July 2015

29th July

 Garlic drying outI visited the allotment this morning. I started by sowing some more lettuce, radishes and pak-choi. I then harvested my shallots and garlic which I took home to dry before storing. There was some white root rot on the garlic and shallots but the crops are far better than last year. I finished off by harvesting some spinach, raspberries, lettuce, radish and rhubarb before returning home for lunch. The image on the left shows the garlic and shallots drying out.

24th July

Brassicas Bed spryed and weededMy wife joined me at the allotment this morning. I had the white butterflies getting into my Brassicas cage, so my wife threaded string between the roof and side netting to remove any gaps left open which will hopefully stop the butterflies laying their eggs on my Brassicas plants. I weeded and sprayed the Brassicas as there was some caterpillar damage on the plants. I then repaired one of my raised beds that had bowed out of shape from growing my first and second early potatoes. My wife finished off by tying my tomatoes and watering the greenhouse before we returned home for lunch. The image on the right shows my Brassicas bed after weeding and spraying.

23rd July

Composting job completed

I had a great morning at the allotment. I managed to complete the sieving of my compost, this gave me Two completely empty compost bins, One compost bin full of sieved compost plus fifteen bags of sieved compost and one compost bin with compost that needs a little more time to finish the composting process. I then picked some runner beans which we will be eating at lunch time.

22nd July

sieve compostHad a busy morning at the allotment. I started by rotovating the bed from which I harvested my Early and Second early potatoes.
I then spent the next four hours sifting my compost that had been developing in the compost bins. I started with the idea that I would not get much as it appeared to be far too dry, but to my surprise most of each of my four compost bins had composted down very nicely. I hope to finish it off tomorrow on my next visit to the allotment, I am just about two thirds through. See image on the left. I finished off by watering the plants growing on the allotment.

18th July

Peas PickedMy wife joined me at the allotment this morning. Our first task was to harvest the peas, It was a very poor harvest, from two rows planted, and after shelling we got just two portions of peas. See image on the left. showing the few peas that where picked. The next task was to weed the beds, and add more support for the tomatoes. We then gave the plants a good feed and water using some of my comfrey feed. Finally we harvested our first lot of runner beans which has also given us a couple of portions, but at least there are a lot more to come. We then went home for our Elevenses.

17th July

Potatoes HarvestI had a strenuous morning at the allotment. I spent my time digging up my First early potatoes "Vanessa" and my second early potatoes " Anya".
I managed to get 28lb of Vanessa and 36lb of Anya.
There was hardly any damage on my Vanessa and no damage on the Anya. The image on the right shows my harvest.

I finished the morning by weeding my courgettes, potato beds, and finally watering the greenhouse and harvesting some more courgettes, before returning home for lunch.

16th July

strawberry bed tidedI had a good morning at the allotment to day. I started by planting out a row of leeks into the last bed of the newest plot, next to my parsnips. The next job was to tidy up my newest strawberry bed, I did this by trimming back the strawberries and removed any runners that have developed on the plants. I then weeded the bed and finally turned the soil. See image on left. Finally I watered the greenhouse and picked some courgettes and spring cabbage before returning home for lunch.

10th July

Courgettes doing wellBack at the allotment after a week away in the caravan. My allotment neighbour watered the greenhouse for me while I was away. The outdoor plots looked rather dry. I started by removing the netting protecting both of my strawberry beds, I then picked the usable strawberries to eat at lunch time. I left the netting off to encourage the blackbirds to eat the rest of the strawberries. The next task was to uncover the beds that were covered with enviromesh. Next I cut down more of my comfrey and started another batch of comfrey feed. My outdoor tomatoes had enough side shoots to start a tomato farm, so I removed these and added more string to increase their support. I picked a large courgette and returned home for lunch.

Returned to the allotment this afternoon. I spent the time cutting and edging the grass paths and then gave the beds a good water before returning home for tea. The image on the right show my Courgettes doing well.

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