these will come up again next year from the fresh seed.