Rain is on the forecast which is great news for vegetable gardens. You may be seeing some of the following signs that plants are struggling without water:
- Cabbages/cauliflowers may not be forming heads properly
- Beans/tomatoes with very yellow leaves
- Brassicas with pink tinted leaves (as pictured)
- Leeks turning yellow/brown at tips of leaves and along outer leaves
- Slow cropping on courgettes, and bulbous fruits
- Small root veggies
After this summer drought, the plants will guzzle up water, and whilst plants should turn a nice shade of green fairly quickly and grow well, this can cause splitting in some vegetables, and a glut in others. Slugs will also come out of hiding. Here are a few top tips to keep in mind:
- Put down some beer traps to keep slugs away from your veggies
- Clear up any old, yellowing brassica leaves that have fallen off, or that are at the base of the plant, as these are very attractive to slugs (if they are pink tinted, that’s more to do with lack of water/nutrients, so you can leave those to recover, whereas the bright yellow leaves are old leaves dying off naturally)
- Look out for cabbages splitting – they may do this due to sudden water intake and growth. You won’t be able to stop it, but you can harvest them before the split starts to rot, and at least enjoy eating your veggies!
- If you get a sudden glut, think about pickling, freezing or cooking-and-freezing (soups and pasta sauces etc) – it’s worth keeping and using everything that comes out of the veg garden with all these rocketing food bills!
- You may find root veggies like beetroot and carrots split as well, although this can be harder to spot as it happens underneath the soil. If you do get a disappointing crop that won’t look very appetising on the plate, don’t forget that you can grate the veggies, turn them into soups for the freezer, whizz them up in a cake mixture and make purees or hummous.