Monday, 29 July 2019

SUMMER IN THE GARDEN


SUMMER IN THE GARDEN

Mid summer can be a great time to relax in the garden and just watch the fruit, vegetables and flowers grow. This year has seen all types of weather thrown at us. One minute we have the hose out watering dry soil, and then we have to run for shelter as the thunderstorms descend upon us. Strong winds keep blowing plants over unless they are
Young gardeners picking peas
well secured, then we get days with clear skies and temperatures so hot we have to sit in the shade. These can be great times and that old Scottish joke about missing the summer because we went in for a haircut no longer applies. Garden plants are at their best in mid summer but this is the time when the judges appear for those of us who have entered the Dundee City council Garden and allotment competition, so there is no time to relax on the sun lounger sipping a wee glass of Saskatoon wine. Weeds must be totally eradicated, pests and diseases eliminated, fences straitened up, and all plants standing to attention with flowers facing the front as the judges approach. Some plants such as the Cornus kousa Miss Satomi have been at their best for a whole month, roses and poppies have never been better, and all my new grafts with Concord and Beth on my family pear tree are now growing.
However there are still crops to pick such as peas, blackcurrants, salads, gooseberries, turnips, first
Two shaws of Casa Blanca
early potato Casa Blanca and the first of my cauliflowers is ready, so harvesting becomes a family outing and the kids get involved picking peas, strawberries and raspberries. High temperatures in July has brought forward the broad beans so they will soon be needing to get picked.
Up at City Road Allotments plot holders are all very busy as we have entered the best allotment site competition after our success last year. We got top prize and money received was spent on new plant containers to brighten up the front of our community sheds. We have also created a new flower border at the entrance and encouraged those plot holders adjacent to City Road to plant up a flower border so folk passing along City Road can see a very attractive allotment site. In years past too many
Dave's flower border along City Road
allotment sites were partly run down, full of weeds, with broken fences and many derelict sheds. Today this has all changed as folk coming in from all sections of the community are keen to grow fresh produce, and enjoy the exercise, plenty of sunshine and fresh air and a great community with plenty events to bring folk together. We have plot holders from all over the globe bringing in crops from far away. We open up our site every Saturday and Sunday just before lunch so the public can drop in and wander around to see how we grow crops. Good community spirit is aided with surplus produce put in a basket outside our gates so folk passing by can help themselves to free fresh fruit and vegetables. We also participate in the Dundee Open Doors event and our good gardening plot holders take parties around the site to show them the best we have to offer, but it is our annual Open Day event which draws in the greatest response as folk come in from all over Dundee, and this year it is on Sunday 28th July
Cornus kousa Miss Satomi
from 11am to 3pm. As well as growing more flowers to brighten up our site we have also planted up an outdoor grape vine experiment along our south facing sheds with a half dozen different varieties to see which grapes will be best for growing outdoors in Scotland. Visitors can also see some very successful fig trees, chokeberries and saskatoons, then drop into our café for home made produce, fresh fruit and vegetables, jams, and tablet to purchase and numerous garden plants for sale. We also have established a communal wild garden with a bug hotel which is great for kids interested in outdoor life.

Wee jobs to do this week

Summer hanging basket
Tubs and hanging baskets get changed twice a year to show spring flowers up till the end of May then replaced with summer flowers to continue the display till autumn. Geraniums, begonias, petunias, lobelia and French marigolds just love to grow and flower in the hot summer weather, but as soil is limited they need a good feed with liquid fertiliser every fortnight. Keep dead heading spent flowers and check for greenfly that seem to like the petunias and slugs that just love both French and African Marigolds.

END

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