Dear Fellow Gardeners,
Who would have thought that we get such a wonderful summer with two prolonged hot spells and that it even made it to Leitrim. July is the month where we can enjoy the fruits of our labour. I’m always looking forward to the first tomatoes. I still had a few seeds of my favourite (and unfortunately extinct) variety Rosada F1 left. Many tomato lovers will agree with me about the amazing flavour and texture of this variety.
I entrusted the seeds to Colman – a young organic grower in Cork where I visit the plants once a month. In his tunnel we planted 5 plants and took side shoots to make another 10 plants. Unfortunately as it is a F1 hybrid, the seeds won’t come true to type. Another friend and organic grower from Wicklow has tried to create an open-pollinated type of Rosada – but none has equalled to original. I’m not sure if he still continues with this experiment.
Anyway – as these were my last seeds – it might be the end of one of my Rosada growing.
However, I heard from Charles Dowding that he propagates new plants from side-shoots in late summer and manages to keep these young plants and overwinters them – probably in a frost free conservatory and plants them in the following spring in the polytunnel. I set Colman the same task and hope he’ll manage it.
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Jobs to do in July:
The dry weather keeps gardeners busy with watering. This is one of the very few times where I also watered outdoor vegetables, but with a possible hose-pipe ban pending – here are a few tips:
If you water your plants give them a thorough soaking. Watering little and often is a disaster as it brings the plant roots up instead of encouraging them to go down. This is probably worse than not watering at all.
If water is in short supply concentrate on the crops that need it most. These are newly transplanted crops, seedlings which don’t have a deep root system, leafy crops (salads) as well plants growing in raised beds.
You can still sow lettuce, parsley, scallions, annual spinach, perpetual spinach, chard, kale, kohlrabi, turnip, radish, Chinese cabbage and Florence fennel as well as all the oriental salads (rocket, mustard, pak choi, mizuna etc). If you have an unused bed you can sow phacelia as a green manure crop.
Aphids tend to be a problem in mid summer especially in more sheltered gardens and in a tunnel. Watch out for ladybirds or hoverflies as they may already control them. If aphids are a big problem they can be sprayed with pyrethrum or soft soap, but both sprays will also harm ladybirds. Aphids can also be washed off plants with a strong jet of water. Keep checking your brassicas for butterfly eggs.
Dates for your diary:
Galway Garden Festival
7th -8th July 2018 at Claregalway Castle. This is my favourite garden festival with a wonderful blend blend of gardening information (talks, workshops), top class entertainment, wonderful food and great plant stalls. I will give a talk on my recent Nuffield Travels and on the “Lost Foods and Plants of the Incas”. Other speakers include Helen Dillon, Kitty Scully, Thomas Pakenham and many more.
Gardening Course in Bantry, Co. Cork
Friday 20th July 2018 – “Grow your own vegetables”
Contact Colman Whelton for bookings on 087 6023183
Autumn Gardening Weekend in Renvyle House Hotel
19th -20th October with Anja Gohlke (Head Gardener at Kylemore Abbey, my gardening hero Joy Larkcom, Kitty Scully and myself. The spring gardening weekend sold out very quickly so early booking is recommended to secure a place. Contact Renvyle House Hotel directly and check out their website:
Happy Gardening and enjoy the summer