It certainly is a busy time in the garden at the moment, the days just don’t seem long enough to fit everything in. But if you relax for even a moment the pests and diseases will overwhelm you. On that cheerful note let’s get on with what we are supposed to be doing.
6th July: Things I have been doing lately.
💧 Dealing with leaks. I know it sounds boring but you really need to check your irrigation systems at this time of the year. Don’t assume that just because you have set up an irrigation system that it will remain water tight for ever. Gradually, over time all irrigation systems leak, and sometimes not in a very obvious way. But slow persistent leaks can cost you a lot of money here in Spain, not to mention the cost to the environment and the plants that don’t get watered.
Turn each of your irrigation systems on one at a time and check that all your watering nodules are working with the correct pressure. Once you have done this and are satisfied that everything is getting watered, then go round and check all the joints, corners and connecting pieces. A small but persistent leak will cost you a lot of money. The photo below shows one of my systems that was leaking before the water timer and was therefore running 24 hours a day.
🍇 Treating the grapes for mildew. Every year it is the same story; the grapevine along the front of my house gets mildew. No matter what I do the result is always the same. The main culprit here is the fact that the Vine is against a wall and therefore does not have enough air circulation. If you have a problem of mildew then at the first sign spray. If however, as in my case, the mildew is too bad, then just cut off all the leaves and side shoots and dispose of them in the rubbish. The resultant denuded plant will soon sprout a second flush of leaves, you will lose the grapes this year, but, at least it will look nice. The first photo below shows my poor mouldy grapes (no pun intended). Whilst the second shows my bare grapevine.
🐛 Beware the Palm Weevil. Now that Summer is at its height the Palm Weevil will be flying around waiting to destroy your Phoenix Palms. If your trees are small enough, then spray the crown with a proprietary Weevil killer. If not either call in a contractor or follow my home made method. I have drilled holes in all my Phoenix Palms and inserted a perforated tube halfway into the trunk. I have attached this to another tube that I wind around the tree. I pour a Weevil killing chemical into the tube which then acts as a reservoir and drips this into the tree there to be taken up to the fronds by the rising sap. This very effective method can be seen in the photos below. The first photo shows my tubing (or tree bondage). Whilst the second shows me pouring the chemical in – the old Fairy Liquid bottle is not product placement.
🦅 Netting your soft fruits. If you have not done so yet, now is the time to net your soft fruits such as Figs. Although the fruit is not yet ripe the birds will be watching it closely, and if you are not careful they will get there before you. So if you don’t want fat birds (again no pun intended) then get netting.
When you do net it is important that you use a small mesh net to stop birds being caught in the net. I assure you it can be quite distressing to come out in the morning and find half a dozen fat birds hanging upside down in your net (I have already apologised for this pun).
Because our main Fig tree is getting quite tall I invited our tall friends Helen and John for a barbecue with the ulterior motive of coaxing them into net duty. From the first photo below you can see that together with Cruella they provided a very able net crew.
Once the net is in place it is important that you tie the net down to the lower branches of the tree. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it stops the net blowing away in the night and you having to go from garden to garden asking your neighbours if they have seen your net. Secondly, it stops the cleverer and sneakier birds from getting underneath. The photo below shows John tying in the net supervised by Cruella.
Once we had finished things starting taking a strange turn. Cruella started chanting, and then turning to Helen they began a strange harvest dance that ended in them hugging and “gurning” at each other. You can see them mid dance in the first photo. The second photo shows the finale of the dance with John still trying to get me to come out from under the tree.