July 2014

Monday 14th

onions drying out in the sunI have visited the allotment a couple of times during the week mainly to water the greenhouse and harvest the crops required for our dinners. My first task this morning consisted of cutting and strimming the grass paths around my plots. My onions are showing signs of "Onion root rot" so I decided to pull the onions and allow them to dry out and hopefully they will store OK. see image on the left showing my onions drying out on a wire mesh frame. The next task was to weed the Brassica bed, I noticed some caterpillar damage so I gave them a spray. I have a 7mm netting over my brassicas which is meant to keep the moth out but it seems its not working so next year I will use the Fine garden netting to protect them. I then added more support to my tomatoes in the greenhouse. Finally I harvested Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Radishes, Runner-beans, Beetroot before returning home for lunch.

Monday 7th

Strawberry runners in potsWe had a weekend of nice steady rain and this has brought the allotment crops on a treat. I visited the allotment this morning. I sowed carrots in one of my grow-beds the one with the peas. I then planted and sowed lettuce and radishes on my new plot next to the wind break for protection. I checked my Comfrey feed and that is doing well, I then trimmed back my strawberries and managed to plant 20 runners into pots to encourage them to develop their roots. I removed side shoots from my tomatoes and added more support. Then I watered the greenhouse. Finally I harvested some Calabraise, Tomatoes and cucumbers before returning home for lunch. The image on the right shows the strawberries trimmed back and the runners rooting in the pots.

Friday 4th

Wind Protection for Courgettes and SquashI had a great morning at the allotment the weather was nice and warm with a nice breeze. I decided to add some wind protection around my Courgettes, Squash and bush Tomatoes. I then removed the large pot protection from around the Squash and courgettes, and replanted my Bush tomatoes into larger containers. See image on the left. My next job was to feed my Tomatoes, Courgettes, Squash, Peppers, Cucumbers and Beans. I then gave my Three Sister's a weed, Finally I gave the greenhouse and all my crops a good water before returning home for lunch.

Thursday 3rd

Plant feed made from Comfrey

I visited the allotment on the 1st of July in the evening to give the beds and greenhouse a good water. On the 2nd of July I spent the morning sowing some more peas, and pak choi where I had lifted my shallots and garlic. I also added some netting over my peas, spinach and pak choi on the new plot to protect the plants from being eaten. This evening I returned to the allotment to give the plot a good water and I picked some salad items, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and beetroot. Tomorrow I hope to add some wind protection around my bush tomatoes, squash and courgettes as I think the wind is slowing down their growth. Finally I checked out my feed that is being made my composting Comfrey leaves, which is doing well. Image shows Comfrey Leaves (in a sack) breaking down to make Comfrey feed.

July

What needs doing this month

Fruit:

  • Pick soft fruits
  • Summer prune trees grown in restricted form
  • Support heavy cropping branches of apples, pears and plums.
  • Spray apples, pears, blackberries, loganberries, plums and damsons.
  • Complete thinning apple and pear fruits.
  • Check that ties on trained trees are not too tight
  • Train in new blackberry and loganberry shoots
  • Check weeds around trees and bushes growing in cultivated soil.
  • Pick black currant fruit and prune bushes.
  • Destroy bushes infected with reversion virus.
  • Tie in replacement shoots on peaches and nectarines.
  • Protect peaches against birds, wasps and earwigs.
  • Support heavy laden plum branches.
  • Prune trees after picking.
  • Pick raspberries, cut down old canes and remove weak new shoots. Tie in new shoots and control weeds.
  • Tidy up strawberry beds and discard plants that have given three crops.
  • Continue summer pruning of vines.

Vegetables:

  • Clear away any early crops that have finished to make room for catch crops of Carrots or Beetroot.
  • Sow an early maturing Pea such as Meteor or Kelvedon Wonder to catch a late crop of Peas.
  • Sow late Savoy Cabbage. Sow thinly where the plants are to mature and thin to 5" apart later.
  • Plant winter Cabbage such as January King. This is probably the latest you can do this to achieve a winter crop.
  • The same goes for autumn headed Cauliflowers and Broccoli.
  • Keep Celery well watered. It will run to seed if allowed to go dry.
  • Spray Main crop Potatoes against Blight with a copper based fungicide.
  • Continue to pinch out sides hoots of tomatoes.
  • Earth up around sweet corn to encourage basal shoots and ensure that the plants are kept well watered.
  • Feed Onions and keep the beds well hoed. 
  • Sow Endive for autumn and winter use.
  • Sow Spinach Beet and Seakale for use over winter.
  • Mulch French and Runner beans to conserve moisture.
  • Regularly water plants in frames to ensure that they do not dry out.
  • Sow Spinach to ensure a regular supply.
  • Sow more Lettuce, Radish and salad Onions for succession.
  • Pick courgettes while they are young. This will encourage more fruits to form.
  • Keep an eye on Brassicas for the eggs of Cabbage White Butterfly. Squash the eggs on the underside of plants before they do any damage or spray with Derris.
  • Spray Celery with a combined fungicide/insecticide against Leaf spot disease and Celery fly.
  • Spray Runner Beans daily to assist the setting of their flowers. Continue to water freely.
  • Sow Turnips for a succession.
  • Continue to pick young courgettes to ensure crop succession. If you are growing a marrow for size, remove all new flowers and fruits to ensure maximum growth.
  • The planting of sprouting Broccoli and Kale should be completed as soon as possible.
  • Cucumbers in frames should be fed once a week and kept well watered.
  • Feed Onions for the last time.
  • Lift Shallots and Garlic and dry in the sun.

Herbs

  • Make further sowing of chervil, dill and parsley.
  • Harvest herbs just before they come into full bloom.
  • Dry herbs in an airing cupboard.
  • Cut lavender for drying and storing.

Greenhouse:

  • Careful ventilation is essential to control greenhouse temperatures
  • Put up permanent shading
  • Water as and when necessary
  • Check for pests and diseases
  • Service heaters ready for next year
  • Water and feed plants as necessary
  • Train tomatoes, cucumbers and melons
  • Thin grapes
  • Feed and water all fruit
  • Harvest ripe fruit
  • Select strawberry runners for forcing next year.

General:

  • Cut grass paths
  • check plant supports for movement
  • Keep weeds down by hoeing
  • watch for slugs and pests