In August the gardener can go on holiday with no worries, provided he has mown the lawn, watered thoroughly and asked a friend to pick the fruit and vegetables’. Just depends how long the holiday is and how hot the weather. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with the rain showers we are getting, they hardly lay the dust. Keep pouring on the water until there is a prolonged spell of consistent rain.

I have had a few people ask me this year about their tomatoes going rotten on the end. This is Blossom end rot it is a physiological condition, not a disease or pest. It is caused by lack of calcium. There is no quick fix, and it is difficult to save the fruits that are affected. The lack of calcium in the plant is usually caused by lack of water, calcium is taken up into the plant in the water, so if there is a lack of water the plant does not get the required amount of calcium from the soil/compost. It is less likely that your soil or compost lacks calcium, if it does add plenty of well-balanced Tomorite to the water, “Probably the best plant food in the world”, it’s as good for plants as Carlsberg.

If you have the most awful lawn in the world now is the time to start the process of re doing it. The main reason for doing it now is that you can get a perfectly flat smooth surface, the soil is so dry and easy to work, no mess, no mud! I suggest spraying the whole lawn with roundup, glyphosate, be careful not to touch any other plants as it will kill them. Leave the lawn for a couple of weeks to go brown. Once brown, cultivate by rotavating or hand digging until you achieve a very fine tilth. Once you have a fine tilth, level and stone pick and firm the soil before sowing the seed. There are numerous types of grass seed to choose from, very fine grasses good to look at not very hard wearing, harder wearing mixes which will include some ryegrass which will need mowing a little more frequently. After sowing lightly rake and firm. The other option is to lay turf instead, instant but will possibly need constant watering (if done in the summer). It sounds really easy, well it is if you have the right equipment and /or don’t mind a bit of hard work. Well worth it in the long run.If you need more advice of help drop me a line at the Garden Centre ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

As usual we have an abundance of wonderful late flowering herbaceous plants. Great cream teas!

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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