The Sunday Gardener's Blog

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  1. Quietly, early  Autumn has arrived. The morning has just the edge of coolness, and dew on the plants. Not the cold chill in the air or melancholy dampness, not seasons of mist or mellow fruitfulness, just a subtle shift in the seasons. Subtle delicate change in some of the trees and a slight change in the light. Maybe we are not so far away from nature as we think in 2010 if we can still detect nature moving so slowly toward Autumn.

  2. The slugs are back!

    I have just been out stamping on slugs.(Mmm satisfying pastime)  The dry spell kept the slugs down but with the return of some rain and damp soil they are sliding their way back into the garden.

    There are many ways of dealing with slugs, I prefer just killing them with anything to hand, a sharp bamboo cane is good but if all else fails the wellington boot will do.

    We have had a taste of what it must be like to garden in the Med; slug free.

    For tips on beating the slugs click here

     

  3.  

    Confirmation of the lovely summer has now arrived, at least in the North of England where a hosepipe ban is expected from Friday 9th July. Water companies are keeping quiet about their plans for the rest of England but the unusually dry spell continues.

     

    It goes without saying this poses problems for gardens and gardeners, so what can and can't we do?

     

    To be clear, under the ban a hosepipe cannot be used for anything whether the lawn, veggies or just cleaning the car. There is a fine up to  £1000 for breaching the ban.

     

    Gardeners can water using water from water butts and from filling up watering cans and watering by hand. For most of us with limited time, costs and resources this means priority watering by which the lawn is left to go brown and precious water expended on veggies, pots and the garden. The hanging baskets and the veg plot will need attention; the Sunday Gardener leaves the garden plants to fend for themselves, unless they start to shrivel or wilt. Garden plants, especially those which are established will last longer than you think depending on soil type. If they look really sad it may be necessary to intervene with the watering can.

     

    For those with timer based irrigation systems, especially to cover holidays, this is a bit of a disaster. There are some ideas on the web site in gardening tips what to do to cover holidays. But the sure and safest bet is a reliable friend, a fellow allotment holder or a paid gardener. It's a great shame to bring on tomatoes from seed, nurture and grow to almost ready to harvest, only to find on return from holiday dried out dead ones. 

     

  4. Sometimes this feels like a weather blog but gardening and weather are so linked together it is inevitable that gardeners are weather watchers.

     

    It’s great to see good weather and its set fair in most areas to be fine and dry for several days with only a slight chance of rain.

     

    For gardeners it means watering hanging baskets and tubs but more particularly keep an eye on the veg plot. Firstly, some salad crops will bolt if it is too dry and hot; this means produce flowers run to seed and that's the end of them.

     

    Secondly be careful with seedlings and germination. Seedlings are delicate and if they dry out, they die and they dry out very easily in this weather. Also, you can look at the plot and see a nice line of newly germinated seed, turn your back in a hot dry spell, and they will shrivel and die.

     

    If you have only a short time to spare first water the seedlings, new crops and salad. if you have time, hanging baskets and lastly the tubs. Established plants and crops will usually survive but for the Sunday Gardener, nothing beats a little light watering on a warm summer's evening.