Restoring order in the garden
In your absence, pest and disease may have crept in and, without you there every day to monitor any potential risks, the insects and fungal spores could have had a field day. As the populations increase dramatically towards the end of summer, it doesn’t take long for a once healthy plant to be completely decimated. You need to decide if it is worth trying to save the plant or cut your losses. Diseases like late blight, and damage from the tomato potato psyllid may require the call to pull the plant. But some pests like an aphid infestation or powdery mildew can be rectified by removing the worst of the damage and a few sprays of the right product and your plant should bounce back. There is always a risk of harm from pest and disease at this time of year whether you are there or not. The garden can be a bit of a battlefield at times.
You may find your minder didn’t harvest as thoroughly as they should have. Maybe they didn’t want to seem greedy, or they only took what they needed. No one needs 27 zucchinis in a week. This can cause problems since rotting fruit on the ground invites bugs. The best of the harvest may have come and gone and all that is left are leafy green and salad crops that have bolted, or plants, so exhausted with production and satisfied they have set seeds, that they have given up. All you can do at that point is clean up the mess, look up recipes and remove the plants that have expired.
The good news is that it isn’t too late in the season to pop in new plants; succession planting throughout the summer ensures that you will always enjoy young tender leaves in your salad or have more beetroot and carrots to replace what you have eaten. Alternatively, you can start looking ahead to the cool season crops – it is nearly time to start these seeds.
So, after fixing and strengthening structures, evicting weeds, replacing damaged or finished plants, giving everything a liquid feed and a good watering, top up the mulch, mow the lawn and the garden will be back to normal and looking fabulous in no time at all.