Joyous June

sweetpeas posy

It’s the 1st of July today, but I want to celebrate the month that’s just left us. In past years the weather hasn’t been too kind to us gardeners in June, after either a very cold or very dry spring, June typically then becomes a wash out. But not so this year. In fact the weather so far this year has been pretty near perfect, with plentiful bouts of sunshine and showers. Obviously we’d all like the rain showers to take place overnight, with a nice gentle breeze for getting all the hoeing and digging done, and then a bit of heat just when you want to take a break with a nice cold drink, but hey, we can’t have it all!

Of course, now that I’ve said all this, I’ll have jinxed the weather for the rest of the summer, so you can blame me when it rains non-stop till September.

beans in the sky

For now though, it’s all on the up, including my borlotti beans which are heading for the clouds.  It seems a massive shame, but I’ve had to cut back these tops, so that they concentrate on producing me some beans rather than putting on a aerobatics display.

tomato plant

My tomatoes have put on good growth in the ten whole days since I last visited the plot. They’re still a little on the short and stocky side, but that’s okay, they’re less likely to topple over or get damaged by the wind. They’re flowering profusely and that’s all that matters. However, I need to do some blight prevention work. I’ll cut back the lower leaves to avoid them sitting on the soil, and I might consider a mulch of straw or hay to avoid any soil splashback onto the leaves during heavy rainstorms, which is usually how blight spreads. You can’t really avoid it if it strikes, but it’s worth taking what preventative measures you can.

onions almost ready

The onions are looking good, they’ve fattened up nicely and the tops are just starting to bow down. I never really know whether you should actually push the tops over to prevent them flowering, but I don’t normally, I just allow nature to take it’s course, and cut out any flowering stems that appear. I won’t harvest them until the tops have properly died down, and we get a good drying day. Though of course you can always take the odd one to use straight away while it’s still green. There’s no stronger onion taste!

red lettuce

I’m very glad I persevered with the lettuce. Up until now I had been picking leaves from a big pot of rocket in my garden, but a pest of some sort has made a meal of that, so I’m very pleased my allotment lettuce has finally come good. I forget what variety this is, but I also have some Little Gems and another variety that is green tinged with red, you can just see in the top left. However, this red variety is well ahead, it’s crunchy, tasty and looks great too.

broc under net

This isn’t a great photo I’m afraid, but the broccoli growing under cover has grown massively since I last saw it. I thought the plants were a bit too spaced out when they were newly planted babies, but they’re fast turning into monsters and have filled the space easily. Thanks heavens for environmesh! This piece is about 5 years old now, and is still going strong. Worth every penny.

leek flower

The solitary leek that we left to flower has finally pushed out a beautiful pink tinged flower (I’m sure they were white last year). As you can see the bees are doing their work. All is right with the world so long as we have flowers and bees.

red harvest

So my harvest on the final day of June consisted of a huge bunch of sweet peas, and then all the reds, red lettuce, baby red onions and the first couple of beetroot. I would normally have my first courgettes by now, but I’m afraid something rather slimy has seen off both plants. This is a first for me, but luckily we have a courgette plant growing in an old kitchen sink at home which has started to fruit, so we won’t be completely without courgettes this summer. I mean, that would be like a summer without ice-cream, unthinkable!

Here’s to a productive July.


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