June Gardening Tasks

Hi again, it’s me your favourite gardening guru, Mr Scarecrowavitch!  June is here and the sun is out (at times) and there are many important jobs to do in the garden.

Mr Scarecrowavitch in his Jubilee best

Mr Scarecrowavitch hard at work

  1. Make sure to keep on top of the weeding.  I cannot stress this enough.  I make sure the Mitzvahs and Marrows crew don’t let any weeds come into to flower.  If you do then it means seeds and even more weeds in the future.
  2. Be sure to water plants regularly especially those in containers.  No plant likes to be water logged but it mustn’t dry out either.  The best times to water are first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  Also try to water at the root of the plant and not sprinkle over the leaves.
  3. The green house can get very hot this time of year (when the sun is out anyway!), so it is a good idea to open a window or door slightly during the day and close it at night.  This allows air to circulate and stops your plants from  scorching.
  4. If you have cabbages or any other brassicas growing you must cover them with horticultural netting and/or fleece to stop the birds and cabbage white butterflies from getting to them.  A scarecrow can only do so much!  I try my best to stop them but the hardiest pigeon can decimate a cabbage in no time.  Simple netting will make all the difference.
  5. Harvest lettuces and salad crops otherwise they might bolt… no, I don’t mean make a run for it! 😉 Bolting is when a plant stops producing leaves and goes to seed.  You may get pretty flowers but you want something to eat from a lettuce!

And lastly don’t get disheartened if your plants aren’t doing so well.  The great thing about gardening is to remember you can always try again and the Mitzvahs and Marrows crew are here to (try) and answer any of your questions.

Happy Gardening from Mr Scarecrowavitch! 😀

May Gardening Tasks

It seems as though this month is racing by and still you are wondering what to do in the garden, so here are the main gardening tasks to get going with in May.  And with this being Chelsea Flower Show week you have no excuse … not sure why, but you don’t 😉

  • If you have any containers make sure you keep them well watered.  Now the sun has come out your container plants will lose moisture more quickly than plants that are in the border.  Yes, I know it has been raining buckets lately but do not be fooled containers need extra care this time of year.
  • Keep on top of those weeds – remember if you get to a weed before it flowers you save yourself years of further weeding because it won’t get to spread.
  • (*Warning: Don’t eat your dinner whilst reading this point!) Also slugs and snails will be out in force attempting to do their worst to your plants and flowers.  If you prefer to be organic about it, instead of using slug pellets (though there are organic ones on the market) why not use porridge oats, or a no.9 boot? – just kidding!
  • At Mitzvahs and Marrows our potatoes are growing apace with plenty of green foliage on display.  This means it is time to earth up the potatoes so that the emerging tubers are not exposed to the air, plus hopefully you should get larger potatoes too.
  • It is probably best to avoid planting out tender plants though because there will still be a danger of frosts at night.  It is better to wait until next month so more on that in June.
  • It is a good time to sow beetroots seeds.  Prepare the earth by hoeing  until you have a nice fine tilth.  Use the hoe to make shallow lanes in which to sow your beetroot seeds.  Sow not too thinly because you can always thin out the weaker plants as the beetroots emerge.  Cover over with soil about 2cm deep and water in.  At Mitzvahs and Marrows we have sown ‘Boltardy’, ‘Monoruba’ & ‘Burpees Golden’ (which is yellow in colour as the name suggests).

Happy growing and from all of us at Mitzvahs and Marrows we would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Shavuot!

April Gardening Tasks

Although it is nearly the end of April there is still plenty that can be done in the garden at this time of year…. weather permitting of course 😉

  • If you have not already done so, sow vegetable seeds in modules indoors.  There is so much to choose from including: beetroot, peas, kale, chard, spinach, tomatoes and lettuce.  Whatever you do don’t sow something you don’t like – unless it is for the show bench!
  • Carrots and parsnips need to be sown outdoors so it is best to hold off on that score, certainly until the ground is drier.
  • Remember you can still plant potatoes directly in the ground, or indeed in potato bags with some compost.
  • Check over any over-wintered plants such as cabbage or leeks.  Make sure they have not been attacked by slugs and if need be, use some anti-slug measures.
  • Also as the weather is still so temperamental consider protecting plants with horticultural fleece.  At the Mitzvahs and Marrows allotment we did this with the cabbages and it has made a great difference.

And of course, do not forget to keep up with the weeds.  The definition of a weed is a plant in the wrong place and in the case of the Mitzvahs and Marrows allotment, this means rogue potatoes!  This can occur when you have planted potatoes in a bed in the previous year and not removed them all during harvest.  In the following year you plant up another crop and then find (especially after heavy rain!) potato plants emerging amongst your other crops.

It is tempting to leave the potatoes in and get an extra crop.  The problem with this is that the other crops will be competing with the potatoes for space, air, water and nutrients, so you must remove all the rogue potatoes.   They don’t have to go to waste though, simply plant up the extra potatoes into potato bags or supermarket jute bags with some compost.

More on rogue potatoes and how we dealt with them at Mitzvahs and Marrows to come in a future article 😀