We've started taking down a few old and scruffy conifers at the Quickcrop estate to make room for some beech trees and for the valuable winter firewood they provide. That's Clive in the picture who's done all the work so far, I'm listening to the roar of the saw jealously from the computer keyboard tapping in the office. Cutting wood is a great job, the whole process from felling the tree to cutting rings, splitting into logs and finally storing away for the winter fire brings immense satisfaction.I am reading 'Wild Wood' by Roger Deaken which refers to a trip through the Ukaraine where the squat timber houses have balconies all the way around for drying timber. The logs stacked against the four walls not only give their heat when burnt on the fire but also provide insulation from the thickness of the log pile. A simple, practical and beautiful solution. By the way I'd highly recommend the book which is a series of the authors experiences in the great outdoors all connected by our relationship with wood. Did you know Stonehenge was originally built from timber? This is a really interesting and beautifully written book, you'll be looking at trees in a whole new light.
So what are we doing this August? There's no point in me telling you what a wet year it's been, I think we all know that. I suppose it's not all bad, the brassicas love it for example and if you can keep on top of the slugs you should get good harvest. We have had a great crop from Calabrese "Green Magic' which we've found excellent for the number and quality of secondary side shoots it produces after the initial harvest of the main head.
Autumn Winter Seedlings Just because we're moving into the Autumn doesn't mean we have to give up on new plants in the garden. We can continue sowing salads and will also benefit from a fast growing crop like turnip 'Tokyo cross' or radish 'Short Top Forcing'.
There are a huge range of oriental salads which grow much better in the cooler weather of the Autumn than they do in the summer. Choose from mild Mizuna, tasty rocket or spicy mustard red and green frills. You can also still grow the full range of lettuce varieties so don't let go of your salad days just yet!
We have already planted a broad range of seedlings which will be ready to ship out at the end of August. If you have a tunnel or greenhouse there is still plenty of crops you can grow like beetroot, chard, turnip, endive, spring cabbage and many more.
Green Manures Now is the time to protect any bare soil (especially in a wet Autumn) from valuable nutrients being leached out by the rain. We recommend sowing a green manure crop as not only does it protect the soil it also stores nutrients and adds organic bulk which can be dug back into the soil later on. Green manures like field beans and crimson clover also fix and store nitrogen from the air which is released into the soil when the plant is dug in. You can read our green manure article including recommended varieties here.
Potato Blight If blight did strike your potatoes it may not be too late. Cut all the foliage off the crops right down to ground level and remove from the vegetable garden. Burning is most successful but if this isn't possible dispose as far away from the garden as you can. When harvesting check your potatoes for any sign of blight on the tubers. Affected potatoes will have dry, sunken dark brown spots on the skin. The flesh of a blighted potato will have a purplish colour when cut. Never store a blight affected potato with healthy ones or the disease will spread to the other tubers.
Last of the 2m Vegtrugs We also have the last 20 two metre Vegtrug raised beds in stock. The manufacturer is reducing the size of the large trug to 1.8m but the price remains the same! Anyway, if you'd like a 2m trug for the same price we still have some stock available. For customers who have the 2 metre unit we will continue to carry the poly and mesh covers with frame if you wish to upgrade your bed for Autumn growing.
As always we're available for any help and advice you might need in the garden. We get more and more people ringing us for advice and we're always delighted to share the knowledge we have accumulated over the years. Don't feel you have to but buy anything, just give us a call.
So, enjoy the rest the season, it's not over yet!
Andrew & Niall Quickcrop.ie & Quickcrop.co.uk