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Summer came and went

Posted by Guy Barter on 08 Aug 2008 at 09:31 PM

The fleeting spell of hot weather after Tatton Park Flower Show made all the difference to my allotment..

For weeks careful watering and feeding to ‘push’ tender crops has been needed to make sure they develop enough roots and leaves to take advantage of summer when it arrives

Sweet potatoes under their low polythene tunnel have gone from weedy plants covering a tea tray’s worth of ground to cover over a square metre.  In fact they are in danger of over-heating so the tunnel was pulled back and water applied to the landscape fabric mulch through which they are being grown.  They got a really good soak and this might do them for the year; until mid August anyway.  Abundant water can lead to lots of leaf and rather watery tubers, so they are being grown hard for smaller, but tastier tubers.

Tomatoes have gone from thin and willowy to thick, dark green plants with large trusses of fruit.  Sweet corn from pallid and wispy to dark green and luxuriant.  Climbing french beans have arrived at the top of their canes putting on a spurt of growth.  Dwarf French beans are in full crop.  Cucumbers have burst out of their fleece tunnel.  Peppers have formed a heavy burden of fruit in their fleece tunnel.  Unfortunately courgettes the size of my little finger when I left were only fit for the compost pit.

My numerous pumpkins and squashes have grown from plants you could almost fit under a bucket to sprawling monsters making their move on the nearby soft fruit

As usual in high summer one other, much less welcome plant has shown its appreciation of the hot weather; Galinsoga AKA gallant soldier or kew weed. This extremely virulent South American weed loves heat, is not at all put off by dry soils and whole regiments of it have sprung up, especially in the root and brassica crops.  It had to go, but at least the weather was fine for a crawling though dusty crops pulling this stubborn weed out one by one.

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