Matt Noyce, Head Gardener at Quarr Abbey (that’s a lotta garden…) is back with some more top tips for your summer fruit and veg patch…
Without trying to dramatise the humble vegetable plot too much, summer growing season is the rollercoaster ride of the horticultural calendar. The early summer months are still focussed on planting and nurturing, watering and feeding… and then it all changes with the later summer months when they are all about cropping produce, re-sowing, cropping, re-planting, cropping, weeding, watering and… did we mention cropping?
This is the rewarding season for all of the year’s efforts, it’s the moment when you find out if the gambles you made have paid off. Whether you have a grow bag or a whole field, have fun and enjoy it!
In the early part of the summer, many plants will still be establishing and some not quite ready to yield. Those plants that will have started to produce, will be a welcome sight and a welcome addition to the dinner table. The asparagus tips will have been enjoyed and the foliage is now left to grow to replenish the plant or ‘crown’ after its busy cropping season.
Climbing plants such as runner beans will continue to need to be trained up their supports and berry fruits will need to be tied against walls to keep a bit of order. Once climbers have reached your desired height they may be pruned at that point to restrict their growth and allow the plant to concentrate on the existing yield.
Continue to water regularly according to weather conditions, ideally using stored rainwater, to ensure that fruit and vegetables don’t become drought stressed, as this can seriously affect yields. Also, consider how you would like to feed your plants. There are many ways including; organic, liquid and granular to name a few.
Towards the end of this month it is worth starting to sow your autumn and winter crops in preparation for the next growing season.
Things should be hotting up by now and cucumbers, courgettes, chillies and tomatoes under glass/plastic are in full production. Outside, carrots, beetroots (generally root crops) and salads ideally should be sown in succession. This is where you sow in intervals with weeks in between and therefore avoids a ‘glut’ of any one variety of produce at one time.
As the growing season is in full swing, it is worth checking tree ties on fruit trees and any others you may have. The ties need adjusting from time to time to accommodate for the tree’s additional girth as it grows.
Keep an eye out for pests at this time, as an infestation, in particular greenfly and blackfly, can prove disastrous. Likewise, with the potential to gain a whole host of other uninvited guests on your plot, from slugs to caterpillars, it is worth spending some time checking your crops and dealing with them appropriately.
Matt will be back as we head into autumn giving his expert advise for September and October