How's your allotment growing?

Usually, in July, we are busier watering the plants than anything else, but this year it’s been the reverse, we are busy trying to keep the plants out of the water as much as possible!

This is a time to keep on top the weeds – it’s easier to attack them with a hoe when they are tiny seedlings than to have to dig them up or pull them out as fully grown plants. Remember that hoeing bare soil is still a good idea because it will kill off any tiny seedlings that your eyes haven’t spotted.

Despite the awful weather, your vegetable harvest should be in full swing now and most people are picking or harvesting the following:

Broad Beans – if yours haven’t got rust yet, you’re a lucky allotmenteer. If they have, harvest the entire crop now and destroy the plants, don’t compost them because your heap almost certainly won’t get hot enough to destroy the rust spores, especially in this damp weather.
French Beans
Runner Beans
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Courgettes – harvest now, or wait a few weeks and let them turn into soft-skinned marrows to be stuffed
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Onions – the onions are struggling this year, its almost impossible for them to dry properly and you may have to lift early and put them on wire mesh indoors to finish off properly.
Spring Onions
Peas – harvest peas every day, it takes less than 24 hours for the sugar in peas to convert to cellulose, changing from sweetness to a kind of flouriness that is not nearly so tasty.
Early Potatoes - When you harvest your potatoes take care to remove all the tubers because any left behind will sprout next year and become a weed and may also act as a repository for disease and potato blight spores. It's often worth forking over a few days after harvesting potatoes because more seem to miraculously appear. When you have harvested your potatoes you might like to consider sowing a green manure crop - mustard is fast growing and is supposed to confuse the potato eel worm into breeding at the wrong time. However, mustard is actually a brassica so don't use it if you suffer from club root.
Radish
Spinach
Tomatoes – if you buy bananas, put the skins under your tomato plants, the ethylene that is given off by mature bananas helps ripen the fruit.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, July 12, 2007

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