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Take time to relax in the July garden

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default Take time to relax in the July garden

Post by Chilli-head on 2nd July 2015, 10:54 am

Summer is definitely here, there's no space left to plant or sow anything else, so it is time to relax and enjoy your garden !

Well, more or less.  There's still a bit of weeding and a lot of watering to do in this hot weather.  And it's time to start thinking of those second crops to follow on from early salads, first early potatoes and broad beans. What are you planning to squeeze in ? I have pak choi and chinese cabbage from the seed swap, and some overwintering brassica to sow.  I might try Florence fennel again - has anyone managed to grow some without it bolting ?


Last edited by Chilli-head on 3rd August 2015, 10:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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default Re: Take time to relax in the July garden

Post by Ploshkin on 2nd July 2015, 11:05 am

I've never done fennel. I experimented a couple of years ago after clearing the early spuds and sowed a couple of rows of any seeds I could find that showed August in the planting window. I had the greatest success from cabbages (Advantage) that came well the following spring, and turnips (small, golf ball sized ones).

I always put parsnip seeds between the rows of broad beans when I plant them out where they can take as long as they want to germinate and grow on once the beans have finished.

I am at last starting to eat some of the fruits (or veg)of my labours. Lettuces - Little Gem, Lollo Rosso & red salad bowl, greenhouse cucumbers, spring onions and lovely new potatoes (Arran Pilot).
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Post by FloBear on 2nd July 2015, 10:03 pm

I'm a bit behind on last year but have had strawberries - first time ever, rhubarb, spinach, radishes. Also had some small broad bean pods mange-tout style as they're taking their time to fatten up.
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Post by Chilli-head on 5th July 2015, 8:48 pm

Not a lot of relaxing in the garden this weekend. Yesterday I went to the lotty and turned the compost heap, and weeded all the paths. My paths have had a lot of woodchip added to them over the years. I needed some more potting compost, so whilst there I skimmed off some of the rotted woodchip and sieved it. Seeing that the commercial peat free potting composts are composted wood waste, I may as well use my own. With a bit of vermiculite, seaweed meal and hoof and horn, it looks quite promising.

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Post by Ploshkin on 6th July 2015, 11:16 am

I cooked up some major plans to revamp my unmanageable flower/shrub area in the garden but quickly realised that they were too ambitious & I knew that it would never get done. So, back at the end of the winter I sent Mr P in with a chainsaw with instructions to cut down some shrubs that were dominating the space. I couldn't really grow anything under them or get in amongst them to weed & only saw the bindweed when it was appearing out of the top. They had spread too far and up and blocked the view from the office window. This is where I was in February.

I evened up the rather random shape which actually gave me some additional planting space round the edges - currently filled with annuals.
I tried to mark out a couple of paths but there was something growing in the way wherever I tried to go. I have found that getting rid of the shrubs has really let the flowers come into their own now that they're not competing for the light. All I have done this year is walk amongst them pouncing on any bit of couch grass, bindweed or nettle that I see. I've put some additional plants in some of the gaps left by the shrubs but found that most of the spaces have filled naturally with the existing plants. The potential paths are marked out by rocks and the plan is to dig up any plants in the path zone after they have flowered & replant them. This is what I have ended up with so far with very little effort


and


and a much improved view from the office window



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default Re: Take time to relax in the July garden

Post by Chilli-head on 6th July 2015, 12:07 pm

What a success Ploshkin ! Some really harmonious colours there too. It is always pleasing when you arrive at a good result almost by chance.

I cut back and trimmed a few shrubs at the weekend. At this time of year it is fairly easy to spot things that are dead, or have dead material that can be thinned out to let light through to lower levels. When we moved in our garden hat a lot of mature shrubs; some are still going strong, some we have rejuvenated by heavy pruning, others we have had to remove. It often seems to take little time for a volunteer to take the place of something removed; we have a viburnum appeared in a useful spot, and some holly seedlings in another. They are just the common dark green sort, but I think I might try to graft one of the more special hollies onto them.
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Post by freebird on 6th July 2015, 4:21 pm

Lovely, lovely, lovely Ploshkin. I especially like the delphiniums.
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default Re: Take time to relax in the July garden

Post by Ploshkin on 7th July 2015, 4:58 pm

The tall, lilac delphinium is one that I grew from seed about 10 years ago and gets better each year.  It's tough enough now to withstand slugs.  The others from seed gradually vanished.  The smaller ones were a sorry looking end of season 6 pack that I got from homebase last year.  I overwintered them in pots and planted them out when they were starting to produce flower stems.  I'm hoping I can keep them going and that they will get bigger.  I find the 6 packs of small perennials quite useful provided you don't plant them straight out the same season - have done the same with lupins, now flowering well.


