Jobs for the productive garden in September

My seasonal tips if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting

CUTTING GARDEN
Keep deadheading annuals and late-flowering Dahlias & Salvias to prolong flowering (and don’t forget to support them as the plants get bigger and top-heavy).

Direct sow hardy annuals (such as Nigella, cornflowers and Calendula officinalis) in to the ground now for early flowers next summer.

Teasels by Firgrove Photographic

Dry seedheads of Eryngium and Teasels to use in flower arrangements.

Tulips by Firgrove Photographic

Order your spring bulbs now if you haven’t done it already – if you leave it too late you may find it hard to get exactly what you want.   If you’re looking for ideas on what to plant, take a look at my blog on choosing bulbs for the cutting garden.

Move tender plants under cover as the night time temperatures drop.

KITCHEN GARDEN
Keep on top of your harvesting to beat damp weather which can damage produce.

Pick sweetcorn as soon as it’s ripe, and if frost is forecast, harvest tender veg. such as courgette, peppers and tomatoes.

Plant out any new strawberry plants now.

Let squash and pumpkins ripen in the sun.

Sow fast-growing oriental greens such as Mizuna and Pak-choi.

Cover leafy vegetable crops with bird-proof netting.

Before slug damage spoils them, dig up any remaining potatoes and store in a cool, frost-free place.

onions

Take up the last of this year’s onion crop and leave them to dry before storing.  You can now sow onion sets to mature next summer.

There’s still time to sow green manures which will release nutrients back in to the soil when they are dug in over spring.

PESTS AND DISEASES
Clean your greenhouse & coldframes to help prevent pests over wintering.

Start to clear up plant debris in borders to keep fungal diseases at bay over winter.

To avoid Vine weevils damaging your plants apply nematodes this month and next, to treat freshly hatched grubs (I get mine from www.ladybirdplantcare.co.uk).

 

Picture credits:  Janet Bligh & Firgrove Photographic

Jobs for the productive garden in August

Get the most from your kitchen garden and cutting garden this month by keeping on top of your seasonal jobs

CUTTING GARDEN
Keep up with cutting, feeding and/or deadheading on a regular basis.  Dahlias don’t open in the vase so only cut them when the flowers are open.

Angelica archangelica

Collect seeds as they start to ripen, and either sow them now or store them carefully to sow next year

KITCHEN GARDEN
Harvest plums & damsons as soon as they ripen to get to them before the wasps and birds do!

Lift and pot up, or re-plant any rooted strawberry runners which you want to keep as new plants for next year’s fruit.

Fruit trees – prune over vigorous growth on wall trained plums, cherries, apples and pears.  Cut our badly placed and weak shoots in order to encourage growth and reduce the risk of disease.

loganberries

Remove old fruiting canes on loganberries and early fruiting raspberries, and tie in new growth.

Sow Oriental vegetables, spring cabbage, and salad onions. And keep sowing cut-and-come-again salad.

Sow green manures in empty beds in the kitchen garden. The crop can be dug into the soil in spring and will feed your soil. This is a great way to add nutrients and improve soil with the minimum of effort.  There’s a really useful video on the RHS website about how to do this.  Recommended viewing!

Contine  to pick courgettes, cucumbers and beans as this encourages further cropping.

Lift onions, shallots and garlic when the leaves turns yellow and papery.  If the leaves haven’t already bent over, do it yourself and leave the bulbs in the ground a little longer.

Potatoes

Harvest second earlies and main crop of potatoes when they start flowering.

PESTS AND DISEASES
Watch out for signs of Tomato & Potato Blight, which are common at this time of year.  If you’re not sure what the symptoms are, take a look at the RHS website which is full of very useful information on this and other pests and diseases.

Picture credits:  Janet Bligh & Firgrove Photographic

Jobs for the productive garden in July

Lots to do in July if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting!

CUTTING GARDEN
Keep cutting Sweet peas and Cosmos regularly to encourage more flowers.

