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Posted on 2nd October, 2023
After a month's hiatus, I am so glad to be bringing you our lovely gardening column again! I have been incredibly busy in a new role as a Head Gardener and am really looking forward to sharing so much stuff that I have learned over the last month with you all!
June has been a difficult time, I guess many of you are frustrated with the lack of germination of so many things, as I am. The wet Spring, so different to last year's higher temperatures, meant that again us gardeners were faced with a different, but no less frustrating, issue to deal with. Many plants are either behind a week (which can be problematic when growing edibles) or very ahead. Parsley, coriander and chervil have all bolted, as have the broccoli. Bolting happens when we have wet, and then very hot conditions. So rather than having a lovely head of broccoli, or herb leaves, you get bitter flowers. You can remove these to push more leaves on, allow to get to seed to sow back in, or you may need to resow, for example Spinach.
Rather than composting your bolted produce, you can make a Kimchee, or by dehydrating in an oven on a lowheat, some herb flowers can be made into a dry rub for meats and fish dishes, for example. I've learnt that every part of a plant can be used. Even stems in Gins and Vodkas!
I figure this is a whole different column...Watering is a major issue at the moment. Pots and hanging baskets need a daily watering, but do hold off a bit on your established trees and shrubs, and your outside veg and fruit. Outside crops are better with a longer soak every two or three days because the roots go deeper to find water. Everyday watering mean the roots are shallower which gives a less stable plant with fewer natural nutrients.
For those of you who participated in No Mow May, thank you! You have increased the pollinating insects around our space. Which are so important to maintain the fragile balance we have. We would love to see any pictures you all would like to send in of the gardens you are all working on, and theinsects you see! And as the Annual Farleigh Competition is now on, it's all exciting times! And so, here is what we are doing this month in the garden!
In the borders
All the summer perennials should be well established now. Deadheading is essential to promote new blooms. Sweet peas love being picked and I keep them in vases around the house. Such a Summer scent! Any potsand baskets should be fed at least every ten days to keep them looking their best. I've switched to an evening watering to minimise evaporation as it's been so hot and dry. Hardy geranium and delphinium can be cut back to encourage new growth and flower, and lavenders can be cut back. Wisteria can now be pruned, the whippy shoots need to be taken back to5 leaves from the main branch. Any other climbers need to be tied in nowas well. Seeds, for example foxgloves and forget-me-nots can be driftsown around the borders for flowering next year.
In the Veg Patch
You should by now be enjoying the fruits of your labour! Summer is a very busy time for fruit and veg, peas and beans are ready to be harvested and courgettes and squashes are in good supply this year! It seems the conditions have been perfect to produce amazing crops.Regular pickings of beans and courgettes encourage more produce coming through.Cucumber should be trained up and sideshows of these and tomatoesshould be removed to push energy through to the fruits.
In addition to these, peppers and chillis should be regularly fed with a high potashfeed once fruits form.Beetroot, carrots and salad crops can all be harvested as well and this month I take down many herbs to dry and preserve for future use.Strawberry runners should be taken to give you new plants for next year.Pinning down in a 9cm pot of compost will enable it to root, and then can be cut from the mother plant. Strawberry plants fruit best to 3 years old maximum so by doing this you'll have a good cycle of healthy fruiting plants.Rhubarb harvesting should be left bythe end of this month to allow energyto build up for next year's crop.
Happy gardening!

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