Last edited by Ploshkin on 7th July 2015, 4:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : darned autocorrect again)
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default Re: Take time to relax in the July garden

Post by Ploshkin on 8th July 2015, 12:01 pm

Well, these miserable specimens are my brussel sprouts and kale.

Both been under siege from woolly aphids (which are also covering the new growth on the damson tree) & I also found a load of just emerged cabbage white caterpillars on the kale. I've resorted to spraying with Derris but I think they are beyond salvation. Apart from growing under net to keep the butterflies off I have never had a problem with any brassicas. I've got some cabbage seedlings to plant out but not sure what to do. I do have 2 spare b sprout plants but it's probably too late to buy any in.
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Post by Dandelion on 8th July 2015, 8:12 pm

What a pain, Ploshkin. If the woolly aphids have taken hold in your garden, I wonder if enviromesh would help with your cabbage plants? You can get a very fine meshed variety which is meant to keep most things out. It seems to have been a particularly bad year for aphids, and I haven't seen many ladybirds at all.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 9th July 2015, 11:04 am

Oh dear Ploshkin.  This is rather turning into the year of the aphids.  I spent an hour or two spraying with potassium soap at the allotment last night, or I may not get any beans because of the blackfly.  Sometimes a problem on broad beans, but I've never seen it as bad as this year.  And usually the French and runner beans are OK. but it is on those too.  And greenfly on the new growth of my young apple trees.

There are a few ladybirds and their larvae about, but not nearly enough.  What ever happened to that invasion of Harlequins we were expecting ?

I would also go with the fine environmesh for brassica.  In fact, for me it is the only way.  The drawback is that it has to be done perfectly; because if you let in the butterflies, you then have caterpillars protected very well from the birds, with a good supply of food to hand !

Another top tip: never buy in, or accept, brassica plants from anyone - grow your own from seed, there are two many pests to import on the plants.  This year I accepted some, and with them came whitefly.  Well it could have been worse; at least it wasn't clubroot.
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Post by Ploshkin on 9th July 2015, 12:45 pm

I have Enviromesh so will give it a go. I have only ever bought a few sprout plants from a nursery when my germination has failed but I will heed your warning CH. Funny, I haven't seen a blackfly or a greenfly this year, just these woolly monsters & some currant blister aphid on the blackcurrants but not much.
I almost never see a ladybird & if I do just one. In 2011 we had a plague of ladybirds on just one of our fields - nowhere else, there were thousands of them, literally no more than a few inches apart all over a 6 acre field. The field was wrecked, we had no silage crop at all from it. I don't think it ever recovered properly so we have ploughed & reseeded it this year.
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th July 2015, 10:36 am

Well, I made the decision yesterday to remove my manky brassicas. As well as the aphids (mealy not woolly I now realise) the sprouts had been got at by cabbage root fly - I found the grubs on the roots of a couple of the plants. They had all been planted out with collars. Combined with the very low night time temps, several nights just below zero, they just haven't stood a chance. I've got 2 spare sprout plants to try & some cabbage & kale seedlings which will all be covered with fleece to start. My brassicas have always been my most consistently reliable crops &, together with the carrots, the mainstay of my winter veg.
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Post by Dandelion on 13th July 2015, 8:38 pm

Sorry to hear that Ploshkin - hopefully your remaining seedlings will withstand all the pests.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd July 2015, 10:15 pm

I had noticed a lot of blackfly on my parsnips before I went away, so went to the allotment equiped with a sprayer and potassium soft soap.  But look what I found:



Organic principles in action - a ladybird larva eating blackfly.  In fact there were several larvae and some adult ladybirds munching, so I left them undisturbed; don't want to risk harming the good guys !
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Post by Dandelion on 22nd July 2015, 10:42 pm

I'm afraid I've given up fighting the blackfly, which have smothered my runner beans. But the newer growth on the beans seems to be much clearer with fewer aphids. No ladybirds or lavae yet though.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 30th July 2015, 5:55 pm

Well, the ladybirds have cleared up the blackfly on the parsnips excellently. I suspect that they have major indigestion trying to clear off the climbing beans though !

Huge excitement down at the greenhouse today - the chillies are ripening ! I can see a hint of red on Ohnivec, Bolivian rainbow and Anaheim chillies. Perhaps a faint tinge on the larger Paper lanterns too - I am so looking forward to trying those, they should be properly hot
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Post by Dandelion on 30th July 2015, 8:12 pm

Do your family like hot food as well as you, CH?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 31st July 2015, 10:00 pm

The rest of the family are not so addicted as me DL, but are ok with fairly spocy stuff. I'm working on C-H jnr, he seems to be developing more of a taste for it. Last time we went to Edible Ornamentals, our local chilli farm, he tasted his way through most of their hot sauces !
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