• IvyShepherd

Wisteria and apples - This week in the garden

Weekly advice to keep your gardens looking good all year round

July is the time for harvesting.

The veg plots are producing crops thick and fast now and the flowers are just begging to be picked and displayed in all their glory.

If you grew sweet peas, now is the time to be picking them regularly, encouraging the rest of the buds to flower. Through regular picking, you will find that your sweet peas will go on flowering right through the summer.

Make sure to keep feeding and watering tomatoes, as the fruit forms on your plants. Growing your own food is second to none. A healthy and sustainable way of living.

Enjoy the time in your gardens and in the meantime, here are some jobs to keep you busy in the next week to come.

Happy gardening, folks!

Train cucumbers upwards

Cucumbers are a fun and easy veg to grow, and they can be so productive with a little care and maintenance. But did you know that your cucumbers are expert climbers?

They love to climb, but we do have to provide them with a bit of support to get them started. It’s a great way to make use of the vertical space in your greenhouse, as otherwise your cucumbers will grow into a tangled mess.

Simply use trellis or bamboo canes to provide the support they need. Once they get started, cucumbers will produce tendrils that cling to the supports and continue to grow upwards.

Another way that is gaining in popularity, and a method that I have been trying, is by using string that is tied to the roof of the greenhouse and the cucumber plant is wound around the string as it grows, clinging on with its tendrils.

Then you can stand back and watch those lovely cucumbers grow.

Summer prune wisteria

Is there anything more glorious than a wisteria flowering in summer?

Wisterias have a somewhat difficult reputation when it comes to producing flowers and it’s something I’m asked about often in my work. But if their needs are met, particularly when it comes to pruning, then they will reward you with the most beautiful show of flowers every summer.

Wisterias require a winter and a summer prune. The best time for a winter prune is February, but we are now approaching the time to give them their summer prune, after they have finished flowering, that is.

In the month of July, cut back all the growth on your wisteria to seven buds. This will control the whippy growth of the wisteria after flowering and stop it from getting out of hand.

It will help to maintain a nice, open shape of your plant and will promote and stimulate the flowering, whilst keeping enough foliage on the plant for it to recover.

Happy pruning, gardeners!

Harvest beans

Just like cucumbers, beans are an easy crop to grow and they will be so productive for you. You will be harvesting beans for around eight weeks through summer.

Ensure to pick the beans when they are tender enough and before they become too stringy.

I will be out on the plots every few days picking beans from now on, as they will start to come thick and fast. And regular harvesting is the key, as the more you pick, the more beans that will be produced on your plants.

Thin out your apples

In times of plenty, you may find that your apple trees are full to bursting with little apples, looking lovely and ready to be picked.

However sometimes our apple trees can set more fruit than is actually good for the trees. The branches of the tree can become so weighed down with the amount of apples that the branches can break.

Thinning of the fruit means that sunlight and air flow can get to the fruit and around the branches, reducing disease. If left to crop too heavily, our fruit trees may suffer in subsequent years and endure reduced yields as a result.

But the fruit will also need to be thinned in order to produce bigger, better tasting apples. If all fruit is left on the tree, you will be left with lots of small apples of poor quality.

Apple trees will naturally shed a few apples, this is typically known as the ‘June drop’. After this has happened, you can start to manually thin your apples.

When thinning, first remove any blemished or misshapen fruit. Then try to leave one apple per cluster on your trees. Cooking apples should be thinned more than dessert apples, as you’ll want to ripen larger fruits for these.

Then the resulting fruits should produce the healthiest and best tasting apples for you.

Apple pie, anyone?


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