Gardening Magazine

Keeping Things Ticking Over

By Mwillis
Nothing momentous is happening in my garden at present - I'm just keeping it ticking over. In great contrast to last year, June has been a cold wet month, so some things have thrived, and others haven't. The cucumbers I planted out at the end of May (2 x Marketmore and 2 x Delikate B) have really suffered. One of the Marketmores has died completely, and the other three plants are barely hanging on. Fortunately I have had four late-sown "Vorgebirgstrauben" cucumbers sheltering in my coldframe, and having been protected from the weather they are looking OK. A couple of days ago I planted 3 of them in a big 35L pot recently vacated by some potatoes. The other is being retained as the FINAL spare!

Keeping things ticking over

"Vorgebirgstrauben"


My garlic is only a couple of weeks away from harvest now. On Friday I cut off the scapes and cooked them. Just in case you don't know what garlic scapes are, they are the flower-stems of the plant. If you let flowers form they divert energy from the bulbs, so it is customary to cut them off soon after they appear.
Keeping things ticking over
Being a garlic-growing novice I think I may have picked my scapes too soon - but I was keen to avoid weakening the bulbs which I'm hoping are down there out of sight below the level of the soil.
Keeping things ticking over
With only 19 garlic plants to play with, the scapes were never going to make a big feast, but I chopped them up and used them to add color and mild flavouring to a dish I made with pork tenderloin and foraged Chanterelle mushrooms. They were nice enough but not "Wow!", whereas the mushrooms were excellent.
Keeping things ticking over
This past week I harvested two more pots of "Foremost" potatoes, in the same way as I have recently described (so no photos this time). The yield was similar too  - 2.3kgs from the two pots. Interestingly, the tubers from one pot had quite a lot of scab, while those from the other were lovely and clean. They say that scab is caused / exacerbated by lack of organic material in the growing-medium, but both these pots were filled with exactly the same medium.
With pots becoming vacant now, I decided to plant the two tubers that I had had left over when I planted my other potatoes earlier in the year. They had gone very wrinkly, but they had some amazing chits (shoots) on them!
Keeping things ticking over
Keeping things ticking over
I'm hoping that they will provide me with a small harvest in about mid-September, when all the other spuds will be long gone.
I'm keeping a close watch on my Blueberry plants, because the fruit is beginning to swell now. I know that it's far from being ripe still, but I also know that Blackbirds are impatient creatures and will be lining up to steal them as soon as they become vaguely digestible. I have to judge the right moment to deploy the netting...!
Keeping things ticking over
A few weeks ago I bought a couple of gravel-trays from my local branch of Wilko's, with the intention of using them to move little pots of seedlings around the garden. Well, they have done that task now and I have moved them on to a new role - water reservoir. I have filled them to a depth of a centimeter or so with water, and stood two big pots of Mint in each:
Keeping things ticking over
Mint is a thirsty plant, and to keep it in good condition when grown in a pot requires frequent watering. This method provides the plants with a steady water supply for several days, and you only need to top up the water about once a week. This would be a good trick to apply to other potted plants if you are planning to be away from home for a few days, though perhaps not for too long. Mint doesn't mind having its roots wet, but other plants might not be so forgiving.

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