Monthly Growing Guide By Alan J Hartley For
Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Seeds To Sow.
Everything is still growing as fast as it can and will carry on doing so for some time yet, so when the occasional things that crop earlier, like Broad Beans, Potatoes and Garlic, come out, you can replant, or even re-sow a quick, or late crop, like Turnips, Beetroot, Radish, Lettuce, etc. With a bit of foresight and planning you can sow many other plants in trays and then grow them on in larger pots to hold them back, for planting later. This will enable you to replant even later than usual, as more things come out and fresh young plants are no longer available to buy in Garden Centres. If you did this with some of the larger, tender plants like outdoor Tomatoes, Cape Gooseberries, Tomatilloes and Sweet Corn, they can still go in now and will have time to crop.
Others things that you may consider growing from seed rather than buying plants of later, are Wallflowers and Sweet Williams. Both are relatively easy to grow from seed sown about now, although Wallflowers can be susceptible to Club Root as can Brassicas. Periodically spreading Lime on your patch will not eliminate the risks entirely, but will reduce the chances of getting Club Root. Seed can then be sown directly into the nursery bed where the plants can be grown on until they are transplanted to their final growing spot in September where they will flower later and then on until the bedding plants go in for next Summer. 

Fruit Trees and Bushes.
At this time of year everything has so much fresh growth on it all the time that it becomes necessary to do some Summer pruning on fruit trees and bushes to remove their excessive growth. This is especially true of Grape Vines that are romping away now with so much growth that you can’t even see the fruit forming. While trimming your vines it is a good idea to reduce the number of bunches of grapes on them as well to encourage the remaining ones to develop better. This pruning and thinning is a good idea now for most fruit trees such as Apples, Plums and Pears as well. Any wounds where the branches have been cut will heal quickly at this time of year, but at other times it may be advisable to treat cuts with a wax-sealing compound. Figs can also be cut back, but don’t really need their fruit thinning.

Some early strawberries will be ready for picking this month along with the “All season,” varieties. Summer Raspberries should also be developing nicely with other fruit such as Gooseberries and Currants that will follow on and go on fruiting well into August. There are so many varieties of most fruits these days that it is impossible to give a hard and fast date for fruiting as every variety of even the same fruit will be different. Indeed by carefully selecting varieties to plant it will be possible to harvest most fruits throughout the Summer months instead of just having one quick burst of fruit as happened in the old days.

Other Jobs To Do.
Ordinary Onions should be nearly ready this month to have their tops turned down to start the ripening process off.
Potato Blight usually hits plants at, or around the end of June, so it is a good idea, (especially if it has been wet) to spray the Potato Tops before Blight strikes, as a preventative measure. Nothing will effectively treat plants after they have become infected, but spraying something like the traditional “Bordeaux Mixture,” may be enough to prevent infection. Basically it is a Copper based Fungicide which is actually classed as Organic, BUT Copper Sulphate, on which it is based, is classed as a hazardous, dangerous compound.
As always prevention is better than a cure, so it is best to plant Blight resistant varieties in the first place and rotating your crops may also help with prevention. There is nothing that can be done with plants that have been hit badly, but to take off the infected tops and prevent worse by stopping it spreading to other healthy plants. Sometimes, it may be sufficient to just remove the odd infected leaf if you catch it early enough, but badly infected haulms, should be removed from the site altogether and not composted, but are best burned. After the mature tops have been removed from either healthy, or infected plants, the tubers should remain in perfect condition underground. Even after your Potato patch has been infected, and then cleared, it will be safe to plant most other things apart from Tomatoes as they are closely related and can be infected by Potato Blight.


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