This August follows a July that’s had its fair share of heat as well as rain. Great news for crops as the combination of sun and humidity make ideal conditions for growing.
While the weather has been in our favour, we’ve visited the RHS summer shows Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park to see what ideas and displays our fellow growers and designers have come up with this year.
Our customers have been busy in their gardens too, and we are starting to see the fruits of their labour. Below we show Marshalls exclusive tomato ‘Montello’ coming into fruit for its first year. Looks like they are going to produce a handsome harvest. Watch this space!
Enjoy the fair weather and long-daylight hours!
Jobs to do
You can order now and get your plot prepared for growing bulb vegetables in autumn for a summer harvest next year.
Bulb crops require a sunny site and well-draining soil. Adding bulky compost before planting will improve the soil texture and open it more to water and oxygen, which the roots will really appreciate.
Get an all-in-one collection of prepared bulbs of Onion ’Radar’, Shallot ‘Yellow Moon’ and Garlic ‘Provence Wight’, plus fertiliser to get your crops off to a great start.
If you can, get out daily to harvest crops like courgettes and runner beans. Picking fruiting crops often offers a number of benefits. Firstly, you can get your hands on crops when they are at their freshest and most flavoursome. If you harvest around midday or in the afternoon, you can take advantage of sun-ripened flavour -which is simply exquisite.
By picking often, you’ll be allowing more air to circulate around the plant and prevent over-crowded leaves which can bring on diseases.
Picking often also encourages plants to flower more, giving you more and more harvests.
Make the most of vacant spaces on your plot, or interplant some of your rows with fast-growing crops that you can sow now and harvest while waiting for other crops to ripen. Fantastic examples of fast-growing crops include salad leaves like lettuce ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Tom Thumb’, or spinach ‘Mikado’ and mizuna ‘Kyoto’.
You may want to harvest these fast-growing crops when they have small leaves – and use in cooking as micro-leaves like some of the top chefs.
If larger leaves suit your tastes, you don’t have to wait that much longer and these taste great as garnishes and as fresh salads.
Be sure to keep these crops well-watered as they germinate and develop and guard against pest damage.
Now that some of your spring and summer crops have finished, it’s a great time to clear that part of the plot, dig over, add some bulky compost or manure, and level the soil ready to plant young brassica plugs for overwintering, for good, healthy crops in winter and spring, when greens are lean.
Plant young brassica plugs in soil that previously had legumes growing in it, if you can. Legumes fix nitrogen from the air into nitrates that crops can readily take up as nutrients. Brassicas will use this extra bank of nitrates, to grow strong and give you great harvests early in the year.
Some crops appreciate rainwater over tap water, especially fruit like blueberries and cranberries – rainwater has a more suitable level of acidity and temperature than tap water, which can be too cold and lime-rich.
Invest in a water butt to collect rainwater, and get into a habit of using this water on your fruit bushes. Your plants will be happier and you may be rewarded by increased harvests.
The shows season has been in full swing this summer with favourable weather and plentiful collections of colourful crops. Here are some of this year’s highlights.
Combine attractive bright flowers with vegetables, and add colour to your vegetable plot while attracting beneficial insects which will pollinate flowers for fruiting vegetables like tomatoes.
This variety of Amaranthus has three-tone leaves that are practically tropical-looking. Amaranthus produces tassels of seeds and is commercially used for quinoa.
The Mediterranean herbs in this vegetable garden grow above a layer of pebbles. The herbs will really appreciate the heat given off by the stones as they warm up in the summer sun.
Keep your vegetable-patch vibrant. Purple-leaf kale, purple tomatoes and orange ‘snack-size’ bell peppers come together in this colourful corner of the vegetable patch.
Marshalls launched bush tomato Montello in autumn last year and now our customers are seeing how much fruit this variety produces. We selected this variety on account of its masses of fruit produced on plants that need not be pinched out so lots of fruit for minimal care.
Marshalls customer Mark Willis shows us how quick-growing his Montello has grown. So free-flowering!
Steve Jones, our trialler, shows us how his crop has fared this year. Again, lots of fruit-set on his plants.
And a close-up of the flowers and fruits of the excellent tomatoes. Looking forward to the harvests!
New to Marshalls - Strawberry Scarlet Beauty
Packed with flavour and candy-like sweetness pick this beautiful perpetual strawberry with exceptional sweetness throughout the whole of summer. One plant alone produces at least one large punnet of fruit in one year! Simply plant now and next year you’ll have lots of jewel-like and really-sweet fruit over the whole of summer.
New to Marshalls - Framberry
A new variety of strawberry; this fantastic new fruit has a taller habit than regular strawberry plants and fruit that has a hint of raspberry with strawberry combined. So enjoy the sweetness of strawberries with the fragrance of raspberry in one fruit! Simply plant now and next year you’ll have fruit with the sweetness of strawberries yet the unique perfume of raspberry.