4th August 2020
“The fruit and vegetable growing season is now moving into top gear”
The fruit and vegetable growing season is now moving into top gear and gardeners are already enjoying harvests of cabbage, spinach, beet, salad crops, broad beans and many more. There is nothing better than picking a cabbage or a bag of broad beans and eating that same day.
But there is still much to do in the GYO garden and greenhouse. Tomato plants need feeding weekly and the side shoots removing. Most varieties will need some form of support so that the heavy crops of fruit do not topple them over.
Not only do we enjoy them but, unfortunately, so do the birds, slugs, snails and an endless list of pests and diseases. If you are lucky enough to own a Vale greenhouse from Forest – or any other make – it is now a very busy time. August can produce some of the hottest days in the calendar and, under glass, the mercury can quickly rise to enormously high figures. Under these conditions all plants need copious amounts of water.
It is best to go round with the hose or watering can in the evening so the plants can enjoy it before evaporation takes place. If you cannot manage the evening then go out as early as possible in the morning and always before the sun is on the plants – or they risk burning.
Tomato plants love water and another plant with a similarly voracious thirst is the runner bean. It loves a thorough drenching in dry weather and preferable an additional drink each day in hot weather. Keep the base of the plants weed free.
Cabbage and other brassica plants are the main host for cabbage white butterflies that lay their eggs on the underside of leaves twice a year, so the risk of their caterpillars munching your lovely crop is high throughout the growing season. Check them carefully and this includes over wintering cabbage, Brussel sprouts and sprouting broccoli. There are many treatments available including those suitable for organic gardeners.
Broad beans are now perfect for eating but many plants will be infested with blackfly. This should be treated as it risks killing the host plant and will always reduce the crop yield.
It is now getting time to plant out spring cabbage seeds in the greenhouse. It is important to start them early so they can be planted out in the open in plenty of time to establish themselves before the frosts arrive. They should not be too big or they risk bolting and running to seed before you can eat them.
Leeks can continue to be planted out in August and the ideal way is to dig out a hole about 2.5” deep in well prepared and manured soil. Pop one plant in each hole and water vigorously and keep them moist. They are often sweetest after the first frosts.
Keep planting lettuce and other salad crop seeds in the greenhouse so that you have fresh produce throughout the summer and Autumn.