Thursday, 25 June 2020

GOOD GROWING WEATHER SOMETIMES

                                     GOOD GROWING WEATHER SOMETIMES

Gardeners and farmers have one thing in common. We just love to moan about the weather. Nearly all our crop failures can be weather related. After last years long wet spell it was hard to believe the long dry sunny weather from the beginning of April lasted up to the middle of June.
Anna cooking the jam
Plants just loved it as long as I got the hose out nearly every day. I kept checking the local weather forecasts who kept promising us some rain, but it never arrived in Dundee. Growth was lush on all crops, and flowers were plentiful from the spring crocus, daffodils and tulips, azaleas, rhododendrons and now the geraniums are flowering themselves to death. The dry weather prevented most annual weeds from getting a start. Life was brilliant as the gardener was in paradise. Thoughts of the coronavirus problems were far from our minds, but nothing is perfect. The great weather also suited greenfly so plagues arrived on my roses, garden pinks, oriental lilies and in the greenhouse they had a go at my peppers and basil. On the allotment it was the cut worms, leather jackets and cabbage root fly that had a picnic among my cabbage, kale, sprouts and cauliflowers. However the sunny weather brought on my strawberries so Anna was able to start her jam making. Nets had to be used on all my strawberries as the blackbird likes to run up the row taking small bites from several berries. Why cant they just eat one whole one. Just when I was beginning to like our glorious summer, the
forecasters told us there was gales coming. This time they were right. Along came the winds from the north. Young autumn raspberry
Courgettes now in flower
canes got shredded and blown over. The supports just could not hold them. The wind was so severe it dessicated the foliage on my blueberries, (no fruit this year) then whipped through my pear trees. The entire crop got blown off. Fortunately I hadn’t planted out my pumpkins or courgettes as I put them back in the greenhouse for a couple of days. They have now been planted out and growing very strong with the first flowers now in bloom. Climbing rose
Dublin Bay lost numerous flowers broken off before they got a chance to open up.
Potatoes got planted in mid March, same time as last year, but in April just when the foliage was about a foot high we got a bad frost which blackened the soft leaves. However they survived and I picked my first shaw in early June.
Summer flowers in pots
Potatoes were not big, but then Casa Blanca is a salad potato and these new potatoes are very tasty. That late frost also blackened my early strawberry Christine’s flowers, even although they were under a polythene tunnel, but they still have more flowers being produced and cropping very well from late May. I get a great feeling of satisfaction when I can take home some fresh strawberries, a lettuce, a few spring onions, radish, some rocket and a good
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boiling of new potatoes. Its the beginning of the harvest with plenty more to come. Other vegetables are all growing strongly with no sign of weevils or blackfly on my beans, and no white rot on my onions even though I have had to water them frequently. Sweet corn has established well and now putting on good growth, as this patch had been green manured early on. I am trying Cape
Gooseberries this year hoping our global warming is just what they need. Some are planted
outdoors in a sheltered spot and others potted up and placed against a warm south facing wall.
Two apple trees grafted a few weeks ago are now showing signs of growth on some varieties.
Sweet peas grown up individual canes with sideshoots and tendrills removed are beginning to flower whereas those grown up wire supports for a display have yet to come into flower.
Summer bedding plants in tubs, hanging baskets and borders have responded to the sunny weather and most have their first flowers, but geraniums have never stopped flowering. They are now in first place for impact of colour.

Wee jobs to do this week

Tomatoes now on second truss
Tomatoes in the greenhouse got off to a flying start with plenty sunshine and my watering and feeding. They are now flowering on the third truss. They are grown as single stem cordons twisted up polypropylene twine suspended from roof wires. Side shoots are removed as they appear and with the sunny weather vents are fully open as is the door to give maximum ventilation.

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