Weekend Gardener – July 17

The earth has music for those who listen. – Unknown

If there was just one word to sum up the month of July, it would have to be RAIN.  Showers, deluges, light rain.  Sun followed rain followed sun, most if not all of July.  However it didn’t stop me spending a fair amount of time out there.

There was one rather exciting day, just last weekend when I came out into the garden to discover the biggest caterpillar I’ve ever seen carefully making its way over the gravel path.

I had no idea what it was.  It was just fascinating to watch.  I didn’t want it to be picked up by the birds so I moved it back down the garden.  Three hours later and guess who discovered the same caterpillar, back on the path?  One Jack Russell called Mouse.  She thought it was a toy to play with until I sternly told her it wasn’t and to leave it alone.

Unfortunately telling a JRT not to do anything usually results in being vigorously ignored. So the caterpillar had to be rescued a second time.  Mouse went off to torment Minnie (her fursister) instead.

July Update

Bed 1 (each bed is 1.5m x 1.5m)

Beetroot – I’ve harvested once this month, and they were delicious.  Small and sweet.

Kale – Used for soups and even smoothies.

Carrots – Harvested a few but not many because they are not ready yet, however it’s useful to thin them out and by pulling them early I ended up with very sweet carrots to eat.

Bed 2

Runner beans – The five plants are bursting with flowers and lower down on the plant pods are beginning to appear.

Courgettes – So far I’ve harvested two courgettes.  They are struggling with the shorter periods of light in the front garden, due to it being north facing.

Sweetcorn – I don’t want to speak too soon but there is one full size corn just waiting to be plucked.  I’m almost scared to do it because it might not be ready yet.  These plants appear to be doing well.

Bed 3

Cut flower bed – Dahlias and sunflowers galore.  The cosmos has given up.  It’s been swamped out by the other plants but it’s certainly a colourful bed now.

Bed 4

Main crop potatoes – The plants are beginning to die down.  I’ve checked under the straw and there are potatoes to be had but they are super small at the moment.  So I’ve decided to leave the bed for another month before I start harvesting.

Bed 5

Strawberries – I’ve spent most of this month cutting out the runners, of which there have been quite a few.  In fact the runners are now producing runners.  The plants still look very healthy and I’m sure I’ll be cutting the runners out for a few weeks to come.

Bed 6

Winter Potatoes – *New* After almost six months of lying in a paper bag in the fridge, I planted all ten tubers where the garlic had been harvested.  So far so good.  The shoots took off pretty quickly and I’ve not got about 30cm of green top growth.  I’ll keep burying the growth under straw, mixed in with potato fertilizer.

Tomatoes – All plants are extremely healthy and getting rather big!  The fruit is already setting so I’m hoping to start havesting next month.

Habanero Chillies – The temporary chilli cover didn’t work in the recent winds and rains so I’ve had to move them all into the grow house.  Twice a day I have to check the plants for snails and slugs.  Most of the plants have been ravished by the pests but are fighting back.

Fruit Trees/Bushes

Cherry – Nothing further to be done on this for now.

Raspberries – Had a huge harvest off the canes.  Now they are dying back and I’ll cut them down next month.  A few new shoots are emerging already.

Plumb – I was so worried about this espalier.  The leaves had curled up and the growth was dying back.  However, I got a full harvest of delicious plumbs.  In fact, I got three hearty harvests.  The fruit was so tasty they didn’t last long.

Apple – There looks to be about 10 apples I’ll be able to harvest this year.  Every day they are getting bigger.  As a bonus (to me!), the greenfly have now gone from the leaves.  I suspect is 50% growth slow down and 50% pest control due to a number of ladybird larvae I spotted last month.

Blueberries – Considering I tend to only two bushes and considering they are both in pots, I do get great harvests from them both.  The older bush produced a lot of fruit but not as big as previous years.  I suspect this is because I didn’t top up the compost and feed it.

Redcurrant/Blackcurrant – I had a good harvest from the redcurrants.  Moving the potted bush into a sunnier position has helped no end.  The black currants, on the other hand, have really struggled this season.  I’ll refrain from pruning them again, I must have caused stress to the plants in doing so last year.

Jobs for August

  • Checking plants daily to make sure they are okay (especially the chillies).  Watering and feeding.
  • Cut back the privet
  • Cut down the fruited raspberry canes
  • Replace the summer bedding plants
  • Earth up the winter potatoes
  • Harvest the veggies!

I’m hoping for a little less rain and more sun in August.  Well, I can hope!


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