Watering your garden, plot and harvesting
There is no need for watering at the moment with so many rainclouds on the sky! But who knows, there might be another dry spell coming and to save time and money keep a few tips in mind.
IF you have been following previous podcasts about lunar gardening you should have strong plants now, with deep roots to withstand a dry spell without suffering too much.
The secret for that is, NOT to water too frequently but soak the plant when planting out or keep the seeds moist when sowing. After that, make sure the soil is covered with mulch around the plant (never mulch dry soil) The mulch (which could be grass cuttings, leave mould, mushroom compost or whatever you can get your hands on), will protect the soil from drying out by strong wind or sun.
During the growing season and dry spells you can water with a watering can or hose directly around the plant, not the leaves, best in the morning or evening, avoid watering in the middle of a hot day. IF you use a sprinkler in the middle of a hot,sunny day you might do more damage than good. Most plants prefer rain water to cold tap water, so another reason to install a water butt which also saves money on your water bill.
When watering with a hose and spray attachment, the soil looks wet on the surface but if you dig down, no moisture has penetrated and the roots are forced to stay right under the surface, rather reaching down . So any dry spell and your plant will suffer unless you waste more water and your time .
With strong roots, most plants can be left a week without extra water even in a hot dry period. It also depends on your soil, and compost rich soil as well as clay holds the moisture a lot better then sandy soil. IF you grow your plants in containers or window boxes, more frequent watering is required, but nowadays there are lots of watering devices on the market, if you don’t want to ask your neighbour to do the work. There are also lots of products available for green houses with timers and water containers to bridge the gap whilst you are enjoying your holidays.
Having planted the water hungry crops like cucumbers and French climbing beans in trenches lined with soaked newspaper, proofed to be helpful in the driest spring we had for a long time and I can recommend it . It is a cheap and easy way to save watering if we are lucky enough to have hot dry summers .
“Lunar gardeners”, who want to add any extra nutrition’s to the water should do so when the moon is waning, as it gets absorbed by the roots a lot better.
See article about home made fertilizers.
Now is the time of abundance and you finally get rewarded for the efforts you have put in earlier in the year .It’s such a great time in the gardening year, harvesting lots of produce and having meals prepared from home grown vegetables,lettuces and fruit.
After a visit to the allotment I come back with the basket full of ripe strawberries and raspberries. No red current and cherries I am afraid, as the birds have eaten them . Netting them next year will secure a harvest for me next time. We are eating a bowl of mixed lettuce every day and the cut and come varieties (like red salad bowl, lollo rosso, Mizuma ) plus rocket and few flowers like borage and nasturtiums or pea flowers will add interesting flavours and colour.
Peas and mangetout are also quite frequently on the menu and there are so many that I can supply friends as well or pack them in the freezer. The Mangetout look fantastic and would look good in any flower border as they are similar to Sweet peas but provide a healthy snack
Root crops are coming along nicely as well and the radishes have been a success . There will be a lot of beet root to be eaten as all the transplanting of the seedlings went well, due to the cooler days in June. (I had left it rather late and normally transplanting bigger seedlings in hot weather doesn’t work very well. But the rain and low temperatures back in June guarantees a bumper crop.
I already have harvested the garlic bulbs and even the French would be impressed with it .It is quite easy to grow and very beneficial to your health .
If you have read any of the lunar gardening methods, harvesting of crops is better during the ascending moon phase.(shown in light blue on the calendar) OF course this mainly applies for harvesting crops when storing or preserving.
Peas and French beans and of course lettuces or raspberries and so on need constant harvesting.As for onions, garlic, potatoes or pickling beet root, making strawberry jam…. I always choose the appropriate day. Your onions and potatoes will taste better and last longer if you bear that in mind.