One positive outcome of lockdown is that the whole allotment site has never looked so good. My own plot has never been so weed-free and well organised! However, I’ve experienced a new pest this year on my broccoli, cauliflower and Pak Choi seedlings – Flea Beetles, very small black beetles that leap like fleas. There are sprays that help to get rid of them but one useful tip is not to plant out seedlings until they are good strong plants – the beetles usually go for tender, very small seedlings.
As it’s mid-summer, watering is obviously crucial. What I didn’t realise, however, is that over-watering can actually spoil the growth and development of vegetables. If water is too ‘available’ at surface level then the plants don’t send roots down into the ground in search of water.
A hoe remains a really effective way of controlling weeds. It is also quicker than conventional weeding and there is less risk of you trampling on your plants if you don’t’ have to get into the vegetable beds.
Wet and humid conditions can cause tomato and potato blight – a fungus where the edges of leaves, stems and fruit start to turn brown – together with a rotting smell. Keep plants well-spaced to help prevent the disease spreading and sprays can help too.
Now is the time to sow second cropping potatoes as well as main crop carrots, and repeat sowings of salad crops. You can also sow seeds for over winter vegetable such as kale, spring cabbage and hardy onions.
Continue to harvest rhubarb until the end of the month but then no more as it could affect the crop next year. Enjoy strawberries too and early plums and apples, as well as runner beans, green bean, peas, carrots and potatoes.
All our plots are taken at the moment but do contact our membership secretary, Angela Brown, if you’d like to go on the waiting list: 01473 612283 / email@example.com