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2023-09 The Tatsfield Gardener in September – Jon Allbutt


The much reported ‘record’ high temperatures in July and August did not reflect our weather in Tatsfield. A lot of Tatsfield gardeners are asking me why their tomatoes are not ripening; my view is that with night time temperatures in single figures in August, disappointing levels of sunshine and only average daytime temperatures could be the answer! My greenhouse tomatoes are only now just starting to colour up, very late. In contrast however my jalapeno and sweet peppers are doing very well.

My challenge to grow that lovely vegetable Okra (Bindi on the menu in an Indian restaurant) continues! I have four plants in the greenhouse now nearly 3’ tall and in flower, but as yet I have nothing to pick. I was aiming to be able to put them in the Autumn Show on the 9th September but I am not hopeful now.

The arrival of the rain in July and August was perfectly timed for leafy green vegetables, salads and top fruit (apples, pears etc). Hedgerow fruit is looking very good, I will be making sloe gin this year!

Keeping the harvested rainwater clean in my two water butts has been a real challenge despite both being fitted with lids. I tried some non-chemical ‘bio’ tablets that claim they will kill the bugs and other nasties that make the water smell, but sadly they didn’t work. Using chemicals to clean rainwater is potentially dangerous to plants, especially if they are in containers, there is also the concern of contaminating fruit such as tomatoes, cucumbers etc. I will keep on looking for an answer and will update you next month.

This is a ‘wasp year’! I have four nests in the garden, all of them close to the house with a few stings to dogs and grandchildren. Wasps are gardeners friends as they have a big appetite for garden bugs, but unfortunately they are not very thoughtful where they build there nests. Please think carefully before deciding that the nest has to be killed; wasp killers are available in garden centre and hardware stores, we also have a local pest control contractor who advertises in the Parish Magazine.

My four small cuttings of Brugmansia (Angels Trumpets) that I bought in March are now 4’ tall and in flower, a lovely evening fragrance (they are pollinated by moths), watch out for my rooted cuttings on sale at next years THS Plant Sale!


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