Garden Alert : Late June/Early July

This week’s garden tips: It will soon be safe  to cut off garlic scapes without risking bulblet failure, and while you’re in the garlic patch, don’t forget to weed. Also the onions and leeks, if you’re growing any of those. All these alliums are weak competitors – crowding really diminishes quality – and because they don’t make broad leaves to shade out weeds they need lots of help from you.

If you haven’t mulched your tomatoes with straw yet, put it on top of the list. Covering the ground beneath the plants is one of the best ways to fight the blights that live in the soil, splash up on the lower leaves and spread from there. It also helps to remove the lowest leaves and generally make sure there is lots of air circulation at the base of the plants.

And just in case you’re not busy enough; take a look at the bottom of the fence to be sure it’s nice and tight. The deer are such a constant plague it’s easy to forget that the world is full of rabbits, but the wretched things are lurking everywhere and if they get into the garden will make short work of lots more than lettuce – speaking of which, don’t forget that bolting lettuces too bitter for salad do make delicious soup: butter, spring onion, a new potato, lettuces and water (not chicken stock!) . Puree when done. Add cream and chill – chives on top.

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