It’s the End of August Already

Dear Reader,

Please forgive me for being so tardy with my blogging,but the last couple of months has seen terrific weather – both hot and dry and warm and wet.  I spend most of my time tending to my vegetables and very little in front of my computer.  Anyway, an update.

At this time of year, with the nights starting to draw in vines are ripening and it is a time to harvest, harvest, harvest.  It’s been a good year generally with only one major disaster so far.  My pea crops which suffered terribly from a lack of water in the early summer when they were flowering has yielded very little.  Otherwise the recent warm wet weeks have meant everything has grown like the clappers.

Now is the time to start harvesting seed for my library and to share with others.  So the kitchen is full of beans dried and ready for shelling, quantities of silica jell in boxes for drying and envelopes awaiting labeling and filling.  see my new page for seed swaps if you are interested in trying some of my ‘off-list’ and heirloom varieties.

SUCCESS WITH RHUBARB JUICE.  For the first time I have tried spraying brassicas with rhubarb juice to ward off the dreaded cabbage white butterfly, because their noses are apparently in their feet.  They land on a cabbage leaf smelling of rhubarb and think it is therefor rhubarb.  Back in March I filled an old dustbin with water and my fellow allotmenters have filled the receptacle with rhubarb leaves over the ensuing months. What has resulted is a festering, stinky murky liquid which I filter through an old sock before filling my sprayer, adding a few drops of Fairy Liquid to ensure the spray stays on the leaves.  I have had remarkable success with this method.  It is necessary to use rubber gloves if one doesn’t want to stink of rotting vegetation afterwards, but if the leaves are well covered on both sides the butterflies really do stay away.  It has been necessary to re-spray after very heavy rain and I do keep an eye out for egg clusters because any missed area will surely be found by the butterflies.  I definitely recommend trying this next year.  It’s a free and organic solution to a major problem for me and many others who can find their gardens plagued by cabbage whites.

Now is also the time to transplant brassicas for the spring – cabbage, cauliflower and kale.  Also, I am sowing short rows of a number of Chinese greens including Mizuna, Pak Choi, Kailan and mustard.  With my summer radish now coming to an end it is time too to sow winter radish, more rocket and to think about early crops to get started in the greenhouses as the ground comes free – carrots, winter lettuce, broad beans even.

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