I don’t know about you, but I get complacent this time of year.
I can’t help it. The flurry of spring has passed, and all of a sudden there are no seed sowing deadlines. Everything seems a lot more chilled out.
For me, this is when I’m at my most vulnerable. I stop fretting. Veg is growing, I’m harvesting frequently, and all is well with the world.
I do stupid stuff, like stop watering as much, and letting the weeds off when I should be plucking them out. I develop this ‘oh, I’ll do that later’ mentality.
Underneath the courgette glut and the healthy-looking veg plants lurks trouble. There are still things I need to do to ensure my plot doesn’t go to pot. So, this blog post is more a mental note to myself than anything – all the things I’ve got to be doing, rather than putting off.
All the things below are mistakes I’ve made and continue to make. Hopefully, by writing them down, they’ll stick in my brain and I won’t make them again.
As I mentioned, I get lazy with the watering. This is daft in the extreme, as the ground is at its driest right now, and emerging fruits like tomatoes and squashes need plenty of water. In the past, I’ve been saved by my mum’s squash planting method…
That’s not to say you need to water every day, but when you do, make sure you give the plants a good soaking. This is better than little and often.
Don’t Forget the Winter Veg and Protect Those Brassicas
I often get caught up with all the more glamorous summer veg growing around me, and neglect the winter crops. I then regret my carelessness when I’m crying out for winter harvests and my caulis are rubbish and the sprouts look ropey.
A good example is my brassicas. This time of year the Cabbage White butterflies are in full flight, laying eggs left to right and centre on any unprotected brassica plant. I still haven’t netted my brassicas this year, and they’re being munched.
Check daily for caterpillars if you can, and move any that you spot.
I might just about get away with my lack of protection if I net in the next couple of days, as the more gluttonous second batch of Cabbage Whites don’t arrive until August and stay until Autumn.
Keep Sowing for Autumn
Once crops such as broad beans and peas have been pulled out, the plot can look bare in places. You can fill these gaps though – on Monday, I posted a list of seeds you can keep sowing for Autumn harvests. As well as these veg, I’ll be trying some beets and Autumn King carrots.
Harvest Every Day!
Keeping on top of harvests ensures you get crops at their best. Courgettes, beans, and tomatoes will grow too big very quickly, and they all need regular pickings if the plant is to continue cropping.
Not doing my weeding is one thing I’m really naughty with during high summer, but it’s more important than ever. Getting weeds out of the soil before they go to seed is vital, as this helps to stop the spread. Weeds seeding themselves now will mean more work next year.