Flaming June

Well it should be flaming as in hot, but these days the Aussie use of the word seems more appropriate, with all the rain and wind. Still, at least we have long hours of daylight for all that extra gardening.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I was last on the allotment, and in my head, all sorts of chaos has broken out in that short time, a plant anarchy, but in reality I find it’s all pretty much fine. In fact, turning a blind eye to the weeds, it’s quite exciting to see what has developed.

The calendulas (pot marigolds) have started to flower, and are surrounded by a hazy buzz of bees.

Similarly so the poppies, which have been a bit battered by the elements, but are still pushing out the flowers.

The garlic has unfortunately succumbed to rust, which seems worse than ever this year. But I had a little dig around one of the bulbs, and it seemed a decent enough size to me, so I think it’s time for them to come out. If the weather stays dry at the weekend, I’ll pull the lot out and let them dry. I need garlic recipes!

The remaining few leeks from last year have now developed fat flower bulbs that will hopefully burst open soon. We didn’t get around to using up these leeks quick enough, and the last few we pulled up in the spring were inedible due to the thick flower stems within. So I decided to leave the last 5 in the ground, in order to save the seed for next year. They’re not in a space that’s needed (next to the courgettes which are still very small) and the flowers can be quite beautiful if nothing else, so better here than on the compost heap. A single flowering head would provide me with more than enough seed, but you can’t just have one flower can you! Aesthetics, it’s always about the aesthetics! Groups of 3 and 5 always look better, don’t ask me why.

Finally, (after much weeding and tying in the winding bean stems that were lying on the ground trying to wrap themselves around blades of grass) it’s harvest time. June is all about broad beans and strawberries. Up until this point in the year there isn’t a huge amount to harvest except the last of the winter crops, rhubarb, purple sprouting (if you were wise enough to plant it) ditto asparagus, and maybe some early lettuce if you’re lucky, but then June comes along and suddenly there’s fruit and broad beans and salad crops and if you’re really lucky the first early potatoes. Everything is a bit later than normal this year due to the cold spring, but we’re getting there.

The broad beans are not huge yet, but they’re actually more tasty when they’re young and you don’t have to double pod them. These were delicious briefly blanched and then dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and some fresh garden mint. Mmm taste of summer (that’s yet to come).

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