It has been a very busy time in the garden lately and with the sun at its hottest I have turned a rather fetching shade of burnished teak, or as my wife says old Ronseal. Anyway, let’s get right down to it and discuss the terrible things that have happened to my tomatoes and other exciting things in the Spanish garden.
30th July: Things I have been doing lately.
🍎 Disposing of my tortured tomatoes. Keen followers of this blog (and I know you are legion), will remember that I planted some tomatoes earlier this year. I am not really a fan of vegetable gardening (or is it a fruit) but I thought, why not, have fun, live a little – I am that sort of gardener. Anyway, I planted them carefully in the right soil, right feed and a correct watering pattern. They were set fair to provide a huge number of salads throughout the summer. That was the future I had mapped out for them. Unfortunately, that was not to be, I had to go to England for three weeks and left the young “healthy” tomatoes in the charge of my friend Karl and my wife (known in this blog as Cruella – I am thinking of changing this to Kruella for alliteration purposes).
Upon my return I rushed round to see my little friends (as I had taken to calling them) only to find something that looked as if it had been left in the care of Islington Social Services. In place of the healthy little tomatoes I had left, were cruelly tortured and twisted creatures barely surviving, (see photo below). Oh, I tried my best, over the next two weeks I staked them, netted them, fed the best food tomatoes could have, I even sat out in the evening and read them stories; when I had to go in late at night I would say little tomatoes jokes like “ketchup with you tomorrow”. But all to no avail. Eventually, I had to take them one by one to the compost heap. As I took each one away, I told the others they were going to a farm. At the end as I closed the lid of the compost bin on the last little tomato I was left with nothing but silence; it was a bit like that film “silence of the lambs” only with tomatoes of course.
I want no revenge for all of this, as a Christian I have forgiven Karl and Kruella, but if they were to be trolled on the internet it would be no more than they deserved, I have tweeted Donald.
🌳 Reshape your standards. Most people have standard plants growing in their garden or in pots here in Spain. If you have then now is the time to reshape them for a last burst of flower. If you leave this too late then not only will you miss out on late summer flowering, but also you are in danger of the plant being top heavy when strong winds start in September and October. Just take your garden shears and reshape your plant into a smaller lollipop ball. Try not to cut too far into the brown wood and you will be rewarded with lovely late flowering. See the photos below of one of my standards before and after trimming.
🍃 Yellowing leaves. This time of year you can notice some of your plants are getting yellowing leaves. The normal culprit for this is that you are overwatering and you just need to cut back for the plant to return to full colour. But occasionally the yellowing is caused by Chlorosis a problem with the plant not being able to access chlorophyll because of a lack of iron. I noticed that a cutting of Solanum that I was growing on was yellowing so I dosed it with some iron and from the photo below you can see that the couple of inches of top growth are green from the point it was given iron. You can buy iron in granular form from any good Bricolage. All you need to do is mix it with water till it becomes the colour of Rose’ wine – not red wine that is too strong – and then just water the base of your plant. Once should be enough, but with mature plants once a month may be needed.
🎉 Hey la my grapevines back. To paraphrase that great hit from the US girl group the Angels. My grapevine has come back after it endured a similar fate to my tomatoes at the hands of that evil duo Karl and Kruella ( I believe they are touring in Panto together this Christmas). Anyway, you will remember that I had to cut it fully back to the stem as they had deliberately allowed it to get mildew. In the accompanying photos a few blogs ago I said that with luck it should come back this year. Well, guess what it has and with new fruit. I can’t promise that we will be inundated with grapes this year, but it just shows you sometimes you just have to be brave, see photo below.