August is here.....July was good for the garden with some much needed rain for everything growing outside. Potatoes, squash, sweet corn and onions all need rain to swell the fruits and so if the rain doesn't fall you have to put the sprinkler on. Your fruit trees need rainfall too especially if you have them in pots so don't forget to do it ( yes that’s an order).
ght then let's start in the greenhouse. Everything there grows in buckets filled with my compost, sand, multipurpose compost and growmore fertiliser. Everything is watered every day during hot weather and once a week with liquid tomato feed. We have already eaten ripe tomatoes, peppers, chillis, cucumbers and melons. This time of year it is important to be pinching out your toms after 6 or 7 trusses ; pruning back the tops of your peppers ( it took me years to do this - but you really will get a bigger crop of bigger fruits if you do ) ; snipping out the melon leaders after 6 leaves to encourage side shoots and training your cucumbers up bamboo canes and picking them when they are small.
By the way you can freeze chillis, peppers and toms straight from the plant to cook with later in the year.
In the garden I have dug up my shallots and am drying them off in the sun , cut the first squashes , eaten all the peas and cut them back to ground level. Leave the roots of peas in the ground - they are nitrogen rich and the next thing you grow in that space will love you for doing that !! I am picking my first carrots now and they are sooooo sweet, dug up my new potatoes and picking the French beans which really loved the rain recently. Keep picking everything when they are young rather than letting fruits go past their best - it is a mistake I still do and curse myself all the time when I know they have gone past their best.
Right then, stop admiring your growing efforts and get sowing...lettuce, salad leaves, radish, Chinese cabbage, salad onions for this year and start to think about September / October sowing for next year’s crops - onion sets, garlic, spring cabbage, spring greens, broad beans etc. I will talk about those in the next issues.
There is still plenty of time for lots of fresh salads ....and don't forget plenty of basil too. I plant them in the tomato buckets....they grow easily together as well as being divine on the plate. It is also a great time to take some cuttings of mint, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Insert the short cuttings around the edge of a pot and keep them moist at all times - in a few weeks they will root and start to grow.
The last couple of things .....check the compost heap and keep adding garden waste , grass cuttings and shredded paper to it. If the contents are very dry they won't start to break down, so add some water and give everything a good mix-up to get the heap working again. Lastly watch out for the first signs of blight ( yes I've said the word...even typed it so I am bound to be hit by it now ) on potatoes and tomatoes. It usually starts in warm, humid conditions after a period of damp weather and will show up as brown spots on the foliage that if not picked off will spread quickly...and burn or bin it… Do not compost it.
So, water, pick, deadhead, sow and eat in August and have a fab holiday season.
Every month I will give a short update on what to be doing in your veggie patch. No matter how small a front or back garden, you can grow something edible in pots, tubs or beds. Don't worry about lettuce shortages because of the rain in Spain (tee hee) just sow your own.