Madeleine Cardozo's Garden Advice

What you should have done in your garden this week - or now!

Don't worry - it's not too late!  I'm Madeleine Cardozo, author of 'Down to Earth' and i'm here to help you through the busy growing season with a handy weekly guide.
Please leave your comments at the foot of this blog - especially if you have any questions, I would love to hear from you.


June 22nd 2011 

This is a fantastic time of year, the time when all gardeners want to show off their years work, now is the time to make yummy broad bean salads, have warm new potatoes, and summer puddings galore.
Weed your patches. Harvest your crops, eat them, share them or store them.

Storing – Blanch any peas or beans and put them in the deep freeze. Freeze any berries you don’t have time to eat. You can also freeze elderflowers to make elderflower cordial later on in the summer.


Look at your tomatoes and check that they haven’t sprouted any extra branches; otherwise all the energy into making tomatoes will go into making more leaves.... So you do this by looking at the main stem of the tomato, branches should come off that, but only 1 branch. If there are two or more, pinch out the inner branches with your thumb and index finger. Also make sure that the tomato is well secured to the plant support, by using Haxnicks soft tie.
I have had great problems with finding more spinach to sow as it is not readily available like a lot of herbs or tomato seeds are. This is a good time to sow more of these to see you into the autumn. How about another batch of radishes?
Go to the garden centre and see what tickles your fancy in the way of seeds, because it would be so nice to have some winter and spring crops too. Think about it before the end of June.
Madeleine Cardozo

The unwanted growth that should be pinched out on a tomato plant.


June 15th 2011

Well it seems to be feast or famine with the rain, watering was not an issue last week! At least here in Wiltshire anyhow.
The peas, broad beans, lettuces are all ready for harvesting.
If you have too many lettuces – give some away, they won’t last.
Hopefully you have another lot coming up soon.
If you planted beetroot, you can use some of the smaller leaves in a salad. You may also need to thin out your beetroot, cooking the little golf ball sized ones, leaving space in the ground for the others to grow.
Keep the edges of your patches under control, the grass is still growing and before you know it, it has invaded your patch and is spreading weeds.
The fruits and berries have been unbelievable. There have been so many I haven’t known what to do with them. So pick them all before the birds and slugs beat you and put them into the deepfreeze waiting until you have time to either make a jam or incorporate them into a pudding. Remember that Strawberries come out like jelly if you freeze them.
Keep an eye on the slugs, greenfly and caterpillars. Pinch off any caterpillars, re-home the slugs, and I suppose spray the greenfly. Do it or you will lose your crops. Slugs come out at dusk, so if you are really keen take a torch.
Sow some more carrots for the winter and some more basil to see you through the summer.

A Small Fruit Cage from Haxnicks protecting Redcurrents
Small fruitcage protecting the redcurrants.

June 8th 2011

Glorious English Summer – well it is one minute and then not the next. One is never sure whether to water the garden or will the Good Lord do it for you? Just make sure if you can help it that it is neither feast nor famine. Lack of water means that your crops such as spinach and lettuce bolt: so water evenly.
Anyhow, Last week there was an awful lot of weeding to be done, if you don’t do it the weeds take all the energy from the soil and your peas turn out more like pinheads, and your carrots will never grow. Which reminds me thin your carrots, I know this seems harsh but it’s worth it. Thin them to 1 every 2” 5cm.

I use Haxnicks SpeedHoe for saving energy and time weeding, and Haxnicks Micromesh to protect Carrots from Carrot Fly (especially important when thinning out as the Carrot Fly will no doubt get a whiff off the seedlings that have been removed).

Cover any berries you have with netting, Bamboo Fruit Cages or rig up some Birdscare or old CD’s so that the birds don’t beat you to the crop, once they discover them there won’t be any left for you.
Pick and eat Rhubarb, soft fruits, lettuces, broad beans and asparagus, pick some of the small beetroot leaves for a salad.
Take the last of your plants to be planted outside and get them in the vegetable patch.
Sow another batch of lettuce (if you do this monthly you will get lettuces all year round), rocket and radishes.

 

Broad Beans ready for picking with birdscare to protect them from birds.