A hot, dry and windy August
Well this has been another month where we have been scanning the skies looking for any sign of rain and unfortunately, we have not really been rewarded with any sufficient quantities; the occasional down pour and half an hour of drizzle every now and then.
August has been hot, dry and windy. We have just enjoyed the last bank holiday before Christmas and it was hot, temperatures reaching up to and above 30c. So, this month has been about trying to save any new plants, vegetables and fruit with constant watering. The water butts are either empty or very low, so over the winter months we will be looking at installing more water butts to help with watering and water butt pumps which will save constant trips to refill the watering can.
In the Kitchen Garden the runner beans are producing a very good harvest; I think this is due to the fact that they were planted over a trench that had been filled with compostable waste over the winter months combined with a good daily drink. The potatoes as they were hit by blight so had to be dug up, left to dry and then bagged and stored. There has been a steady harvest of courgettes during the month, they have enjoyed the hot weather.
Late summer vegetables are now becoming ready to harvest, the sweetcorn and celery are being picked. The Autumn raspberries are fruiting and they taste so much nicer straight off the bush. The parsnips and brussels sprouts are looking very healthy we can see small sprouts beginning to form on the stalks Nautic F1. As the Summer vegetables have been harvested and more ground is beginning to show the spring cabbages, kale, pak choi, winter salad and broccoli will be to be planted. We will be adding compost from the compost bins to the soil to give it a boost and then netting will placed over them to stop pests from enjoying them.
Even though the days are hot and dry, the nights are beginning to ‘pull in’ and, depending on what time you are up, the mornings are dark and cool so there is dew on the ground which the slugs and snails enjoy so we will continue with our six weekly cycle of applying Nemaslug to the soil well into October to stop them destroying the late summer produce.
August is usually the month we start hedge clipping and it takes several weeks. The box in the Kitchen Garden was done earlier for a previous photo shoot but the remaining box hedges in the ornamental gardens are now being clipped and we will then move onto the impressive yew hedging. We did find this month that the box blight had come back in the Kitchen Garden so the hedges where sprayed with blight controller and as much of the dead leaves where collected and disposed of in the bin. We also stopped using the sprinkler and concentrated watering directly on to the vegetables.
As the metrological autumn is here and leaves have started to fall slowly, it is time to check that the leaf rakes are in good order and there is a sufficient supply of tidy bags. We will also be checking that there is enough bubble insulation and it is still in good condition ready for when we line the inside of the greenhouse later in September/October.
Jobs for September:
- Winter wash fruit trees
- Apply Nemaslug to the soil
- Prune plum trees whilst still in leaf
- Check apples regularly to see if they are ripe, give them a gentle twist with the apple in your palm – they will come away if ready
- Start planting winter vegetables
- Tidy up strawberry plants, cut off any runners and plant these in pots to produce new plants for next year
- Prune summer fruiting raspberries and blueberries if not already done