I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June. – L. M. Montgomery
As I sat here writing the June update, for the garden, there is a wet drizzle that is coating the plants. Most of June has been sunny and bright. In some parts of the UK we’ve experienced the hottest day since 1976 and yet you wouldn’t know it to look outside today. That’s what I love about British weather. One minute you’re basking in the hot sun the next you’re cursing the fact you’ll need to get a jumper out of the box you put away on the top shelf of your wardrobe because now it feels rather cool.
In our garden, all the plants have been quietly growing, without too much input from me other than almost daily waterings. But let me give you a breakdown:
Bed 1 (each bed is 1.5m x 1.5m)
Beetroot – growing nicely. I can now harvest the tops for salad.
Kale – I started these off a bit too late but they are fast catching up. I should be able to begin harvest leaves in the next week
Carrots – not ready yet but growing well.
Runner beans – The five plants have reached the top of the canes and flowers are just beginning to form.
Courgettes – I have two plants that have suddenly take off in terms of growth. No flowers as yet though.
Sweetcorn – They keep growing which I’m pleased about. I’m worried the plants will hit the hedge rooting which will end up stunting the corn’s growth but so far the corn is winning!
Cut flower bed – This is looking good now. The plants have completely filled the bed. There is no room for anything further. The dahlias are beginning to flower and the sunflowers are getting taller every day. The cosmos is being slightly overshadowed by the other, taller plants so I’ll remember that if I do this again. There are two lily plants that are growing well. I bought them in the bargain bin at the local garden centre not expecting much but so far they are holding their own space.
Main crop potatoes – these have gone wild! The growth is now so tall it’s spilt up and pushed over the support cloche I put up to hold the straw in. The plants have just started to flower. I’ve cautiously checked for potatoes and only found a couple near the surface so not sure the tubers are ready. I’ll need to wait until the growth begins to die down. If the top growth is anything to go by then I’m rather hoping for what may be growing underneath!
Strawberries – I’ve limited each plant to one runner and cut the others back. I’ve also added straw to keep the fruit off the ground. So far I’ve harvested fruit twice from the plants and it tasted delicious.
Garlic – I decided it was time to harvest the garlic this weekend and was pleased I did. Some of the bulbs had begun to split. I ended up with 45 bulbs and 9 were split. I think that’s a good harvest for a bed measuring just 1.5 x 1.5 meters (4.5ft x 4.5ft). I’ve laid them out to dry now for a couple of weeks before they get stored back in the house.
Tomatoes – The extra watering I did for the tomatoes may have affected the garlic bulbs but now that crop has gone I can concentrate feeding and watering the tomatoes. The plants are still rather small but I’m not worried because this happened last year and I was still harvesting fruit into late September.
Habanero Chillies *New* – Potted up the chilli plants into 1ltr pots. I have 15 plants and have decided to keep them all not least because I’m a bit worried about the colour of them. They were starting to look a rather pasty green rather than the deep, lush green I’d expect. I am presuming this has been caused by lack of nutrients in the compost. I had used and continue using 100% peat-free coir compost to allow the roots to grow easily. I decided, as an experiment, to house the plants on top of the bed, where the garlic had been, and make a plastic cover for them. That way they’ll get plenty of sunshine and room to grow. I have yet to make a decent cover and am currently re-using my £1 plastic cloche poly covers I used earlier in the year. They are a bit flimsy but will do the job until the plants get taller.
Cherry – I actually managed to harvest from the tree this year! It’s only taken four years and some dedicated pruning to ensure the plant focussed only on the growth it needed to do.
Raspberries – This crop got caught in the hot weather and I’ve noticed a couple of the canes died back before they got a chance to either flower or fruit. The canes left are producing a good harvest.
Plumb – This is still suffering quite badly. I’m not sure if it’s even recovering. I keep looking it hoping for the best but the only way to describe it is – poorly. I think it might have canker but I don’t like to talk about it. The leaves have shrivelled and while plenty of fruit has appeared after lots of blossom, they remain small and green.
Apple – As happens every year, this has been attacked by greenfly so the leaves look curled and are having the life sucked out of them. It’s not all bad news though. I’ve found ladybird larvae lurking and every year the espalier is getting stronger against the attack. I can see quite a bit of fruit on the bottom two lateral branches.
Blueberries – the two potted shrubs look healthy. Both are showing clusters of green berries which are slowly turning a deep crimson colour. I can’t wait to be able to harvest these.
Redcurrant/Blackcurrant – While the redcurrant is doing exceptionally well the blackcurrant is suffering quite badly from greenfly. I pruned back the blackcurrant a couple of years ago and it’s never been the same. If it does ever recover and start to vigorously throw out shoots I’m not sure that I’d ever prune it again.
Jobs for July
- Checking plants daily to make sure they are okay (especially the chillies). Watering daily if necessary.
- Harvesting the maincrop potatoes
- Clean the bird baths
- Deadhead bedding plants
- Plant Christmas potatoes
- Prune fruit espaliers
- Summer trim the nut hedge
- Cut back the privet
It’s going to be a busy month!