Early summer madness

It’s non-stop at the moment. Planting, weeding, mowing, sowing, tying in, supporting, transplanting, pricking out, harvesting, pruning, watering, digging over and yet more weeding. Phew! We’ll be needing that holiday next week.

It’s all going crazy down on the allotment, the fruit bushes and trees are bearing the first signs of fruit. The onions are bolting (more on that to come). The weeds are coming up as quick as the seedlings are. And the plants started off at home are now jostling for space, desperate to be planted out. That’s what a good dose of sunshine and rain does for you.

The potatoes have recovered well from a brief touch of frost and are now growing strongly, if a little bit later than normal.

The leeks are still coming, though they’re really past their best now and are starting to flower which means the central stem is quite woody and pretty unusable. I need them out now to make space for the winter squashes, so we’re doing what we can with what’s left.

The courgettes (3 in all) have been planted with a bottomless and topless plastic bottle along side for more effective watering. You could also use a spare flower pot here, or as per Toby on Gardener’s World a tin can with the bottom taken off. It matters not, the principle is the same.

The climbing French beans have also been planted. Two varieties, the paler leaves ones are Bird’s Eggs which I grew last year (see post) and saved the seeds. They were the most fantastic colour and delicious in stews through the winter. And the darker stemmed ones are another heritage variety called Kew Blue. I look forward to giving you my verdict on them.

Also planted out are my outdoor cucumbers. A new variety for this year called Bono. They look a bit tiny yet, but they’ll get there. I’m planning on training them up the supports so that they don’t impinge too much on the courgettes which are in the same bed. I now know from experience that what seems like a lot of space now, will be nothing in a couple of months. However, in the meantime I might plant some lettuces and radishes in the gaps which will be harvested by the time the space is needed.

Our first harvest from the broad beans. These are from the autumn planted ones that survived the harsh winter. I’m actually glad now that only a few plants did survive because we’re overloaded with them already, and the spring sown plants will be ready once these are done with, giving a better succession of beans. Strange how nature sometimes works out for the best, even though it wasn’t quite how you’d planned it.

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