Fruit and Vegetable Gardening in Mid Summer
The fruit garden
Most of the soft fruits are bearing produce now and will need attention after picking. Other fruit crops are nearing maturity.
Continue to watch for codling moth attack on apples, and for red spider mite on apples and pears, spraying as necessary. Treat small outbreaks of woolly aphid by brushing with malathion, pirimiphos-methyl or dimethoate. If the fruit has been well protected until now against apple and pear scab, later attacks will not mark it seriously, so further spraying for this disease is unnecessary.
Complete the thinning of apple and pear fruit as soon as natural drop is over, reducing the number of fruits to one from each cluster and with a final spacing of 10-15cm (4-6in). Support branches of trained apples, pears and other top fruit which are heavily laden, either by a stake for each branch or by ties from a centre post.
Summer prune cordon, espalier and dwarf pyramid apples and pears, dealing with the pear trees first because they are ready before the apples. Spread the job of pruning over the next eight weeks. While working on trained trees, check that the ties are not cutting into stems and branches.
As soon as picking of plums and damsons has been completed, prune the trees. Continue to tie in new growths which are being kept as replacements on wall-trained peaches and nectarines.
Pick raspberries as they ripen. Once all the fruit has been harvested, cut off the old canes close to the ground to leave room for the new growths which will carry next year’s crop. Tie new growths to the support wires.
With blackberries and loganberries, train in new shoots, keeping them separate from the fruiting shoots. Apply derris or malathion against raspberry beetle ten days after flowering.
Pick black currants as they mature. Prune the bushes after picking if necessary, leaving the robust new shoots intact. Watch out for reversion disease.
Pick gooseberries as they ripen, but look out for sawfly larvae, which defoliate the bushes.
Tidy strawberry beds after picking. Strip off and burn the old leaves. Remove runners — unless they are wanted to produce more plants — and apply fertilizer.
The Vegetable Garden
Complete the planting of leeks as soon as possible, if not already done. Also complete the planting of late Brussels sprouts, winter cabbages and broccoli by the end of the second week of mid summer.
Sow large winter radishes and, in mild areas, sow swedes during the first two weeks of mid summer. Late sowings of round-seeded peas and globe beetroot will mature in mid autumn. And there is still time to sow spinach beet.
Pinch out the side-shoots which grow from the leaf axils of cordon tomato plants. Do not pinch out side-shoots from bush tomatoes, but cover the ground beneath them with straw or black plastic to keep the fruits off the ground.
At the end of mid summer lift and store onions.