July Gardening with Klaus Laitenberger

Added: 04/07/16 : 13:36:56

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

Just in case we do get a dry summer (maybe a repeat from our pre-summer experiences in May) you might have to water your plants outdoors.  If you water your plants, give them a thorough soaking.  Watering little and often is a disaster as it brings the plant roots up instead of encouraging them to go down. In all the years that I have lived in Ireland I only had to water my outdoor vegetables on a couple of occasions.  Usually when plants have just germinated and following by dry weather and just after transplanting.  Hoeing in the evening will also help with water retention as it opens up the earth for the night-time dew to enter into the soil.  Hoeing in the morning does the opposite – it dries out the soil as it opens it up for the morning dew to leave the soil.  You sometimes see this early in the morning.
 Keep your beds well hoed and weeded.  Thin out all direct sown vegetables to the recommended spacing even if you have to pull out ten seedlings while leaving just one. As soon as your early potatoes are harvested you may consider sowing a green manure crop into its place to stop nutrients from leaching out.  I think phacelia is the most suited crop for this time.   Buckwheat is also a good choice.


In July there is plenty to harvest from your garden and hopefully you are at home to enjoy the feast.  You will have broad beans, dwarf French beans, runner beans, cabbage, courgettes, kohlrabi, lettuce, scallions, peas, early potatoes, radish, spinach, chard and turnips.


 I’m specially looking forward to my first harvest of tomatoes.  I was given some really exciting variety from a friend in Italy (eg Apricot Salex, Frangolina, Yellow Egg etc) as well as my mother’s own variety that  she has grown for the last 20 years.  She started off with an F1 Hybrid of which she couldn’t remember the name and saved seeds from it every year.  So it’s really a new variety and I named it “Iris” after her.  I hope it does as well here in Ireland as it does with her.


You can still sow lettuce, scallions, kohlrabi, turnip, radish, Chinese cabbage and Florence fennel.  It’s also a good time to start sowing all the oriental salads again as they are now less prone to bolting.

Pest watch

Aphids tend to be a problem in mid-summer especially in more sheltered gardens.  Watch out for ladybirds or hoverflies as they may already control them.  If aphids are a big problem they can be sprayed with pyrethrum or soft soap, but both sprays will also harm ladybirds.  Aphids can also be washed off plants with a strong jet of water.  Keep checking your brassicas for butterfly eggs or caterpillars.
Book Review:
Know and Grow Vegetables
This is great news – the most informative book on vegetable growing is being re-published as an e-book.  Even if it’s not an organic book – I probably learnt most of what I know from this one book.  Even now I sometimes refer to it again.  It’s in tatters though with all the pages being loose and having to be re-organised.  The book was edited by JK Bleasdale, PJ Salter and others. 
This book brought some science into the vegetable growing world which was steeped in myths.
One example is the poor leek!  Generations of gardeners had routinely cut half of a leek’s roots and trimmed the leaves back by half before transplanting.  When tried out and analysed it was found that cutting the leaves back had no effect on the plant positively or negatively.  However, cutting back the leek roots seriously affected the establishment of the transplant.
The sad thing is that still so many gardeners are still doing it. The original book was written 35 years ago and is probably still more up to date compared to the many table-top books that repeat each other.
Joy Larkcom has also been influenced by this book and in one of her reviews for the book she found the following facts and the first one of them shocks me as I may have been perpetuating a myth as well and I’ll have to trial it next year.
-          “There is no evidence that organic manures cause carrot and parsnip roots to fork, in fact they probably improve growth.”
-          “Male flowers appear before female on courgettes because they respond differently to increasing day length”
-          “Dock roots won’t regenerate if you cut off the top four inches.”
If you get it, please ignore the sections on fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. 
“It really is a goldmine for anyone seriously interested in understanding the fundamentals of vegetable growing and getting optimum results from their own plots” Joy Larkcom.  
Talks and Videos
If you have a few minutes spare have a look at a couple of presentations:
The first one is about ‘SOIL – NOT DIRT’ by Elaine Ingham – a renowned soil scientist who explores the life in the soil

