Monday, 2 September 2019

LATE SUMMER TASKS


LATE SUMMER TASKS

Apples with brown rot and wasps
It is always easy to find a wee job in the garden, even after all the main tasks have been completed. Crops have been sown, planted, had all summer to grow and harvesting is well under way, then as the summer returns after the August thunderstorms we think this could be a nice time to relax on the sun lounger. Lying back enjoying a few moments of peace you let your mind wander, but then it prompts you with a wee reminder of a few outstanding jobs. Now that so many crops have been gathered in there is land empty which is ideal for some late season crops of lettuce, radish, spring onions, rocket and their might be just enough time to grow some beetroot. No need to dig over the ground as the soil is just fine, then after removing any weeds, giving it a rake over and a wee dusting of fertiliser. Sow a few rows of salads and head back to the sun lounger. On the way back I notice that the early and mid season strawberries have finished so old leaves need cutting back, straw removed to the compost heap, remove a few weeds that appeared when no-one was looking, and shift those runaway runners back in line as they will fruit next year.
Onions getting dried off in the sun
More land has become empty as potatoes get harvested. Potatoes made a great start in spring as weather was on their side. Good planting conditions, plenty warm sunny days and just enough rain to keep them growing, but then the jet stream changed course and nothing was quite the same. Warm days continued but it was accompanied by a lot more rain than we needed. Potatoes were not happy and leaves started to wither combined with attacks from slugs and snails who were having a great time. I started to lift first early Casa Blanca, but stopped to lift second early Charlotte as it had lost all its leaves. Meanwhile Mayan Gold leaves shrivelled up so they got lifted. Maris Piper at present is still in the ground, but having a bad year. On the positive side the Casa Blanca gave a great crop of very clean perfect salad spuds.
Onions started of the year looking fantastic, but as the August rains continued unabated the dreaded white rot appeared and began to work its way along the rows. It was time to lift and dry off before any more bulbs get affected. They are now drying off in the sun ahead of storing for winter.
Cauliflowers came out in sympathy with the potatoes. No
Potato Casa Blanca ready for storing
sign of clubroot or rootfly and nets kept the pigeons away but slugs, snails and caterpillars had a party, and the wet weather did not help curd formation. I only got one cauliflower from a dozen plants. More land got cleared and ready for another autumn crop. Peas and broad beans grew fast early on so harvesting was brought forward with good yields, but then there was even more land going spare.
Good time to sow green manure crops of tares, clover, rye and even field beans. These crops will get dug in during winter and add a huge amount of humus to the soil as well as opening it up and adding nitrogen with those that have the nitrogen fixing bacteria on the roots.
Pansies and wallflower that flowered from spring to early summer had plenty of seed heads that got kept for sowing in August. The pansies will flower next spring but time will tell if the wallflower can grow big enough from now till October to produce a decent spring bedding plant.
The warm but wet summer has not been good for the greenhouse grapes as botrytis is trying to take hold in bunches that are swelling up, and the wasps have found my sweet Seigerrebe grapes so need controlling before word gets back and even more arrive to do battle with the gardener.
Anna with Iris Dusky Challenger
Now all the wee jobs have been sorted I can get back to that sun lounger for some well earned relaxation. As I enjoy these odd moments without a care I suddenly realise this is the last chance to do a thorough garden clean up before the leaves start to fall and that compost heap needs turning.

Wee jobs to do this week

Cut back flag iris Dusky Challenger, delphiniums, oriental poppies and other herbaceous plants that flowered in mid summer but are now dying back and a wee bit untidy. This is also a good time to lift and split up the iris and replant in fresh soil. Remember to keep the plants at same depth as previous as they do not like deep planting.

END

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