June 2013 – All’s growing well
All the bedding plants put in the borders at the end of May and watered in for a few nights have now got away in their new summer home and are really starting to fill out. Last weekend after some heavy rain I went around them all with a small 2 pronged claw and loosened the soil. This will let air in around the roots and create a dry soil mulch, trapping some of the moisture below as well as enhancing the visual appearance of the borders.
The hanging baskets have been hung outside and the containers grouped together to create an attractive patio display.
My perennial borders have really filled out and I already have lupins, foxgloves and hardy geraniums in flower. The buds on the peony plants are huge this year so I am looking forward to an impressive display later this month. The first spikes of delphinium which are late this year are just beginning to emerge from the strong and healthy foliage, so should add some welcome height and colour to the borders later this month.
Certainly the hostas have enjoyed the cooler spring and I have never seen them look as good, with only a few holes in the foliage, not from slugs but from the hailstorm we had recently. Hail has also marked a few leaves on some of the bedding plants but with a few warm days I am sure they’ll soon recover.
The cold frames have been put away and the greenhouses have less in them now. In one I have potted up all my large flowered begonias into 20cm (8in) clay pots. These will grow all summer in the shaded glasshouse and are grown for my enjoyment and maybe an entry in the local show if good enough, plus begonias are my wife’s favourite flower.
I’m still using the other greenhouse to propagate a few seedlings of lettuce and kohl rabi for the allotment. It also has some chili and sweet pepper plants growing in large pots for harvesting later in year.
My tomatoes this year are being grown up the allotment, but not on the plot – they are in the communal polytunnel. I rent a small plot within the tunnel and I have already planted my tomatoes – they are climbing the string supports and have reached about 90cm (3ft) and started to produce the first trusses of flowers. I am also going to grow my cucumbers in this space, as this year I am growing Cucino, a baby cucumber, and Bella, a longer fruited variety. Outdoors in a few weeks I will be planting ‘Burpless’ ridge cucumbers into large pots and maybe a few on the plot for cropping later in year.
The allotment is already very productive, I have been cutting lettuce for weeks and I am about to start cutting my second batch that are inter-planted in-between my large onions and leeks to save space. The next batch will be planted in a few days and I have yet another batch that has just been pricked out in trays. I like to sow a few seeds every 2-3 weeks to ensure I have continuity through the season. Other salads I am pulling are spring onions and radish which again are sown regularly all season.
The early sown brassicas look very healthy and I should be cutting a few Hispi cabbage before the end of the month. I have just planted out some purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and more cabbage for autumn harvesting.
The pea Twinkle flowered well and has pods developing and should give us quite a few feeds early next month. These will be followed in late July by the pea Hurst Greenshaft that have already reached the top of their net support.
Carrots, parsnips and beetroot are all growing very well. The parsnips and beetroot have been thinned out so they produce good size roots. Potatoes have really put some growth on and it won’t be long before I start lifting a few of the early Maris Bard.
My first and second sowings of runner beans have been planted and the first ones are already starting to climb the canes. My last sowing was made on the 10th June – these are just emerging under glass and will be planted out once large enough.
Sweetcorn is starting to grow despite the cold weather change after planting and I have just planted out my courgette and marrow plants now the wind has stopped blowing for a few days.
Looking around the garden and allotment despite the late start I am happy with how the plants are looking and the crops are growing. But no time to rest as the weeds also like to grow and keeping on top with a hoe is a weekly task so the plots and borders look clean and tidy at all times.