August has had an exciting start, The Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall was fun, I rediscovered how much I like making things, and there were some wonderful people there too.
We stopped off at Hauser & Wirth on the way down there which has a fabulous garden designed by Piet Oudolf. On the way back from Cornwall we stopped off at Montacute House, because if you’re passing it seems sensible to take a little detour, it was a flying visit to both places, but enough to replenish the gardening soul.
Meanwhile back in the vegetable garden, there’s been a fair amount of rain, so watering hasn’t been so important, but if it’s dry where you are you’ll need to water vegetables regularly to stop them bolting and to encourage plump fruit.
Tomatoes need checking daily, pinch out the side-shoots between the leaf and the main stem, unless you’re growing the tumbling varieties that can be left to grow into bushy shapes. Standard vine tomatoes also need to have their height restricted, snip out the top of the plant once 4 or 5 trusses of flowers have developed. Keep feeding them with tomato fertiliser to encourage the plant to make more tomatoes and tie them in as they grow to stop them toppling over.
I hope you’re getting plenty of salad leaves, they must be one of the easiest vegetables to grow, as long as you can fend off the slugs. This tree spinach was almost demolished by slugs, but after digging it up and keeping it in a pot near the kitchen door, where I could keep an eye on it, it’s recovered. The young leaves taste very mild, older leaves can be tougher. I love the magenta colour in the middle and it looks pretty mixed with plainer, salad leaves. It’s botanical name is Chenopodium giganteum ‘Magenta Spreen’.
Prune gooseberries and currants cutting back soft, new shoots to leave only 5 leaves.
Prune summer-fruiting raspberries cutting canes that have fruited this year, right down to the ground tie-in the new, soft canes ready for fruiting next year.
Courgettes and beans need checking daily so they can be picked while they’re young and tender.
Photos and more about the garden at Hauser & Wirth here.
How are your vegetables growing, what’s been the most succesful so far?
all photos: Jill Anderson