The second one I may have written about already but even so – well worth having a look.  It’s called “The Secret of El Dorado”.  The Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana discovered w Golden City on the Amazon River in 1541 with about 8 million people living in the area in a thriving community.  When later explorers tried to find the site they had no luck and Francisco was declared a liar for many centuries until some scientists only recently discovered “Terra Prata”.
I won’t give away any more.  This discovery has the potential for a more sustainable land use even 480 years later.
The link to the film is:
Saturday 23rd July:
Course in Springmount Garden Centre, near Gorey, Co. Wexford
Title: Organic Vegetable Production (see more below under NOTS courses)
Saturday 30th July:
Course in Croghan Organic Garden, near Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Title: Organic Vegetable Production (see more below under NOTS courses)
Friday 2nd September 2016
The Georgian Society
Ireland's Historic Walled Gardens Study Day, Russborough House, Co. Wicklow
More information can be found at the Irish Georgian Society website soon.
A day of lectures on the history of walled gardens throughout the centuries and the origins of vegetables.
Sat & Sun 3rd and 4th September 2016
Ballymaloe Garden Festival
This is always a great event in a wonderful venue
Please see below courses which are organised and subsidised by NOTS

National Organic Training Skillsnet (NOTS) Training Programme 2016          

Introduction to Setting Up a Local and Sustainable Cut Flower Business:  A 1 day course run by Ciarán Beattie of Leitrim Flowers - a successful cut flower grower with 35 years horticulture and business experience. The course will take place in Leitrim on Monday the 27th of June at 10am and costs €50.00 per person. (Limited free places for those who are unemployed)

MSc PG Dip in Organic Farming FREE INFORMATION NIGHT ON THE 5TH of JULY in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore at 7pm
Registration is essential, please email info@nots.ie or call 0719640688
It costs nothing to listen and you have everything to gain so why not pop along and meet Dr Lou Ralph, program leader and some of the past students from the course, this event will give you an idea of what to expect if you under take this highly recommended Masters in Organic Farming. This is a part time distance learning course in which there are 8 taught modules over two years and a third year to complete an MSc project in a topic related to organic farming. Commences in September 2016; Duration 3 years; This course is worth considering even if you do not hold a level 8 qualification, a level 5 or 6 in a relevant subject plus experience may be considered however this decision is fully at the discretion of the collage) **Requires a full application process.

Snail farming session, 9th of July Enniscorty  ( Saturday ) and 25th or 26th ( Monday and Tuesday )  of July in Carlow ( closed sessions for 2016 snail farming group)

Organic Vegetable Production:  Join Klaus Laitenberger for a one day session on organic vegetable production and controlling weeds, pests and disease organically. Klaus will take an in-depth look at various crops and problems and offer a range of solution s that will help you develop a healthy and productive vegetable plot. Locations: 23rd of July Springmount Garden Centre, Gorey, Wexford and 30th of July Croghan Organic Gardens, Croghan, Roscommon.Start time:10am, Course cost is €30.00 per person. (limited free places for those who are unemployed)

Organic Production Principles (QQI Level 5 ): 25 hour course on what’s involved in converting to organic farming, This course is QQI certified and is accepted to gain access the organic farming scheme, Cost €220,
Dates: Leitrim: 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd of July (Friday evening and Saturday) Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim
MSc PG Dip in Organic Farming: This is a part time on-line distance learning course in which there are 8 taught modules over two years and a third year to complete an MSc project in a topic related to organic farming. Commences in September 2016; Duration 3 years; Requires a full application process.

Certificate in Organic Horticulture Distance Learning This 2 year course in horticulture will be delivered via Distance Learning, 4 Modules are taken each year, commencing in October 2016. For full details visit http://organiccollege.com/distance-learning/ Cost €60
Westport College of Further Education Level 6 in Horticulture
This course is offered directly by the college and more information contact the college.. The college offers sustainable horticulture training and agriculture techniques in their organically certified garden. If interested please contact the college directly as this is NOT a National Organic Training Skillnet course.
To book or discuss training or mentoring requirements, please contact National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) on 0719640688 or 086 1728442 or email info@nots.ie or check out www.nots.ie for further information.
Happy Gardening
July Gardening Tips

Added: 04/07/16 : 13:47:05

Summer is progressing

This is often one of the hottest months of the year and a great time to sit out and enjoy your garden. Keep plants looking good by regularly dead-heading, and you'll enjoy a longer display of blooms.

Make sure you keep new plants well watered, using grey water where possible, and hoe off weeds, which thrive in the sunshine.

Top 10 Jobs for July

    1.        Check clematis for signs of clematis wilt
    2.        Care for houseplant while on holiday
    3.        Water tubs and new plants if dry, but be water-wise
    4.        Deadhead bedding plants and repeat-flowering perennials, to ensure continuous flowering
    5.        Pick courgettes before they become marrows
    6.        Treat apple scab
    7.        Clear algae, blanket weeds and debris from ponds, and keep them topped up
    8.        Order catalogues for next year’s spring-flowering bulbs
    9.        Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed, especially if not given a spring feed
    10.      Harvest apricots, peaches and nectarines