Tayport Community Garden in July – produce and pests

Can’t believe it’s been over a month already since our June update! And even harder to believe is that the summer is almost over already…

As Peter keeps telling us, despite appearances, July tends to be a relatively slow time at the garden. After the frantic preparation and planting of spring and early summer, there is time to sit back, relax and watch all your hard work come to fruition (and flowerition?).  But we still manage to keep ourselves busy! There is the never-ending weeding and the mowing, the watering and the feeding…and the pest control!

We cut off the shaws off the tatties in the large bed when they started showing first signs of blight so the tubers were not affected. Unfortunately, last Sunday we discovered that slugs got at them underground in the meantime. We were very sad about losing at least half of our exotic salad blues:( As part of the crop rotation we will avoid putting any tuber crops in that bed next year which should reduce the problem. Peter told us about the old method of slug control where perforated zink tubes, filled with bits of potato were buried in the ground to attract the slugs. The contents of the tubes was then removed and destroyed. We decided to try something similar using  old citrus net bags to construct the traps – if you collect any over the next month or so please drop them off at the garden.

In the polytunnel we a fighting a loosing battle with the red spider mite on some of the french beans, despite bringing in natural enemy reinforcements last month. Our next line of defence is soft soap spray – stand by for the results!

We have also had mildew on courgette and cucumber leaves, which has probably been made worse because of dryness. Next year the plan is to start damping down the polytunnel floor with water to stop its spores from spreading as much.

Beetroot and chard leaves have also been munched on by small moth caterpillars. On the positive side, we think we are winning the battle with the cabbage white caterpillars and there’s been no sign of carrot root fly on the carrots so far – a sign that our net barriers are working!

Sundays (and an odd Saturday) have been particularly busy with the harvest team working up a sweat in the mornings and the sales team at the Tayport Harbour produce stall 1-4pm every week. Our giant tattie bed is almost empty now and we started on the raised-bed tattie harvests already. Just this Monday we have dug up some amazing whoppers – this is what happens to your dainty International Kidneys/Jersey Royals if you leave them in the ground over summer! We have had plenty of kale, beetroot, french and runner beans, courgettes, cucumbers, spring onions, spinach, rocket, mizuna, carrots, and onions….There some impressive chilli plants for sale too.

Sweet pea flower posies have been selling like hot cakes and there is still plenty where they came from, plus the more exotic bunches from the annual cut flower bed (these contain chrysanthemums tricolour, cornflowers, cosmos, nigella, larkspur, clary sage, aster duchess mix and others).

We know everyone is waiting for the tomatoes and they are coming, we promise! We’ve had several ripen last week and the rest should be on the way soon. The lower leaves have been stripped to let in the sun and give them some colour. Good feed with the organic liquid seaweed fertiliser should help too! It’s pure magic…it makes for a great leaf feed and provides micronutrients. The corn looks to be hot on their heels too.

We’ve had our first ‘weigh in’ for the year and it looks like we will beat our own harvest records from last year, hands down! Frank totalled all the numbers from the Garden and we stand at 302kg of food in 3 months between 1st May and 30th of July – which is pretty much what we grew over the whole season in 2016. So glad to see that carbon footprint shrinking away – just to think how much we’ve reduced our carbon emissions by growing all this food locally and eating it fresh! Take that, climate change!

We should not forget the great progress was made on the watering system last month too – the battery-powered pump is now connected to the soaker hoses in the polytunnel and set up on a timer. There is still some tweaking to do but otherwise an impressive job – thank you Dave and Will!

Fruit tree walk fruit bushes have now finished for the season – we hope you had a taste of some of the lovely berries we’ve had there this year. The apple trees need a bit of a summer prune though and Peter will be running a brief workshop this Sunday, 27th of August 2 – 3pm if you’d like to pick up some mean orchard keeping skills. We’re gathering at the playpark at the top of Garvie Brae/Scotscraig Drive.

PLANT Science and Earth Explorers sessions have now wrapped up for the summer so it will be a bit quieter for a while, but we can’t wait for the Tayport Primary and the Brownies to get back into the Garden in September. And of course we looking forward to the annual apple extravaganza that is our Fruit Fest on October 14th. We will be looking for apple picking and juicing volunteers soon so keep an eye out for announcements.

Thank you all for all your wonderful conrtibutions and see you around next month!

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