Posts Tagged ‘London Gardening blog’

Once your summer fruiting raspberry canes have finished fruiting this year, cut back only the old canes that the fruit was on to ground level, leaving the newer canes (maximum 6-8 new stems per plant) to grow for next year’s fruit. The fruited canes and new canes will look quite different: the old stems will be more brittle at the bottom and brown and woody, whereas the new canes will be more supple and a fresher green colour. Cut the old stems from the supports as you cut them away at the base and tie in the new stems in their place. If you have new canes that are growing further away from the supports, dig these out and plant elsewhere or give to friends!

If your raspberry canes haven’t fruited this year, pruning all of the summer fruiting canes either in summer after fruiting or in spring, is probably where your problem lies. You mustn’t prune the newer green canes that grew this year, as these will be the one year old stems that your raspberries will fruit on next year. Hope that makes sense. Don’t prune any canes that grew during this year (and this might be all of your canes if you cut back all of the stems in spring) and you’ll have fruit next year!

Autumn raspberries should be happily supplying fruit right now and up until October or November. These canes can be pruned in February.

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Over the last few years, we’ve planted annual native wildflower seed mixes in our tree pits, and although they’ve looked fantastic, by the end of July (and some years August), most of the blooms are over. This spring, during Sarah Raven’s ‘Bees, butterflies and blooms’ on  BBC TV, I was wowed by some of the wildflower mixes designed by Pictorial Meadows in Sheffield (and also by the lady herself, who produced 3 truly inspiring 1 hour programmes-clips still available on iPlayer). By adding some non-natives, mixes have been created so that flowers will continue to perform later in the year too. From nine tempting annual combinations, I plumped for ‘Candy Mix’, sowed seeds at the beginning of April and at the moment fairy toadflax (Linaria moroccana ‘Fairy Bouquet Mixed’) is looking delightful with clusters of delicate snapdragon-like flowers glowing like little jewels. You can probably also notice Californian poppies (Eschscholzia) just starting to join the colourful throng too.

I only planted up a small triangle of wildflowers (about 3 square metres in total), but the effect is mesmerizing and has the power to transport you to open fields where you can breathe in the fresh country air and relax your pace a little too (or is it just me?). It would be lovely to plant the whole corner plot with wildflowers, but then where would that leave my veg?

Decisions, decisions and now longing for acres (or at least one) of land to experiment in.

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A neighbour had some spare chitted ‘Charlotte’ seed potatoes when I got back from my Easter holiday, and inspired by Charles Dowding growing potatoes straight onto grass, I decided to give this a go. Now I do remember Charles Dowding saying that he weakened the grass first by covering it with cardboard for a few weeks (or was it months?) before starting, but the potatoes were ready to grow, so I thought I’d just give it a go. I simply put some compost on top a spare bit of grass, nestled the seed potatoes into the compost and then covered them with about another 6 inches worth.

About 7 weeks later, my spuds are coming on really well and  neighbour Henry helped me to earth the trio up, carefully covering most of the new foliage with extra compost.

This extra compost will prevent the tubers from going green by stopping them coming into contact with daylight, and will hopefully give me a better yield of potatoes too, especially as they’re only growing in the soil above grass level. I shouldn’t be surprised at how well the potatoes are growing though, as the roots should be able to grow down through the grass, but I am delighted to be able to grow potatoes without the back-breaking digging that I normally employ and can’t wait to see the results of my (minimal) labours in the next month or so.

August 13th

Exciting update on how many potatoes were harvested!

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