|Dear Fellow Gardeners,|
August and September are lovely months in the garden. You can sit back and reap the rewards from all the hard work you put into it. So many crops are ready now with the endless gluts of courgettes, perpetual spinach, salads and if you have a tunnel or greenhouse will enjoy your tomatoes, cucumbers etc. Root crops for winter storage, however, are not ready for harvesting until late September at the earliest.
There are still a few vegetables you can sow now: lettuce (especially loose-leaf types or Little Gem), scallions, radishes, baby turnips, annual spinach. August is also a good month to sow all your winter salads. They prefer to grow in the latter half of the year. The best ones are rocket, mizuna, mustard ‘Red Frills’ and ‘Green Frills’, pak choy, claytonia, tatsoi and corn salad.
You can still plant out lettuce, scallions, kohlrabi, turnip, Chinese cabbage, Florence fennel.
Summer green manures
As soon as you have harvested and cleared a bed you should consider replanting it or sowing a green manure crop.
Soil should not be left bare for prolonged periods. In nature you will never find bare soil unless it has turned into a desert. After a forest fire plants such as the fireweed (rosebay willowherb) will quickly recolonise the ground. A bare soil is bad for the soil structure, the soil life and it will quickly lose its nutrients.
Anytime your beds are empty and you don’t have any follow on crops ready, you can sow a green manure crop. All you do is to prepare a nice weed free seed bed and sprinkle (broadcast) green manure seeds at the recommended seed rate onto the beds and rake them in.
My favourite summer green manure is phacelia. The German name for this plant is ‘Bee’s Friend’. It’s a fantastic and very pretty plant that attract a myriad of beneficial insect including hoverflies, lacewings, beetles and obviously bees.
The purpose of a summer green manure is to quickly cover the soil and the growing plant will absorb and use the available nutrients that are still in the soil and thus prevent them from being washed out. A green manure should ideally be dug into the soil just before flowering, but with phacelia you have to make an exception and let it flower. It will be slightly less beneficial for the soil but absolutely fantastic for wildlife. Studies have shown the massive increase of carabid beetle populations under a phacelia crop and these beetles eat slugs!
Other summer green manures include summer vetch and buckwheat. I would stay away from all the brassica green manures such as mustard, rape etc. as they would interfere with your crop rotation.
You can sow phacelia until the middle of September. From then onwards you should use winter green manures.
Launch of On-line gardening course
I’m starting to run an online gardening course aimed at complete beginners to semi-advanced gardeners who want to grow some of their own food – vegetables, salads, herbs and fruit.
The online course runs fortnightly or weekly depending on growing season.
10 sessions from September to February – Cost €70 (open for bookings)
10 sessions from March to May – Cost €70
To book the course, please email me on my new email: [email protected] and write “Course Booking”. (Some of you may already have received the booking form.)
I will then send you the booking details. This is a dedicated email just for this course. All Q&A’s will be posted on this email and shared via Mailchimp.
The course will be professionally filmed and live-streamed. If you can’t join at that time you can watch it later. I have been working with Mark Megahy – the film-maker for the last two years on Polytunnel courses with NOTS. Some of you may have taken part in it?
Proposed Course Dates (Saturday mornings – these are not yet fully confirmed)
Each session consists of about 45 minutes gardening demonstrations, interesting plant facts, gardening tips and includes vegetable, salad, herb and fruit growing. Following each session you can email me questions on any topic. I will answer the questions and collate them and distribute them to all course participants. The purpose of this course is to accompany you throughout the gardening year.
I’m also considering visiting a couple of the participant’s gardens to give some advice if there are some participants interested. This will also be filmed. However, this should be within an hour’s drive from Rossinver, Co. Leitrim.
It’s also aimed at families who want to garden with their children as my two young children will join me for some of the sessions on their own allotments.
Bookings for this course are now open. Please send me quick email on [email protected] and ask for the booking details.Gardening Weekend at Renvyle House Hotel
This weekend is now fully booked, however, a second course has been organised starting Sunday 10th to Tuesday 12th October 2021. There are a still a few spaces left for this course.
Please enquire through Renvyle House directly.
Tel: 095 46100 | Email: [email protected] |