Fruit and Vegetable Gardening In Late Summer
The fruit garden
Early top fruit varieties are beginning to ripen in late summer, and most soft fruits come to an end. Protect ripening fruit from birds by netting the trees, and lure wasps away from the trees with traps consisting of a spoonful of jam mixed with water in a jam jar. Protect late-fruiting raspberries from attack by birds by covering the canes with fine-mesh netting.
Watch early-maturing apples and pears carefully and pick them while slightly under-ripe — they retain their best flavour for only a short period. Test fruit for near-ripeness by lifting and twisting gently. When it is ready it parts easily from the spur.
In the middle of late summer, spray sweet and sour/acid cherries with a copper fungicide to control bacterial canker.
When the fruit from wall-trained peaches, nectarines and sour/acid cherries has been picked, prune the shoots that have borne fruit, leaving the current season’s growth that has been selected to replace them. Re-tie new shoots where necessary to make the best use of space and to encourage the growth to ripen.
Pick blackberries, loganberries and hybrid berries when fully ripe. Continue to train new shoots. When harvesting has finished, cut out all shoots that have fruited.
With black currant bushes, try to keep the leaves as healthy as possible so that they continue to feed the present season’s shoots as long as possible. Control leaf spot disease, which is the most likely to cause premature leaf fall, and also rust disease, by spraying with mancozeb, benomyl or carbendazim after fruit picking is over.
The vegetable garden
At the beginning of late summer sow seeds of spring cabbage, first dressing the drills with calomel powder as a precaution against club root. Make the seedbed in ground that has not been manured since the previous autumn.
Until the middle of late summer, sow batches of ‘All The Year Round’ lettuces for cutting in early winter.
Pick cobs of sweet corn when the tassels on the ends have withered and the seeds are firm but exude `milk’ when pressed with your thumb nail. Harvest the cobs by breaking them off the stems.
Start to harvest self-blanching celery as soon as there are sizeable plants. The crop should be cleared before the first hard frost.
Herbs Every four years chives should be divided in late summer. Lift the clumps and cut them into segments with a sharp knife, taking care that each segment retains a number of roots. Replant the clumps 30cm (1lft) apart.
Take cuttings of bay, hyssop, lavender, mint, rosemary, rue and sage, inserting them in well-drained soil in open ground. For the first two weeks, protect the cuttings from sun and winds with a cloche, and water in the evenings until the roots have formed. Alternatively, put the cuttings in pots filled with sand and place in a cold frame.
Collect and dry the seeds of dill and fennel. Cut and prepare foliage herbs for drying. Store dried herbs before they have had time to re-absorb moisture from the air. Rub them between your hands, discarding stems and other chaff, and store in tightly sealed jars or plastic bags.