Dobies July 2019 newsletter

July Newsletter

Welcome to our July Newsletter

Well, what happened to flaming June? Despite the past few days, it’s been a dreadful June for many of us although it did make a bit more effort towards the end. Not just wet but also chilly and our poor plants have been sitting with damp cold bottoms and no motivation to grow. The one positive being that we haven’t needed to spend much time watering. We can only hope for better things in July, so keep those fingers and toes tightly crossed.

July is when we (hopefully) get to eat the edibles that we’ve grown and to fill our vases with colourful blooms. True satisfaction and pleasure can be gained from a delicious meal of homegrown fruit and veg eaten outside in a well looked after garden with a vase of sweet smelling, freshly picked annuals adorning the table.

Jobs for July

  • Give sweetcorn a gentle shake to help spread the pollen
  • Remove duckweed from ponds and keep the water level topped up. It’s surprising how much water will evaporate during a sunny spell
  • Tie in climbers and stake dahlias and other tall plants to prevent them flopping
  • Maintain a consistent watering and feeding regime, remembering that different varieties of plants will have different needs and that plants growing in pots will need a little extra
  • Keep up the fight against slugs, snails and other pests. Encourage birds and other wildlife into the garden and they’ll lend their support
  • It can get very hot in the greenhouse, so leave the door and vents open and consider applying shading paint or similar. Damping down the floor with a hose will help to reduce the temperature and increase humidity
  • Pick cucumbers as soon as they’ve reached the right size for the variety and are still nice and firm. A slice of cucumber in a G&T makes a lovely change to the traditional lemon
  • Keep picking courgettes to encourage the plant to keep producing. Share with friends and neighbours until they beg you to stop!
  • Carefully lift and then dry and store your garlic. If you fancy plaiting them, leave the stalks until they are dry but not brittle
  • Sorry, but early this month you will need to stop harvesting rhubarb. Apply a layer of mulch or compost and leave the crowns to recover ready for next year

Print off this month's garden job list

Keep Sowing!

As you harvest your new potatoes, peas, garlic and beans you will be creating space for new crops. Seeds to sow in July include:

Dobies Swiss Chard seeds

From Plot to Plate

Babies are apparently left under gooseberry bushes, so watch out for one when you go to pick your crop this month. Also remember to wear gloves, as they can be pretty spikey – the gooseberry plants, not the babies.

Low maintenance and long-lived, it is strange that gooseberries aren’t more popular. They are hardy, fairly disease resistant and will grow happily in any soil. And of course, the real joy is gained from the gorgeously sweet/sour fruits that you will be picking and eating this month. Providing that the blackbirds don’t get there first!

Dobies gooseberry plant bush Hinnonmaki Green

To keep your gooseberry plants happy, plant them in a sunny, well-drained spot. They will welcome a feed in spring and an application of mulch. Apart from that, they will just need a drink in dry weather, a tidy up in late July/early August and a prune when dormant.

Traditional gooseberry plants were fairly sprawling and space hungry, which may account for their lapse in popularity, but modern varieties can be trained as standards or cordons. These space-saving growing methods mean that gooseberry plants can have a place in most gardens.

Gooseberry fool, gooseberry crumble and gooseberry pie are oldies but goodies. However, gooseberries can also be enjoyed in many other ways. Focaccia bread studded with gooseberries prior to baking makes a wonderful sweetish partner to strong cheese. The sweet red desert varieties are lovely eaten raw, as you would grapes.

The flavours of elderflower and gooseberry work amazingly well together. So, when you are cooking with gooseberries, splash some of that fabulous homemade elderflower cordial in and it will make the dish even tastier.

Gooseberries work well with:

Lemon             Blueberry        Cream             Yoghurt           Cinnamon        Ginger

Saffron            Honey              Mackerel         Almonds          Hazelnuts        Elderflower

Tomato Tips

Now is a good time to apply some fresh compost to any pots containing tomato plants. This will add much-needed nutrients and encourage new roots. To get the most from your plants, do keep your watering consistent and feed weekly with high potash fertiliser. Keep removing side-shoots from cordon tomatoes. Most importantly, pick and enjoy!

