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The fruit and vegetable garden

August 2011

Vegetables 

TomatoesAugust really is the time to reap the rewards of your labours in the vegetable garden.

Broad beans have now finished but have been supplanted by an excellent runner bean crop. Remember that runner beans are particularly thirsty, so water well in dry spells.

Maincrop potatoes can be lifted at the end of the month. Leave on the surface of the garden to dry off for a couple of days then they can be stored somewhere dry and cool in paper or hessian sacks.

Previously in The Fruit & Vegetable Garden...

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011


Index
Onions and shallots should be lifted when the foliage has died down then also leave to dry out for a few days before storage or pickling for winter use.

Carry on picking courgettes when around four to six inches long to prolong the cropping season and summer broccoli should be continually harvested to prevent the florets turning into flowers. All surpluses at this time of year can be stored or frozen for later use.

Sweetcorn should be kept watered , particularly at flowering time. Tap the tassels when fully developed to aid pollination, and liquid feed the plants when the cobs start to develop.

The last sowing of carrots and swede should be made before the middle of the month for winter harvesting, and Brussels sprouts can be sown to make for sturdy plants next year.

Aubergine plants should be misted to aid pollination and fed with liquid tomato fertilizer when the fruits are developing; allow a maximum of six fruits per plant, remove any other flowers after this.

Continue to feed tomatoes and cucumbers once a week, and water daily to maintain cropping.

Fruit

Pick early apples and pears and try to use immediately as they will not keep. To test whether the fruit is ready, lift a fruit in the palm of your hand and, with the slightest twist, the fruit will part company from the tree. Never pull a fruit leaving the stalk on the tree or breaking off the spur. Try to support laden plum branches to prevent branches snapping as this can lead to silver leaf infection in the wounds.

When summer raspberries have finished fruiting, cut the old canes down to ground level and tie in the new canes for next year. Autumn fruiting raspberries will now be ready to pick, which should compensate for the loss of the summer varieties. Remember that raspberries freeze and bottle beautifully, so don’t give all of your surplus away!

Wasp trapWhen black and red currants have been picked, the bushes can be pruned. Remove dead or damaged wood and around a third of older wood, the idea being to promote new, vigorous growth from the base and to keep the centre of the bushes open and light. We are also growing blueberries now, but these bushes need little or no pruning, just dead or damaged wood.

If you need new strawberry plants for next year then pot up some of the young plants produced on runners, but if you don`t need the new plants then cut off the runners to maintain the plant`s strength.

If you find wasps a nuisance at this time of year, then try hanging out a few wasp traps around the garden made from plastic bottles. Cut a small hole the size of a 5p piece in the side of the bottle and spread honey around the hole, so that it dribbles down inside the bottle. Put some honey diluted in water in the bottom of the bottle - the wasps are soon attracted to it and, once inside, cannot get out.. See photo, left


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