The mid-summer garden Part 2

Pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers
  • Our pumpkins (buttercup and butternut) are forming nicely, but we’ll wait till their foliage dies down a bit before harvesting, since they taste sweeter at this stage.
  • Powdery mildew is starting to appear on the leaves due to the humidity and it can affect crop yield.
  • We suggest spraying liquid seaweed fertiliser on the plants every fortnight. We’ll also spray it on our zucchini and cucumber plants. Ocean Organics make a good product that you can attach to your hose. Liquid seaweed alkalanises the leaves which prevents more powdery mildew from growing, and it feeds the plants at the same time, making them stronger.
  • While pumpkins are fine left to ramble and mature, you need to pick zucchini and cucumbers almost every day. If you leave zucchini and cucumbers to grow too big, they’ll think their growing season has come to an end, set seed and stop producing.
  • Keep delateralling your tomatoes as the plants grow to maintain good air flow and prevent disease. Always choose a day when the sky is blue and there’s a breeze. Delateralling on a humid day can open plants up to infection.
  • Tomato plants need a good feed at this stage of growth. First though, water the ground well, so the fertiliser soaks into the ground and doesn’t run off.
  • We’re using Aquaticus’s Organic Garden Booster which is a fish and seaweed product. Dilute 1 part of the product to 100 parts of water. The oiliness of this product, due to the fish component, deters aphids and green shield beetles which can affect tomato plants at this time of the year. Water the whole plant, including leaves and fruit, in the evening if the day is sunny and warm. If overcast, you can water during the day.
  • Our sweetcorn has had a bit of rough time with the pukekos and rabbits, but it’s starting to pull away now. Hopefully yours will be ready to eat.
  • Corn is a gross feeder and we’ll apply the Organic Garden Booster to our corn at 2 or 3 times the concentration of what we put on our tomatoes. An application of chicken poo or sheep pellets will do the job just as well. Mulching and regular watering will improve growth too.
  • Our Scarlet Runner beans are doing well and we put another crop of Shiny Fardenosa runners in about 3 weeks ago. The key to a good bean crop is constant moisture in the soil which is why a dripper hose works well for beans.
  • Bumblebees are the secret to good bean pollination. Regular bees and wasps can’t get into the deep flowers and they pinch the flowers off which then fall to the ground.
  • If you want to put another crop of beans in now, grow dwarf varieties only. It’s too late in the season to put climbing or runner beans in.
Pears and plums
  • If your fruit trees are young and heavily laden, remove around half of that fruit. Even though it might seem a waste, it does give the tree a chance to grow into a healthy specimen with a good strong shape. The pear trees Rob thins are ‘Princess’ and ‘Doyenne du Comice’.
  • Make sure you remove any rootstock that emerges where the tree has been grafted. Usually the rootstock is more vigorous than the actual tree so it’s important to cut it off. Always dip secateurs into methylated spirits to sterilise them before pruning every tree.
  • Even if your fruit trees are mature like Rob’s plum tree, it’s still important to thin. If a tree crops too heavily, it may set it off into a biennial bearing rhythm which means you get one bumper year, followed by a poor year. Thinning also means the fruit that remains sizes up better.
  • Our strawberry crop is coming to an end. Make sure you leave the runners growing on the plants. Soon we can cut them off to grow new plants for next year, but leave them for now.


Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
Production equipment and post-production services provided by The Black Forest Breathes