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What to do on the allotment for August Bank Holiday

Posted by Guy Barter on 27 Aug 2010 at 02:34 PM

The season is running out fast and little remains to do but gather the crops, and protect those maturing now and to be gathered in autumn and winter from pests and diseases.  There is certainly no need to water for a fortnight at least.


• Rains returns and so does blight and slugs.  Top up spraying for blight is needed and vulnerable crops, such as newly planted salads, will need protection from slugs.


• It is worth removing dead and rotting  material from crops as these promote grey mould and sclerotinia disease.  The latter is particularly prevalent and is very damaging to carrots and beans.


• Weeds too need constant attention, particularly galinoga and annual nettles that grow very quickly in these conditions.  Plants uprooted with the hoe quickly re-root in rain so they are hooked out and deposited in the alley ways to be pulled about with the three prong cultivator in dry spells until they die.  They are too full of weeds and soil to be good for adding to the compost pit.  It is of course essential that no weed seeds are shed and ones with ripening seed heads are consigned to the bonfire.


• Green manures could be sown now, but not a gap remains on the plot and in any case weeding green manure crops is especially unrewarding.  As land falls free it is raked level and weeds allowed to grow.  These will be eliminated as they germinate so that several flushes of seedlings will be killed depleting the seed bank in the soil.


•  Onions and shallots for drying under cover for storing are bone dry now and can be cleaned and stored for winter.


• Plants still in modules waiting to go out include chervil, parsley, basil, chicories and French beans – it is still worth putting these out where gaps fall free.


•  Spring cabbages sown last week are emerging despite being flooded by rain, and another sowing will be made in early September.


• Squashes and pumpkins are spread further and further and their growth needs guiding, with sticks pushed into the soil, so they don’t shade out other crops.


• The rains have led to a late surge in growth and this seems likely to transform crop prospects from rather poor during the early season drought to quite good after all.


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