It seems someone was listening to me when I moaned about us getting wet weather when the rest of the land was basking in the hot sun. The last few days have been glorious. That gives me, like any gardener, good reason for another moan – it’s too hot!
Watering Plants Tips
Even the cool of the evening hasn’t been that cool, but you can get some jobs done. First and most critical job is to water plants that need it, especially any seedlings. I’ve got young leeks in troughs and they certainly need daily watering.
My potatoes in the raised beds are still passing my finger test. I plunge my finger in the ground and if it comes up dry, it needs watering. The main thing when watering is to water well. Little light sprinkles can actually do more harm than good, encouraging the plants to form shallow, surface roots. These are really vulnerable to the hoe as well as short droughts.
A really good soaking where the water goes well down below the surface encourages plants to go for deep roots. Invulnerable to the hoe and far more able to survive dry periods.
My favourite method of watering has to be the soaker hose. The water just trickles out and soaks down so really saturating the soil whereas fast sprinklers can pour off the dry surface. I’m not sure I can justify the expense here where this hot weather is so rare, but if we were in the south-east I’d say it’s a ‘must have’.
They’re made from recycled car tyres, so pretty green and ideal for running off low-pressure systems like water butts. You just lay them at the start of the season and store them in the shed over winter.
If your soil is really dry, try watering lightly and then come back half an hour later and properly water. You’ll find it soaks in then.
Slugs & Snails
The other big problem strikes in the dark, slugs and snails. They might have a brain the size of a pinhead, but they’re clever enough to hide from the sun in the day and munch away at night.
I noticed one of my leek troughs seemed a lot emptier than it was so it was a sprinkle with the advanced slug killer pellets. Incidentally, having pet cats around and respecting wild life, the reason I use these is that they are effective but safe and they’re organically approved.
We’ve a range of slug control products in the allotment shop, many based on copper barriers. It struck me that if you’ve got some old electric cable lying around it might be easy enough to create a slug barrier around pots by stripping the insulation off the copper wire and fixing it to the side or top of the pot.
Anyway, scattered a few pellets in the troughs and the next morning there were dead snails and slime trails but no fewer leeks. A small victory.
It’s a little hot for heavy work but I’m using the evening to get a herb bed started. More on that next time.