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”
– Lewis Grizzard

Dobies F1 Summerlast tomato plants

Offer of the Month

F1 Summerlast: 3 x 2-litre potted plants for £15!
Or 1 x 2-litre potted plant for £7.99

A new blight-resistant tomato that everyone can grow!

  • Perfectly sized for patios
  • Crops throughout the summer and into autumn
  • Produces a good crop of large cherry-sized fruit
  • Sweet fruits – great to snack on or for salads
  • Stay green trait, so their leaves won’t turn yellow

Buy your F1 Summerlast plants while stocks last!

Wonderful Worms

Understandably, there is a great interest in bees and other insects right now, with huge concern about the drastic reduction in insect life. Who remembers having to regularly clear the car windscreen of splattered insects? An unpleasant task that is now rarely (if ever) required.

Whilst doing what we can to encourage and help insects in our gardens, let’s not forget the other wildlife. Birds, frogs, toads and hedgehogs are all the gardener’s friend, as is the much over-looked worm.

earthworm on soil

There are several thousand different kinds of worm but those we see most often in our gardens are segmented earthworms. The richer your soil is in organic matter, the more worms you will have and they will tunnel hard, mixing and improving the soil whilst munching on live and decaying vegetation and turning it into hummus.

Earthworm Facts:

  • There are many different species of earthworms and they range in size from 10mm to 3m!
  • Worms create their tunnels by taking some of the soil into their bodies, pushing  through and then secreting that soil as worm casts on the surface
  • To help them move easily through their soil tunnels, worms secrete a slime and this slime contains and releases useful nitrogen
  • Being an underground creature, worms like the dark. And although they don’t have eyes, worms are sensitive to light – if they cannot escape it, bright light will paralyse them
  • If their skin dries out, worms will die, so they prefer damp soil. However, if the soil becomes waterlogged worms will drown. This is why, when it rains heavily, they push up to the surface. This is also why birds peck and stamp at the soil surface, to simulate rain – the worms pop up and are promptly eaten!
  • Worms’ constant tunnelling not only mixes the soil but also increases the amount of air and water in the soil, thus improving it
  • Most earthworms in our gardens live for 2 to 4 years but, under controlled conditions, they can live as long as 8 years
  • Earthworms exist on every continent apart from Antarctica

How About a Wormery?

If you are keen to compost your kitchen waste, how about investing in a wormery? They are environmentally friendly and a great way to produce your own fertiliser and liquid feed. For your wormery, you’ll need brandling or red worms (not earthworms). These little chaps are brilliant at quickly turning green matter into compost and so are perfect for a worm city.

June Newsletter

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”

~James Dent

After a seemingly endless winter and disappointingly cold spring, summer has finally arrived! Cold nights and cheeky late frosts have ended, and we can throw open doors and windows, bringing the outside in. Hopefully.

Now is the time to plant out summer bedding, to keep lawns looking tidy and to deadhead bedding and perennial plants, thus keeping them flowering. And the really good news is that, if you haven’t done so already, you can now cut back those straggly and yellowing daffodil leaves without doing any harm to next year’s display!

 

Sedum Atlantis – Crowned by Chelsea

We are delighted to announce that Sedum Atlantis has been crowned as the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019 Winner!

David and Suttons' award-winning Sedum Atlantis at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Sedum Atlantis is a plant for our times…drought tolerant, suitable for small spaces and attractive to bees. Its striking foliage forms rosettes of serrated green leaves with thick, creamy margins and tips that turn a pink blush in the autumn. The pink-tinged flower buds open to bee magnet yellow flowers.

The new leaves emerge in a beautiful creamy white, before developing into an attractive green with striking white borders and gradually forming a half metre wide cushion of drought-resistant leaves. To top it off, this plant then covers itself with a foam of bee and butterfly magnet yellow flowers from July through to September. Sedum Atlantis is a dramatic and versatile garden plant.

Versatile and happy in a hanging basket, window box, pot, rockery or border, this winning plant is available to order now.

