We’re having a heatwave in the UK and across Europe. I know – it’s unbelievable. A Brit has won Wimbledon and we’re having a heatwave, can things get any more unusual?
Unfortunately though, the heatwave has coincided with me using up the last of my water supply on the plot (we have no central standpipe – I have 2 water butts only, and I discovered in the spring that one of these was leaking). So while it’s great to soak up a bit of vitamin D and enjoy the flowers blooming, I’ve got to hope and pray that my crops will get their roots down to some water and survive okay until we get a good thunderstorm and hopefully a downpour. We never seem to be happy, us gardeners. Too much or too little of anything and we’re moaning.
However, my plants seem to be surviving pretty well so far. These are my tomatoes which I’ve watered only 3 or 4 times since they were planted out at the end of May. So not even once a week. I do tend to treat my plants hard from the start. I make sure to water their planting hole really well before they go in, and then pack dry soil around them, which encourages the roots to go in the right direction straight away. The plant pots are then used to water into, so that it goes slowly down into the soil, rather than evaporating on the surface.
They’re not huge plants, and they probably won’t be, but I want tomatoes, not tomato leaves and stems. So, as long as I get plenty of flowers and hence plenty of tomatoes, that’s fine. The smaller the plants the less likely they will get buffered and broken by the wind, or topple over with the weight of fruit.
I’m a bit more concerned about the leeks and sweetcorn that were only just planted last weekend. They haven’t had much of a chance to adapt or get their roots down yet. Fingers crossed.
I dug up my first few potatoes last night, first proper sized lettuce (as opposed to loose leaves) and my first few broad beans, plus more beetroot and strawberries. Starting to feel I’ve had my fill of strawberries now, never thought I’d say that! My first courgette is still to come, but tantalisingly near. So this is what summer feels like.