Is there ever a quiet time on an allotment?
Just when you think things are calming down after a hectic Spring of sowing, everything starts growing at a pace and your attention is required daily once more.
Despite all the groundwork being laid earlier in the season, Summer is still a really busy time on the allotment.
Here are 5 important allotment jobs to focus on during the Summer months.
Little and often is a mantra I stick by for all rubbish jobs, and that definitely include weeding. There is nothing more disheartening than leaving the plot for a week mid-Summer and coming back to a jungle.
Try and keep on top of the weeds by doing a bit here and there, as often as you can – maybe a bed at a time, or in 15 minute daily blocks. It’s got to be better than spending a whole day catching up with the weeding when you could be enjoying the weather and doing other fun stuff.
For some more tips on keeping those weeds down, try these 7 Tips to Make Weeding Easier.
Don’t forget to keep picking! Veg grows rapidly at this time of year, don’t let your beans go stringy or your courgettes turn into marrows.
Learn your veg too. It is key to know what veg is better when young and tender, and what should be left on the plant to ripen in the sun.
The best time to harvest is in the morning, before the temperature rises too much. Veg picked during this time won’t have evaporated moisture in the heat, so they don’t limp or wilt as quickly.
I focus my watering on the crops that need it most.
Tomatoes, courgettes and other water based veg require regular watering. Leafy crops are thirsty drinkers too – watch out for wilting. Don’t panic if the leaves do wilt, as a good soaking will soon perk the plants up.
Don’t forget any container plants too. Containers dry out very quickly, so will require watering every day during dry periods.
Watering can seem like a chore, but it can be made easier with prioritisation and planning. Try these 7 Tips for Effective Watering on the Allotment.
Spring is the busy season for sowing, but there are still plenty of seeds that can be sown in mid-Summer. Sown now, beetroot, carrots, spring greens, French beans, peas and mangetout, runner beans, perpetual spinach and chard will be harvestable before the Winter arrives.
This time of year, seeds will germinate in days, and French beans and mangetout will provide a crop within 6 to 7 weeks.
Keep a beedy eye on your veg plants, as Summer’s pests can decimate a row of healthy veg plants before you can say ‘brassica massacre’.
Check the plants whenever you can, as cabbage white butterflies will be prolifically laying eggs on any brassica they can find. Make sure protective netting is pegged well down so that the butterflies can’t fly underneath.
Blackfly is also very common during Summer. Don’t despair if you do spot some. It may take 2 or 3 weeks morning and evening squishing of the bugs, but keep at it and there is every chance you’ll eventually beat them.