Many gardens have suffered this year due to the cold and damp weather with crops developing later than usual. Some fruit and vegetables need a long growing season, so let’s hope for a warm and bright autumn, so that they can ripen.
To help, you can cover your crops with fleece at night and remove any leaves that are shading fruit from the sun. Ensure that they are well fed and check that supports are intact.
The weather is ideal for pests, such as slugs and caterpillars, so keep applying control, such as with nematodes. Likewise, weeds can quickly take over a plot, especially if the weather has not been fine enough for you to venture out regularly.
Even with plenty of rain, it is important to water indoor plants and those growing in containers. Watering should be consistent as fluctuations can cause the splitting of fruit, such as tomatoes. Ventilate the greenhouse as a damp environment can lead to fungal disease. Rather than watering the surface of the soil, place pots in trays of water or sink a plastic container into the soil.
The late arrival of summer does mean that there is still time to sow or transplant some crops, as it always better to follow the climate rather than the calendar. If you are now harvesting quick and low growing varieties of lettuce, radishes and baby carrots, then use the space to grow a few more. Courgettes will be giving a plentiful crop this month and you should check them regularly, especially as the rain will help fruit to grow quickly and you need to remove any rotten ones immediately. Pick beans and peas regularly so that plants will continue to produce pods for as long as possible. Whilst some crops, such as runner beans, become stringy and inedible if left on the plant for too long, others are more forgiving. One of my favourite varieties is the climbing bean Supermarconi that produces long flat pods that can be eaten when mature.
Annual and biennial herbs can be left to self-seed, once you have picked enough leaves for use in the winter. Store them after drying or freeze chopped leaves in ice cubes or butter portions.