 

dobies gardening jobs to do for april
  • Continue to remove the side shoots from cordon tomato plants
  • Harden off any indoor grown plants ready for planting out in prepared soil. Those that have already been sitting in a cold frame will be ready to go
  • Give broad bean plants support and check for signs of black-fly. Remove any growing tips where you find evidence of this pesky pest
  • Grass cuttings can be spread thickly on veg beds after watering to act as a mulch
  • New potatoes will be ready for lifting. They don’t store as well as main-crop varieties, so lift just enough for a meal at a time. Now, where did I plant that mint?
  • Summer bedding can be planted out, pots can be filled and hanging baskets placed in position
  • Cut back yellowed foliage from spring bulbs but mark where they are so you don’t dig them up by mistake
  • I know, I know, we haven’t had summer yet however it really is time to order your Dobies Autumn and Winter Veg Plants

 

What To Sow Now

Seeds to sow June 2019 Dobies Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sowing little and often is the key to ensuring a continual supply of veg and of avoiding a glut. So instead of sowing a whole packet spread it out over a few weeks. The following seeds can all be sown this month:

 

The first beetroot will be ready to harvest this month. When small and young the globes are so much tastier than the big old woody ones that are only good for pickling.

Dating back to the Romans, beetroot has contributed much to culinary history, not least of which is the fact that it brought us sugar. Today we tend to link beetroot to pink-stained fingers and an earthy flavour, but it can also help us to run faster! Back in 2016, Exeter University conducted research which proved that drinking a glass of beetroot juice before running 20 metres improved an athlete’s time by 2 per cent! Just hope they didn’t spill any on their nice clean running vests.

Only eating beetroot in its pickled form is almost a crime, as it’s delicious flavour can be enjoyed in so many other ways:

  • Grate raw beetroot and combine it with grated raw carrot and top with a citrus dressing for a zingy salad
  • Peel, brush with olive oil and roast either whole or in chunks to serve with puy lentils and halloumi for a gutsy dish
  • Boil and mix with chocolate, flour, eggs, sugar, etc to make a deliciously moist chocolate cake
  • Even the leaves are tasty when picked small and young, and added to a mixed leaf salad

Beetroot works well with:

Carrot                   Apple                    Ginger                  Chocolate                  Olive oil

Lentils                   Feta                       Halloumi               Walnut                      Yoghurt

 

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

On a recent edition of Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time, the panel was asked which of their garden tools they would save from a shed fire. The hoe came out a clear winner which really is no surprise. A sharp hoe, wielded with care, can rapidly smarten up any vegetable garden whilst saving knees and backs. Choose a dry, sunny day and leave the weed casualties to dry out before raking them up and adding them to the compost heap.

 

Greenhouse Growing

At this time of year your greenhouse will live up to its “hot house” name and doors and windows need to be kept open to encourage whatever airflow exists. Shade can be created by applying white shade paint direct to the glass (it easily washes off come autumn) or by fixing newspaper, fleece or similar to the glass with clips. If any plants do show signs of heat stress, then drape some fleece over them until they recover.

Hosing down the greenhouse path will help to raise humidity levels.

The temptation is to cram in as many heat-loving veggie plants as possible but remember, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, chillies, etc. all need room to breathe and to expand, so no touching!

Maintain a consistent watering and feeding regime, taking into account that some plants will need more than others. And always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dilution.

 

Offer of the Month

To celebrate another wonderful year at the Chelsea Flower show, we are delighted to offer our Chelsea Favourites Collection at a very special price.

Add a touch of Chelsea to your outside space with our selection of classic perennials inspired by the show. This selection of 6 perennial varieties (3 of each) will bring colour and height to your borders and containers, not only this year but next year as well.

Varieties include Coreopsis Sunkiss, Rudbeckia Goldsturm, Geum Mrs Bradshaw, Lupin Russell Hybrid, Verbena Bonariensis and Heuchera Palace Purple, which are all familiar sights in the gardens of Chelsea, making them key to creating a look inspired by the show.

Chelsea Favourites Collection | WAS £51 – NOW £36!

