Wow, that was a hot one! The dry spell was punishing, indeed quite debilitating for a day or so and just for a moment gardeners stopped. We sold a lot of ice cream. Every splash of rain raised the humidity too, which has been great for the pests and diseases. Crops have continued to grow, but in such conditions you have really had to be on the case with harvesting, with many things going past their best in a hurry. There were early beans that within days were going tough and courgettes that became marrows over night. So, the message is keep harvesting, even removing substandard material to encourage further production. The same rule applies to flowers, don’t allow them to waste energy on going to seed, just pick once a petal drops. Vegetative growth has remained luxuriant, but everything will quickly look autumnal if we don’t get some steady rain; your watering input is essential if plants are to see September out. Do try to feed too, plants are stressed and your encouragement will pay off.
If you are up for some fun of course you can play with a bit of late seed and root crops in tubs are very manageable and results very achievable. Try carrots, beetroot, radish and spring onions. Close to the house and with gentle maintenance they will crop. With the carrots try Early Nantes. Normally grown (as you will have guessed) for early production they are very quick to mature. The other vegetable varieties are not so important, they will just do it. If you have room and enthusiasm then spring cabbage and spinach can still be planted. I really value these two items, which will reliably offer up strong greens for over winter use.
You will have noticed that garden centres are showing bulbs, it is early, but if you want choice and quality buy them and cool store them until next month. Unless you are wanting to try once more to get Hyacinths for Christmas in which case you need to plant in the middle of this month. It’s crazy to be talking Christmas, but there you are, the winter pansies are on sale so why not.
And finally, keep an eye out for blight and keep picking off those black spotted rose leaves.