Pests and diseases on crops are always a problem in the garden – and my Pumpkin crop is no exception, in the last few days, the leaves of my plants have unfortunately developed Powdery Mildew.
Powdery mildew is easily identified by the powdery white spores on the surface of the foliage, severely affected leaves will quickly shrivel and die back. The spores of this unsightly disease are air borne so it can spread quickly and easily where plants are growing close together.
Powdery mildew is particularly prevalent during humid, wet summers like we’ve had this year, where the spores are spread from leaf to leaf by rain splashes.
If you notice powdery mildew appearing then you’ll need to act fast to stop it spreading: You can remove and destroy infected leaves to control its spread. Put them straight in the household waste – never compost the leaves as this will simply spread the problem again next year. Keeping the roots evenly watered will also help to prevent the problem.
If the infection is over a wider area then you may have to use a chemical control; there are lots of fungicides available to pick up at your local garden centre. Just be sure to check that you choose one which is suitable for use on edible crops. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and spray the plants evenly, both above and beneath the foliage.
Hopefully that will solve the problem, but if necessary then you may need to repeat the treatment in a few weeks time.
Check out my other videos on growing pumpkins here :
How to grow pumpkins. Part 1: sowing pumpkin seeds
How to grow Pumpkins. Part 2: Planting out Pumpkin plants.
How to grow Pumpkins with Thompson & Morgan. Part 3: Feeding and pollination
I hope you enjoy pumpkin growing this year – who knows, you might grow your very own giant!
Trailing fuchsias come in every colour combination imaginable. There are so many choices, from elegant single flowered fuchsias such as Fuchsia ‘Mandarin Cream’ to flamboyant double forms with carefree, ruffled blooms such as Fuchsia ‘Quasar’. They are particularly useful for bringing impressive displays to summer hanging baskets, window boxes and containers. Their lax stems gently cascade over the side of containers, allowing the dangling blooms to be viewed at their best. These versatile plants cope equally well in semi shade as they do in full sun. This makes them an ideal choice for brightening up those shadier corners of the patio.
Some forms can produce colossal blooms reaching up to 10cm (4”) across eg Giants Collection.
Fuchsias are superb value too, flowering over a long period from early summer right through to September.
Growing trailing fuchsias really couldn’t be easier. Plant trailing fuchsias directly into baskets, window boxes, Flower Pouches™ and containers, in any well drained compost. Grow them on in warm, frost free conditions. Pinch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, prior to placing them in their final positions in sun or semi shade.
Throughout the growing season keep them well watered. It’s well worth feeding them every other week with a fertiliser such as Incredibloom® to promote an endless supply of flowers. Deadhead faded fuchsia flowers to prolong the flowering period.
These reliable plants are stalwarts of summer garden, bringing colour and movement to hanging baskets whether grown individually or as part of a mixed container.
Growing fuchsia standards is not as difficult as it might appear. Fuchsia standards have a clear main stem topped with a dense head of foliage created through pinch pruning and make superb specimen plants. However patience is required as they may take up to 18 months of careful training to achieve.
Here are my top tips for growing fuchsia standards;
• Allow a young fuchsia stem to grow upright, whilst removing all of the side shoots as they develop. Do not remove the leaves from the mail stem however, as these will feed the plant.
• Tie the main stem in to a cane to provide support as it grows.
• Once the fuchsia plant reaches 20cm (8″) taller than the desired height, pinch out the stem tip.
• New side shoots will be produced at the top of the plant and these will form the head of the standard. Pinch out the tips of each side shoot when it reaches 2 to 4 sets of leaves. Continue pinch pruning until a rounded head has formed.
• The leaves on the main stem will be shed naturally in time, or can be carefully removed.
To overwinter standard fuchsias, they will need to be moved to a frost free position during the winter months to protect their vulnerable stem from frost damage, regardless of how hardy the variety is.
There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. There is a lovely range of hardy fuchsias in the market, many with different colour foliage and form.
Fuchsia Genii is a more unusual fuchsia variety, with distinctive yellow foliage. The flowers have inky blue petals backed by magenta tepals, and these blooms are set against golden, glowing foliage. Genii is an easy to grow shrub that will grow happily in sun or part-shade giving your borders a magnificent display.
Fuchsia Hawkshead is a customer favourite and has been awarded RHS Garden Merit. Hawkshead is an upright and bushy cultivar which blooms non-stop from early summer to autumn making a lovely addition to your beds and borders.
New and exclusive to Thompson & Morgan is Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’, the best climbing fuchsia you will grow. The vigorous upright stems can extend by up to 1.5m (5ft) in a single season, making it perfect for covering walls, fences, arches and obelisks.
How to care for hardy fuchsia plants in winter
Hardy fuchsia plants are ideal for growing in sheltered borders all year round. These cultivars range from neat compact varieties such as Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’ that reaches just 30cm (12″) tall, up to Fuchsia magellanica which can reach a colossal height and spread of 3m (10’) in ideal conditions. Hardy fuchsias are best planted deeply in the ground to protect the crown during cold winter weather. Further winter protection can be provided by applying a deep mulch of bark chips, leaf mould or straw in late autumn each year.
There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. These exotic looking beauties are firm favourites for their pendant flowers in a wonderful range of colour combinations. Fuchsias may be deciduous or evergreen depending on their variety and growing conditions. They’re versatile too, growing happily in sun or semi shade. These hard working shrubs will flower virtually all summer long, filling borders, beds, window boxes, hanging baskets and patio containers – in fact, they will bring colour to almost any position that you can think of.
How to grow Fuchsias
Pot up fuchsia plug plants using a good quality, well drained compost such as John Innes No.3, and grow them on in warm, frost-free conditions. Trailing fuchsia plug plants may be planted directly into baskets, window boxes and containers. These should also be grown on in warm, frost free conditions until they are well developed.
Pinch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, before moving them (or planting them out) in their final positions. Watch our helpful video to learn how to pinch out Fuchsia stems.
Fuchsias are very versatile and can be grown in sun or semi shade in any fertile, moist well drained soil, although they will appreciate some shade during the hottest part of the day. Choose a position that offers shelter from cold, drying winds.
When growing hardy fuchsias in the ground they are best planted so that the base of the stem is 5cm (2″) below the soil surface. This will help to protect the crown of the plant during cold winter weather.
Feeding and watering fuchsias
Water fuchsias regularly to maintain moist, but not waterlogged conditions. Fuchsias that are grown in containers will need frequent watering depending on the size of the container and weather conditions. Hanging baskets should be watered at least once a day during hot summer weather. Fuchsias that are planted directly into borders will become more self sufficient once established.
Although many fuchsia plants are naturally floriferous, it is well worth feeding them every few weeks throughout the summer, especially those grown in hanging baskets and containers. Use a soluble fertiliser such as Chempak Fuchsia Feed. Regular feeding will encourage an endless supply of flowers and frequent deadheading will also prolong the flowering period.