Add some flavour to your garden with our Chelsea edibles

With an emphasis on wellbeing, this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show is highlighting the benefits of growing for goodness and the ways our gardens can benefit mind, body and soul. There’s never been a better time to get your garden working hard to fill those dinner plates, and we love the satisfaction of stepping outside to harvest the fruits (or veg!) of our labour.

The humble homegrown veg has appeared in several of the show’s gardens and displays so far this week, inspiring gardeners of all ages to grow their own goodness. Tom Dixon and IKEA have teamed up to bring grow-your-own to the heart of city living in their ‘Gardening Will Save the World Garden’.

This attention-grabbing garden explores traditional methods of planting, alongside more futuristic growing systems. We love the displays of crates planted full of edible plants, grown to maximise yield from a small space. Intent on inspiring a new generation of gardeners to give growing their own a go, this urban garden highlights that when it comes to growing, it’s not about plot size.

We’re proud to see our very Lettuce Drunken Woman (from Rob Smiths’ range of Heritage Veg) and the beautiful Chard Bright Lights featured at the show too, and we’re passionate about championing the advantages of an edible garden that’s literally good enough to eat!

We’ve put together two veg collections to help fill your veg patch (or get you started), so you can save on a selection of our best-loved veg.  Choose from 3 potted plants for only £6 or save on brassica super plugs at just £6 per pack. Whichever you go for, Chelsea’s a great excuse to save on some of our most popular veg plants and plugs!

How Chelsea’s creating a buzz about bees

We were excited enough about Chelsea already, but when we saw the beautiful sculpture championing bees designed by McQueens Flowers, we were thrilled. We’ve been working hard to introduce ranges and collections that are perfect for attracting pollinators to our gardens, so we’re so pleased to see the experience created from bee-friendly flowers called Per Oculus Apum (Through the Eyes of Bees).

To celebrate Chelsea’s nod to our pollinating friends, our Bee-rilliant Collection combines 18 beautiful potted plants perfect for welcoming busy bees to your outside space. We’ve made it easier than ever to make your garden a buzzing bee haven with a mixture of varieties to fill your beds and borders with colour and fragrance.

Over at Chelsea, McQueens’ sculpture inspires visitors to experience the world through the eyes of bees, and it’s made from bee-friendly varieties native to the UK. It’s well worth going to take a look if you’re visiting RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, and you’ll be able to create your own bee-friendly displays with our fabulous Bee-rilliant collection.

Image  courtesy of RH / Neil Hepworth

The Bee-rilliant Collection includes 18 x 9cm potted plants for just £60. The collection includes 3 each of the following varieties: Lavender Hidcote, Allium Millenium, Coreopsis Sunkiss, Leucanthemum Dwarf Snow Lady, Stokesia Blue Star and Erigeron Sea of Blossom. Click here to order yours. 

It's Chelsea Chop Time

The Chelsea Chop Explained

Mid to late May is the perfect time of year to treat your garden to a traditional Chelsea Chop, and the Dobies gardeners have been showing us how it’s done up at our Devon growing fields. The Chelsea Chop is a clever trick used by gardeners at around the same time as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show each year, which results in extended flowering periods for many perennials.

Carrying out the Chelsea Chop

The Chelsea Chop can be used on a wide range of perennials, and the closer to flowering you do your chop, the longer you’ll delay those blooms. Using shears or secateurs, chop back your perennial plant to up to a third. If you complete the Chelsea Chop on some of your garden’s perennials, you’ll delay their flowering period to begin as the first ones to bloom begin to finish – embracing successional flowering in your outside space.

If you have more than one clump of the same variety, why not chop back some and leave others to lengthen the plant’s overall flowering period? If you’re keen to extend the flowering season rather than to delay it, just cut half the front stems back and leave the rest.

Herbaceous perennials can be trimmed down by half as much with fantastic results. For one thing, your plants will look more compact, which means they’ll require less staking and you’ll enjoy lots of smaller, but equally beautiful, flowers.

Chelsea chop advice Dobies Spear & Jackson

Perfect your Chelsea Chop with 15% off Spear & Jackson’s Kew Gardens Collection. Click here to shop the range.