Garlic spray and cucumber wilt

Well here I am again. Yesterday I made more garlic spray, this time to tackle the earwigs and slugs attacking my dahlias. This morning I was accused of smelling strongly of garlic and that I should wash my hands in vinegar to get rid of the smell. I explained that I used the last of the vinegar to make my latest batch of weedkiller. I knew from the atmosphere it was time to beat a hasty retreat and as I left I heard “and don’t bring your gardening  gloves into the house again as you have obviously spilled some of your comfrey/nettle mixture on them”. That’s me in the doghouse again, just as well I have the summerhouse  as a sanctuary.

My Garden

Beans

Runner beans growing against brick wall
The discarded runner beans with a pathetic tomato

Broad beans continue to produce enough to let us have them every day as a vegetable. When I start to tire of them I will freeze a few. Dwarf french beans are now coming on stream and will slot in nicely as the broad beans come to an end. Runner beans are now in blossom so things are looking good for them. If you read my blog of 27th June  you will know that my first sowing became a victim of the harsh Spring weather. There were three plants which had some life about them and being a softie I did not compost them.  Instead I  put them in a corner beside the compost bins. They have responded well in the sheltered environment and in fact have flower buds showing.

Courgettes

I mentioned in my blog of 15th July that I had extended my comfrey/nettle experiment to them and so far the courgette fed on tomarite is away ahead of the comfrey/nettle one having produced 1.76kg of courgettes whereas the comfrey/nettle only .889kg. To be fair the tomorite courgette was bigger, stronger and is in a slightly more favourable situation. We will see how they compare at the end of the season. Who knows the big producer now may suffer from burnout.  

Potatoes

Large potato plants behind a row of onions
Potatoes overpowering onions and leeks

Due to crop rotation I have not grown potatoes for four years or so and I had forgotten how big main crop potatoes grow!  My Pentland Dell is in danger of suffocating some of my onions and leeks! Next year I will grow earlies in another part of the garden (Duke of York is a favourite of mine). They are not so strong growers.

Turnips

“Purple Top”, small turnips, are now finished so to use the ground  I sowed dwarf pea “Meteor”in their place on 14th July and they are growing well. We may have some peas in the Autumn. I spread the residue from my garlic spray along the row to deter the slugs and snails and to date they are unscathed.

Apples

Maturing apples on a tree branch
Too bonnie to thin out

I mentioned in my blog of 15th July that I would wait until after the “June Drop” to thin my apples. Despite it now being August and considering the strong winds, there have been very few fallen apples. They are now looking so good I don’t have the heart to climb the tree to remove any. I am hoping that all the wet weather will keep the fruit swelling until ripe.

In the Greenhouse

Cucumber

Cucumber stem covered in mould
The dreaded stem rot

My one plant wilted and died on 30 July suffering from stem rot. I may have been over generous with watering as they prefer a dry atmosphere whereas tomatoes thrive in a humid one. Very difficult to strike the right balance when both crops are in a small greenhouse.  At the end of the day it did produce 10 fine cucumbers and we are making some cucumber soup with the last one.   When I first tried this soup I was surprised by how delicious it is. I will sow parsley in the empty gro bag as this herb is always in demand in our house. Germination can take some time, at least 3 weeks, so some patience is required. For some reason flat leafed parsley germinates more quickly than the curly leafed variety.

Tomatoes

At last on 2nd August, I picked 5 tomatoes (Sungold) and it was a treat to enjoy a home grown tomato again. I had to wait 2 weeks longer this year for my first taste. Sungold is a sweet variety and is best left until it is orange in colour and fully ripe. Although Gardener’s Delight and Alicante (my other varieties) are still green I am expecting a steady supply of tomatoes over the next 2 months, or longer, if we have an Indian Summer . In the meantime I will continue feeding twice a week. In my last blog I mentioned the magnesium deficiency in my experimental tomatoes and Jessie Roberts has been good enough to tell me that liquid seaweed is also an effective remedy. The use of epsom salts as a cure intrigued me and I was amazed when I saw on the internet how many effective uses it has in the garden.

Other Matters

I have been doing some hard pruning of spring flowering shrubs which after shredding I have used as a mulch among my shrubs and also topped up my compost bins. It should rot down nicely over the next few months. While browsing I came across an experiment entitled Tea Bag Index where tea bags (organic I believe) are buried in the ground for 3 months and then sent back for analysis. This is to ascertain how quickly decomposition occurs in different soils. This is a world wide initiative.  The rate of release of CO2  from this source is of great importance when related to climate change.  If you are interested in taking part in this experiment follow this link  to Tea Bag Index UK. I am waiting impatiently for my tea bags to arrive as I believe an additional complementary tea bag is included in the pack. Now if only I had an electric kettle in the summerhouse I could settle in for the day  with a nice cup of tea and a digestive!!

Thank you for reading and I will be delighted to read any comments you wish to leave. Enjoy your gardening.

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