This week in the garden
Cut back fruit canes, nip out small pumpkins and check on your sweetcorn
If you want your pumpkin plants to produce sizeable fruit, nip out the smallest pumpkins, leaving two to three of the biggest to develop
l Sweetcorn (below), is beginning to ripen. To check whether the plump, golden cobs are ready to harvest, pull back the faded tassels and gently squeeze a few of the kernels. If a milky liquid comes out, they’re ripe; if it’s clear, then hold off but keep regularly checking the cobs, as otherwise birds may beat you to it.
l Use a sharp secateurs to cut back the fruited canes of main-crop raspberries (below right) to ground level after they’ve finished cropping. Select between six and eight of the plant’s strongest young, green canes (those that haven’t fruited) and tie them gently into the wire supports, as these will produce next year’s crop of berries. Cut the plant’s remaining young canes to ground level.
l Pumpkin plants are now in full growth. If you want yours to produce sizeable fruit, nip out the smallest pumpkins, leaving two to three of the biggest to develop. This way, rather than exhausting itself by producing an abundance of small fruit, the plant will pour all of its energy into these, resulting (weather permitting) in some nicely large pumpkins you’ll be able to boast about.
l Keep a watchful eye on pot-grown specimens of camellias and rhododendrons, which are now busily making their flowerbuds for next spring, watering regularly to ensure the compost does not dry out.