KITCHEN GARDEN
Cut and dry (or freeze) herbs.

Drying lavender

Cut Lavender for drying and take cuttings of woody herbs such as Lavender, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

Keep sowing salad vegetables and herbs regularly.  There’s still time to sow carrot & parsnip seeds.  Sow salads and spinach for autumn as well as spring cabbage.

Tidy strawberry beds when fruiting is over – compost any straw, shear the plants to about 5cm from the ground (removing all the rubbish), add fertiliser and water well.  If you want to grow new plants, leave some of the stronger old plants alone and pin down the runners.  These will form new plants with roots and can be cut away from the main plant and replanted in autumn.

redcurrants blackcurrantsHarvest berries & currants.  Cut out the fruited stems of summer raspberries & loganberries. Protect ripening fruit trees (cherry, plum, peach, nectarine) from birds.

Thin out heavy crops of plums, apples & pears to avoid branches breaking with the weight, and prune overlong shoots on trained fruit trees such as espaliers, cordons & arches.

Tip-prune figs to encourage bushier growth & more fruit buds (pinch out new growth beyond 5 or 6 leaves).

Remove surplus leaves and sideshoots on grape vines to stop them shading the fruit.

Beans

Pick courgettes, cucumbers, and beans regularly or they will spoil, and harvest autumn-planted onions, garlic & shallots when ready.

When early crops are over, clear the beds and sprinkle organic fertilizer, fork over the soil and keep them free of weeds.

PESTS AND DISEASES
Use a copper-based fungicide to prevent blight on potatoes and tomatoes.  Check brassicas for Cabbage white butterfly eggs.

WATERING
Keep up with your watering.  Giving plants a good soaking in the evening is most effective.  While you have the hose out damp down the greenhouse floor to keep the atmosphere moist and to discourage red spider mites.

Picture credits:  Janet Bligh

Jobs for the productive garden in June

Here are some seasonal jobs for you to carry out this month if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting

CUTTING GARDEN

Sweet peas
Cut sweet peas regularly to encourage more flowers.  Water well in dry spells.
Plant out any hardened off annuals you’ve sown in pots – for example Calendula (Marigold), sunflowers and Nasturtium.

Plan ahead for next year’s cut flowers and sow seeds of biennials such as Dianthus barbatus (sweet williams) now.

KITCHEN GARDEN
Harvest early potatoes when they are ready (when your plants begin flowering).

Sow salad vegetables, and herbs such as basil and coriander at regular intervals (every 2-4 weeks)for a continuous supply during the summer.

Herbs such as Angelica and Valerian will scatter seeds all over the place, so cut back flowered stems before that happens – assuming you don’t want the seedlings everywhere of course!

Climbing beans

There is still time to plant greenhouse crops such as peppers, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, aubergine. Plant out your climbing beans.

Shade and ventilate greenhouses.

Remove the side shoots of cordon tomatoes as and when necessary.

strawberries

As strawberries start to ripen, put down a layer of straw to keep fruit clean, keep weeds down & make life difficult for slugs.  Tie in Raspberry and Blackberry canes. Net strawberries and currant bushes to keep the birds off the fruit.

netting redcurrants

Continue picking rhubarb until end of the month, then let plants grow naturally to build up their strength for the next season.

Prune vigorous growth on wall trained plums, cherries, apples and pears.  Cut out badly placed and weak shoots as this will encourage growth and reduce the risk of disease.  Thin out heavy crops of apples, pears and plums.

PESTS AND DISEASES
Plants can suffer from powdery mildew in hot, dry conditions.  Spraying with a solution of one part milk to nine parts water has shown to be an effective remedy on squashes and vines.

Watch out for bright red lily beetles, white fly, black fly and greenfly – and deal with them however you see fit.

Calendula

Protect Dahlias, Marigolds and emerging seedlings from slugs.  Remove early caterpillar infestations before they get established.
Photos:  Janet Bligh & Firgrove Photographic