September 2019 sow again, interplants, brassica pests, mildew, no dig allotment, more pyralid damage
Often the weather flips in late August from summer to autumn, and this year is no exception. The last 7 days here had an average maximum temperature of 25C/77F, then next week’s forecast gives 19C/66F. Still nice but with cool breezes. See my tips for sowing and planting below. See the garden Sunday 1st September with free entry, no need to book. We should have calendars for sale.
On my website we have made the forum read-only. Since the mass spam attacks of early summer, it has become difficult for many to log in, and difficult to maintain. There is a lot of information still available on the forum, use the search bar. And ask a question or comment at the bottom of any post, and on social media.
Spring onions, bulb onions (selected varieties), spring cabbage and winter lettuce top the sowing list straightaway, all for growing outdoors.
For growing over winter under cover, sow any salad soon, including:
- For outdoor planting to crop in autumn/winter lambs lettuce, mizuna, salad rocket,
- For outdoor planting to overwinter small, in early September sow lettuce, spinach, chervil, coriander, dill.
- For undercover planting sow in early to mid September all salads (includes spinach, chard mustards, kale etc which you can grow large for cooking), spring onion.
Jasper and I have been planting many salad brassicas, then protecting them from insects with mesh. The high number of flea beetles this summer has confirmed that I need a finer mesh.
If you run out of space, try this technique. Wherever you see space between vegetables whose cropping will finish within 2-4 weeks.
Fast growth late summer
I love this time of year for rapid response in the garden. We often plant module-sown seedlings at two weeks old, then there is no check at planting time. For this, you need to be controlling pests.
Plus have spare plants ready. About 15 lettuce virtually disappeared and we found leatherjackets under them, squashed them then replanted.
Summer pests on young brassicas
Flea beetles have been worse than ever, both leaf- and stem-eaters. Plus swede midge eating out hearts of young brassicas, so they barely grow afterwards, or on many small stems. Mesh has been my saviour and then Bacillus thuringiensis against caterpillars, once plants are older and uncovered.
Powdery mildew, not as bad as it appears
I see recommendations to spray fungicide on powdery mildew, as in no.4 here for example. However there is no need: powdery mildew is just a fungus which helps older leaves to decay more quickly. It’s a helpful recycling gent and does not develop on new, healthy leaves, unlike downy mildew.
New calendar for 2020
The calendar is being printed as I write. We shall be posting preorders soon, and you can order here.
For release in September I have also revised my Diary, a few additions and updates, some new photos and a new cover by Jason Ingram. I feel fortunate to have Jason take this photograph because he is pretty much top man worldwide in garden photography. He is also photographing a 2020 series for Which? Gardening on my small garden.
The 2019 series in Which? by me is about no dig and seasonal garden jobs, available to buy here.
Cucumbers undercover fed by compost alone
Three years ago I lost my polytunnel cucumbers to downy mildew, from wetting leaves too often. Now i keep them dry and they are still cropping well, on stems which have looped over the top wire and are now descending. See some harvests on this video of late July.
I do not feed them, or my tomatoes. We mulched the soil with 6cm/2.5in compost before planting, and this will suffice for winter vegetables too.
Yet more aminopyralid damage
I am upset by how this poison has got into so many products and gardens. Dow/Corteva say “it’s not our fault” because their label says ‘no sprayed products should leave the farm’.
Few gardening magazines want to name names for fear of litigation. These poisons cause harm in tiny dilutions which make them hard to detect in soil or compost samples.
Compost companies say it’s not their fault as none of their compost ingredients could contain pyralids.
In the case of Levingtons (below), their reason for being blameless is “no residues could be detected”.
While the response of Country Natural whose manure has contaminated many gardens and allotments, is an offer “to have a landscaper rotovate the soil to remove any possible contamination even though there might not be”. This offer shows how they don’t understand poisons, contamination, soil biology and people! They tell people who complain “you are the only one”. Somehow we need to reverse this horrible poisoning of soil and plants.
Flowers and veg
Enjoy the beauty. Plus it turns out that marigolds do repel aphids, by secreting limonene.
Just this week I received a lovely message from Carl Williams of Phillipstown allotments on South Wales.
Last January 2019 I couldn’t turn my plot over because of illness and my plot became a jungle quite quickly. Then I had a letter from my allotment association that if I didn’t cultivate my plot then my plot would be given to someone waiting on the list. I was devastated thinking I got no chance to get my plot under hand in 8 weeks in which they gave me. But then I came across your channel on YouTube and it blew me away. I watched every video you made and started straight away implementing all your suggestions for the NO-DIG approach. All my fellow allotment holders laughed at me when I told them of my new found approach to growing veg. But soon as I started planting some things in clumps like you suggest and things stating to grow and grow they starting complimenting me and the way my plot looked. I have just been told that I have the best looking plot with the best looking veg on the entire site.
Growing for winter starts in spring. Sow celeriac March, leeks April, Brussels May, kale June, chicory July and spinach August.