Gar­den­ing, the Big Sky and our clever acrostic cross­word

Canal Boat - - CONTENTS - with Julie Clark

Sum­mer cer­tainly took a while to get started this year but when it ar­rived tem­per­a­tures cer­tainly soared!

Wa­ter­ing is al­ways an is­sue with con­tainer gar­den­ing. When it does rain the leaves can de­flect the wa­ter away from the roots and in the heat (and breeze) wa­ter­ing is a daily re­quire­ment. If you started your pots off a cou­ple of months ago it is likely that com­mer­cial com­posts will start to be­come ex­hausted of nu­tri­ents and there­fore it will be nec­es­sary to sup­ple­ment the feed­ing to pro­mote con­tin­u­ous healthy growth.

Spring sown veg­eta­bles should be grow­ing on nicely now and should be crop­ping. This is there­fore a good time to plant sub­se­quent crops of car­rots, peas and sal­ads etc. for later in the sea­son.

High sum­mer is when bed­ding plants are at their best. If you are grow­ing sweet peas re­mem­ber to pick the flow­ers reg­u­larly to en­sure con­tin­u­ous flow­er­ing through the sum­mer. If you haven’t planned ahead gar­den cen­tres will still be full of won­der flow­ers ideal for plant­ing on your boat. It is pos­si­ble that there is not the se­lec­tion of sum­mer bed­ding that there was a few weeks ago – they tend to have a brief sea­son of avail­abil­ity start­ing around Easter. There is no rea­son that one has to uses an­nual va­ri­eties in pots so have a look out for some of the low grow­ing peren­ni­als. There is a won­der­ful dwarf Bud­dleia with clus­ters of pur­ple flow­ers; try pots of Laven­der, Alpine Asters and Scabi­ous. Alpine plants are fan­tas­tic to grow in con­tain­ers on boats be­cause they are tough lit­tle plants which are used to grow­ing in chal­leng­ing con­di­tions as well as keep­ing small and not ob­scur­ing the cap­tain’s vi­sion! If you want re­ally low main­te­nance plants suc­cu­lents such as the se­dums (stonecrops) and House Leeks are fun to try – as well as, ac­cord­ing to folk law, pro­tect­ing you from light­en­ing and bad witches! The juice from a house leek leaf is also sup­posed to be a cure for warts . If you are plan­ning to do a bit of in­stant gar­den­ing pick up some pots of herbs from the su­per­mar­ket next time you visit and plant them with a flow­er­ing plant or two and per­haps a chilli. With a lit­tle at­ten­tion they will last the sum­mer and be a con­ve­nient source of fresh flavour as you travel along.

You may also find a mini va­ri­ety of tomato, of­ten sold as pot plants in gar­den cen­tres for those peo­ple who don’t have the in­cli­na­tion to start the plants off early enough in the year so you can have an in­stant flow­er­ing dis­play and a mini veg pot.

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