This week in the garden
Bountiful crop of Irish-grown tomatoes. Photograph: Richard Johnston
l Ouch . . . it’s wasp time again. Reduce the chances of a painful sting and damage to fruit crops by placing wasp traps at strategic places within the garden. These can be made of jam jars filled with fruit juice, or water mixed with jam. Cover the top with cling film, then punch a small hole in the middle, just large enough to allow a wasp to crawl through it. Treat stings with a little vinegar, or (as recommended by Irish gardener Fiann Ó Nualláin in his new book The Holistic Gardener published by Mercier Press), a pea-sized amount of toothpaste mixed with 10 drops of lavender oil.
l For two expert Irish gardeners’ month-by month guide to polytunnel growing, seek out a copy of The Polytunnel Book by Cork-based gardener Joyce Russell (Frances Lincoln) and check out north Co Dublin gardener Nicky Kyle’s monthly blog at nickykylegardening.com.
l August is traditionally the month when garlic and onions bulbs should be pulled (yellowing of most of the leaves shows they’re ready) and then laid out in the sun to dry, as otherwise they will rot in storage. Recent wet weather has made this difficult. Instead, dry them in a garden shed, glasshouse or polytunnel.
l If you want to get first pick of the best and brightest flower bulbs for autumn planting, then now, while stocks are still high, is the time to place your order. Quality Irish online suppliers include mrmiddleton.com and bulbs.ie, while other specialist suppliers include peternyssen.com and fluwel.com.