Stoke Ferry Harvest Fayre
More horticultural tips foe this years fayre
Don't be put off growing vegetables just ecause your garden is too small for a separate vegetable bed. In his book 'Cottage Gardens', Geoff Hamilton points out that traditionally they were always grown among flowers and herbs.
This has the advantage that the vegetables are much less likely to be attacked by pests and diseases when they are hidden by other plants instead of grown in straight, exposed rows. He adds: "And if pests do seek them out, the balanced environment of the flower borders will have attracted a colony of other wildlife that includes the enemies of those pests. Nature will do the job for us." So why not give it a try?
What to do this month:
Plant outdoor tomatoes on prepared sites and support with canes. Continue sowing salad crops, peas and French beans (did you know that the so-called 'French' bean originated in North America, only arriving in Europe in the sixteenth century?). Water lettuces and other salad crops if prolonged dry weather is forecast. Plant leeks. Under glass, remove the tips from cucumber plants when seven leaves have formed and give a weekly feed of liquid manure.
This is the month to sow chicory, spacing the drills around 15-16 inches apart and sowing thinly.
Thin fruit trees now to encourage bigger, prize-winning specimens. Many types of fruit, including apples, do this naturally - a process known as 'June drop' although it usually occurs in July. Watch out for greenfly on apple, pear and plum trees. Encourage new growth on blackcurrant bushes by watering regularly. Protect all currant bushes against birds.
Dahlias, chrysanths and gladioli are all strong contenders for winning prizes in early September. Pinch out the tips of dahlia shoots to ensure a bushy plant and a long succession of blooms. Keep them well watered and give them a good mulch. Similarly, chrysanths will yield more showy results if the growing tips are removed when the little breaks are just showing in the leaf axils of the main stems. June is reckoned to be the sunniest and dryest month of the year, so be vigilant with the watering can.