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Rooko's August Top 10 Tryouts & Tips

1. If your crops are being attacked by Aphids at the moment, try the following spray. Add a good squirt of washing up liquid to 2 liters of water and then add 3 or 4 drops of vegetable oil also. Spray your plants liberally not forgetting to spray underneath their leaves. More than 1 spraying may be required but this mixture works. I used it again this year on my Runner beans.

2. Despite varying expert opinions on watering veggies in hot weather the best times to do so are early morning or evenings, both for conservation of water and plant care. If temperatures are hot during the day water droplets on leaves can magnify the suns rays causing scorching. A good soaking of plants every few days during hot dry conditions is better than little and often but don't flood the plants. Try to water around plants and avoid splashing soil/compost onto the foliage.

3. One way of conserving water is to plant water loving plants in the same area of ground together.

4. During the past few weeks in UK thunder storms and heavy rain showers have been frequent. If they have stopped you from working outside in the garden or down the plot maybe some maintenance jobs to garden tools or machinery can be done inside or tidy the shed, catch up on the record keeping of whats been sown and grown so far, or make a note of water leaks in out buildings now before the Winter weather sets in.  

5. Epsom salt, (magnesium sulphate) has many uses in the garden or down the plot, aiding germination and chlorophyll production to mention just 2. Try adding 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water, use on your houseplants every 6 weeks. The same mix is good for ailing Tomatoes as required.

6. This is a link to the R.H.S. veg sowing/planting planner, (PDF) (could be useful). Veggie Planner

7. With the decline of  certain species of bee population and other insects, it may be worth learning how to carry out hand pollination of plants, now, before its too late!!

8. Next season it is one of my projects to sow and grow plenty of oriental greens. Some examples of these are: Komatsuna, Mibuna, Mizuna, Pak-choi. These veggies are suited to the UK climate (Summer and Autumn) and can also be overwintered with protection.

9. If you are juicing fruit or vegetables much of the left over pulp can be used in cooking other dishes if correctly prepared. Good on the compost heap if you don't have "cooking time".

1. Sow the following this month: Spring Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Kohl-rabi, Lettuce (Winter hardy), Spring Onions, Radish, Spinach and Turnips.
2. Plant out Savoys, Cauliflowers and Kale.
1.  Keep weeding & hoeing.
2. If you are storing potatoes for later use, ensure any damaged ones are used, not stored.
3. Pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes, leaving 4 or 5 trusses on each plant in general.
4. Turn your compost heap and spray with water if it is very dry.
5. Compost & manure heaps are atractive places for wasps to build their nests, so be wary when disturbing the heaps.


  1. Wasps were attracted to our cherries too so you also need yo take care when picking fruit!

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Thanks for the warning Sue, my fruit trees are planted on top of a drainage ditch bank, close to a hedgerow. Plenty of cover for wildlife in general. My cherries dropped off in June so no problem there but I will be wary when picking the other fruit.

  2. Re the Oriental veg: it's worth noting that they bolt very easily in our climate, and need regular watering. In the Far East they irrigate liberally, and usually twice a day.

    1. Thanks for the advice Mark. I've grown 2 varieties of Pak-choi for the past few years, so far with no problems. About 5 years ago I thinned some out and not having space to re-plant the thinnings I planted them underneath my Runner beans. As you know Runner beans like a good watering and I ended up with excellent Pak-choi even though I was advised not to grow them near beans.

  3. I keep trying oriental veg but it bolts so quickly. Definitely going to give the Epsom salts a try.

    1. Hi Elaine, sorry for the late reply, another manic week down the plots. The Epsom salts "remedy" is worth trying, I've used it on Tomatoes (yellowing) in the past to pep them up. Mark Willis mentioned bolting of oriental veg in his comment above, consistent watering should help. Having said that with this years hot weather some watering didn't seem to have much effect, Chard being one example of early bolting.


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