WE are at that point in the year when we enter a holding pattern, helping the garden to keep ticking over smoothly by carrying out a selection of simple tasks in rotation so that things stay looking their best.
It isn’t an ideal planting time as the ground is too hard and dry, but you can still fill pots with fresh plants and add new ones to replace those that have turned up their toes or succumbed to pests and diseases.
Weeds will continue growing even in the driest months, so keep them in check every time you are out in the garden. Run a hoe over the soil to cut off seedlings and pull out large weeds as soon as you see them.
The same applies to pests, which can quickly colonise plants when you’re not looking. It’s much easier to deal with small colonies than large infestations, and there’s something very satisfying about picking off and squishing caterpillars and aphids.
If the summer continues as it began, with warm, humid conditions, then we will have the perfect conditions for the fungal disease tomato blight, which is also known as late blight disease.
This disease occurs when spores contaminate tomato and potato crops, and it presents itself as brown, watery lesions on leaves, stems, fruits and tubers. This is a common problem without a chemical control, so all you can do is remove affected plants and either bury them deeply or consign them to the dustbin or green waste bin. Do not compost them as the spores will live on and you will simply spread the problem around your garden.
Plants grown in polytunnels or greenhouses are less likely to be affected by blight. You can also reduce the risk of attracting the problem by growing early tomatoes, by not growing tomatoes and potatoes close together, by giving plants plenty of space and good ventilation, and by not wetting the leaves and top growth of plants when watering.
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