Natural Gardening Tips for August
Article from http://www.organicplants.co.uk - suppliers of organic plants and seeds
Gardening Hints for August
Slugs seem to be less of a problem than last year as we are getting some sunny weather between the showers. We have environmentally-friendly slug pellets in stock if you need them. They are not harmful to pets and wildlife (apart from slugs & snails).
The Banish Slugs book recommends barriers such as crushed shells, coffee grounds and wood ash. You could also try 'slug pubs' - a plastic tub sunk in the ground with the rim 2-3cm above the soil surface. Cut slots in the sides to let the slugs in but cover the tub with a lid to prevent evaporation and to stop beneficial creatures from falling in or drinking the beer.
Keep on top of the weeds by pulling up the big ones when it is wet (don't let them go to seed). Hoe when the soil is dry enough. Continue to side-shoot tomatoes and feed them with a high-potash organic liquid feed. 'Stop' standard-sized tomatoes in early August, but leave cherry tomatoes and Santasian until the first week of September. There is no need to stop Tumbler. ('Stopping' means removing the growing point).
You may even need to water some crops especially peas, celery, celeriac, cucumbers, beans and potatoes.
When I worked for the Ministry of Agriculture the plant pathologists used Smith Periods as an aid to the assessment of blight risk in conjunction with knowledge about the presence of blight in a locality and the stage of crop development.
A full Smith Period has occurred if, on each of 2 consecutive days:
- the minimum air temperature was at least 10°C, and
- there were a minimum of 11 hours with a relative humidity of at least 90%
Smith Period conditions are conducive for sporulation of the potato blight pathogen on lesions - leaf wetness is also necessary for infection to occur. If Smith Periods occur at frequent and regular (7-10 day) intervals, there is a greater chance of blight development. This is because the generation time i.e. from original infection through to lesion development to subsequent sporulation is around 7-10 days. Smith Periods at these intervals are ideal for the blight pathogen.
If your potatoes get bad blight it is best to remove the haulm before the disease infects the tubers. Tomatoes are also susceptible.
If onion leaves have not toppled over by late August/early September, bend them over by hand to assist ripening
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