What To Plant:
- Lettuce (all varieties)
- Climbing Beans
Things To Do This Month:
Watch for pests and control thrips, particularly on citrus.
Maintain pheremone traps and baits for fruit fly. Spray fruit with spinosad-based natural insecticide to prevent attack.
Maintain traps and baits for white fly.
Control 28 spotted ladybirds, which feed on potato, eggplant, zucchini and more, by hand-picking or lightly spraying with a natural soap spray with a touch of Chili or cayenne powder or garlic in it.
Treat parched soils with wetting agents to help them retain moisture.
If you have an empty bed or two, nourish the soil by sowing quick-growing green manures like fenugreek, lentil, mustard, rocket or sunflower. Make sure that whatever plant you choose to grow fits into your crop rotation plan. When a green manure is around 30cm high, dig it in to improve the soil before sowing your autumn crops.
If pine or eucalypt woodchip mulches become solid and water repellent, it’s because certain decay fungi thrive in them. Use a fork to break up the mulch, then sprinkle a handful of blood and bone per square metre to accelerate composting by other, more beneficial, micro-organisms. Varying the mulch type used ultimately benefits long term soil and plant health.
General Plant Care
Regularly pinch prune straggly growth on rampant passionfruit, kiwi, pumpkin, rockmelon, cucumber and watermelon vines once they have covered their allotted space. This keeps them contained and directs their energy into flower and fruit production.
To reduce the risk of verticillium wilt in basil and tomato plants, allow the soil to dry slightly between watering. Use soap spray to control caterpillars and pick regularly.
Water in the early morning or late evening. Preferably, crop foliage should be dry before sunset, otherwise foliar fungi or bacterial disease can rapidly spread given the moist conditions.
Harvesting Your Produce
Picking produce in the cool of the morning is the best time for tender leafy crops and cut flowers as this reduces the chance of wilting. However, you can successfully refresh your picked produce by plunging it into a deep container filled with cold water.
Try to eat your sweetcorn immediately or soon after harvesting. This prevents sugars from being converted into carbohydrate – it also helps them taste sweeter.
As always, any questions or comments are welcome.