Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Some thoughts as autumn nears

Watering basil properly can prove to be a tricky balancing act

Watering basil properly can prove to be a tricky balancing act

First published in News

Where is the time going? Hard to believe that it’s nearly September.

I have sent off my secateurs to be cleaned and have the blades replaced, ready for the mass cut-back that will be soon approaching.

A couple of thoughts have arisen apropos of nothing much other than a few things that people have said in conversation.

Basil: if you are having difficulty keeping a basil plant going then you’re probably over or underwatering it.

I keep basil on the kitchen windowsill, sitting in a saucer, (the plant, not me), and I water it from underneath rather than on top and throw away the residue. I find that way it does not get soaked but takes up enough water to carry on producing those delicious leaves – and they do not like to dry out.

Next: is it too late to split bearded Iris? I recall I said I was going to do mine some time ago but I have to confess that I did not, as the soil was too dry. Since then it has rained sufficiently and with such ferocity as to be classed as a monsoon on occasions.

However, the fact we have had rain has meant I managed to get the Iris out without having to see an osteopath afterwards, and it has been split (using an old bread knife), several pieces replanted and the rest distributed to the lucky few!

You probably have a week or so to get yours done so it has time to root and settle in.

Trouser-turnups: ‘Pardon?’ I hear you say. I came home from a day at work, lugging the hosepipe around, and thought I would change from my work gear.

I had turned up my trousers to allow what little breeze there was that day to play around my ankles, and knowing that bits of compost and dead leaves fall into them, I shook said trousers out. Apart from general detritus as expected, an unexpected hitchhiker appeared – namely an adult vine weevil. I tell you this so you are aware vine weevils are no respecters of a person’s personage – nor their trousers!

On to the garden: if you grow summer-fruiting raspberries, you will need to cut out the fruited canes completely and tie the new growths horizontally onto wires for next year. Autumn-fruiting types may still be going so leave them alone – in fact, you don’t need to do anything to them until next spring when you cut the whole lot right down.

Continue to harvest runner and French beans – the more you pick the more you get. Pick tomatoes as they ripen – mine are going strong. The same cannot be said of my beetroot, which has been pathetic – probably my own fault as I didn’t water them enough when they needed it.

My elephant garlic has been lifted and sits in a mesh container awaiting consumption. The Swiss chard has struggled – another watering issue, I’m afraid, but if the weather is mild in autumn and winter, it will survive to fight another year. I don’t actually eat it, by the way – I like the big leaves and the colour of the stems! It looks great as an ornamental.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree