Here’s the dirt…


Rye News is introducing a dedicated column to gardening and all things horticultural. Starting monthly, we will be highlighting what is going on in the vegetable patch, what flowers may be blooming, and what bugs may be lurking.

As part of Rye gardening, we welcome comments and ideas from our readers, so send us yours and tell us all the things you enjoy about your own garden.

So, this month, what is going on in the gardens and allotments of Rye?

Well…plenty! In fact, July is the month of harvests. Potatoes are being dug up, French beans are in profusion, lettuce is quickly going to seed in the recent extreme heat, runner beans are beginning and for courgette lovers, “Pick, pick, pick” is the motto.

One way to freeze courgettes is to shred them, squeeze out the juice in a clean kitchen towel, and then pop them into the freezer. These can then be made into courgette cake, or courgette “burgers” or “courgetti” spaghetti.

A key nuisance this time of year is the dreaded cabbage white butterfly, seen all over the garden fluttering around greenery. What they are doing is laying eggs under tasty green leaves, so provide a butterfly net to children and grandchildren, and send them out to catch them! Also check under leaves to see if you notice their pinhead eggs or even tiny caterpillars before they do damage.

I heard on the radio this week, that in Asia fruit grows in bounty on public land because people are used to saving the stones and pits from fruit and then throw these into the verges of public land. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we slowly gained cherry, apple, and pear trees in our own road sides for all to pick and enjoy?

Large White butterfly feeding on Hoary Ragwort

In the flower garden, it is the height of summer already. That means flowers like dahlias are now in full bloom. If you look closely, you will notice the buds are rounded in shape, whilst the “spent” flowers are pointed at the end. Every couple of days, cut off these spent flower heads to ensure the plants continue to make more.

Some salvias are fading now, so cutting these right back will stimulate more blooms and growth in a few weeks’ time. Wildflowers like poppies have seed heads which are now ripening and becoming crisp brown. If you don’t want the seeds, please collect them and spread them in the street verges next time you walk past a little patch of waste land and help ensure we get even more wildflowers around the countryside.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , Rye News Library , Barry Yates, Sussex Wildlife Trust .

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  1. Thank you Abigail Cooper-Hanson for a delightful article in Rye news .A refreshing read…which I enjoyed..and( realise it was similar to how Christopher Lloyd wrote about gardening at Great Dixter )..with good advice about harvesting produce, , cutting back spent flower heads to encourage a second flowering to enjoy..and lovely story of the fruit trees growing in Indian on common ground for all to enjoy…from the kindness of others planting the seeds and stones of the fruit in the past. And then suggesting we could all help with keeping our environment flowering and may be for fruit trees to grow.
    I believe there are people to seed bomb mixing seeds into soil and making it into a ball .Thus throw the ball into areas of waste land or banks by roads etc.
    There is others who do ‘gorilla gardening..’ go out and use to plant up roundabouts. There was a story of a Window cleaner who decided to plant trees around his area..he did get the council to approve..but he did it on his own. He continued to tend them to survive over the years.
    What a legacy he has produced for his community.
    Sarah Raven did a programme on encouraging planting with insects in mind..that was done 10 years ago but was recently repeated on BBC …she went round local communities and Town/city authorities to get them to change…planting schemes that had flowers that did not attract insects to those that do.


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