Water, water, water keeps the garden rosy

Water, water, water keeps the garden rosy

July 2013

I love to see the sun as much as anybody and it certainly makes the plants grow, but they could also do with a shower of rain from time to time.

Unfortunately we have not had a drop of rain for weeks, so my main job every evening is watering. In the garden I use the water accumulated in the water butts, but these are now running dry so I have to fill up from the mains tap. Watering all the pots, baskets and greenhouses takes about half an hour each night and the odd plant also needs watering in the borders to stop it wilting in the heat taking another half an hour. This needs to be done to keep the display looking good.

Back garden border

Back garden border

Once the garden is completed I walk up the allotment and meet up with fellow allotment holders at the local watering hole, sadly not a pub, but a refillable tank of water where we dunk our cans to water our crops. This gives me plenty of exercise as I carry two 2-gallon cans from the tank to my plot several times a night and the tank is about 100 feet from my plot. I only concentrate watering on crops like runner & French beans, seedlings, courgettes, marrows and anything that has been freshly planted. This usually takes another hour before walking over to the polytunnel plot and watering the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

Part of plot in July

Part of plot in July

Despite the lack of natural water the garden borders are looking good. Being a late season the delphiniums started to flower later and have lasted a long while, still looking good now. The lupins continue to bloom and various other perennials are starting to show colour.

 

Delphiniums & Lupins flowering well in border

Delphiniums & lupins flowering well in border

The summer bedding is all starting to bloom and fill out the space, reducing the need to weed as the ground is covered.

One of the borders filling with colour and no room for weeds

One of the borders filling with colour and no room for weeds

The roses planted in the front garden have looked superb, they must have loved the cool spring because I have never seen better foliage colour and the blooms seem of a more intense colour. Two of my favourite varieties are ‘Just Joey’ and ‘Lovely Lady’ both planted in memory of my Mum & Dad, as she was a lovely lady and one of Dad’s favourite roses was ‘Just Joey’.

Rose Lovely Lady

Rose’ Lovely Lady’

Rose Just Joey

Rose ‘Just Joey’

I have a wall around the garden retaining the soil of the second layer of garden which I use to put pots of plants. This year I have added to this display with some pots of strawberries – they look really healthy and are starting to produce fruit which I pick regularly and add to my morning cereal.

Strawberries fruiting in pots

Strawberries fruiting in pots

Earlier in year T&M gave out some yellow Lily bulbs to grow out and take pictures. Mine are now flowering and look very impressive.

T&M Competition Lily in flower & looking impressive

T&M competition lily in flower & looking impressive

The begonias in the greenhouse are blooming nicely now and the large flowers need supporting with some special wire supports to hold the blooms upright and facing me. I must admit it has become a family joke with my wife and children, as they know if they can’t find me in the mornings I must be out in the greenhouse talking to the begonias. I am not talking but I will be fiddling with them supporting blooms, tying up stems or just admiring the blooms.

 

Begonia flowering

Begonia flowering

some of my begonias in greenhouse

Some of my begonias in greenhouse

On the Allotment the first batch of runner beans are at the top of the canes and starting to bloom. The first batch of French beans are flowering and just setting beans , so won’t be long before they are ready to eat. I have just sown another batch and these should be ready to harvest in around 8-10 weeks.

Runner beans flowering with french beans in front

Runner beans flowering with french beans in front

Courgettes and marrows are fruiting and being harvested regularly. Don’t worry if you get white markings on foliage like mine , this is natural and not a disease. The sweetcorn has finally started to move and is looking very healthy now and under sowing with radish was well worth doing.

Courgette fruiting , don't worry about white markings on foliage

Courgette fruiting – don’t worry about white markings on foliage

I am still harvesting spring onions, radish and lettuce and I can now add beetroot to this. I am also still sowing radish and lettuce every 2-3 weeks so I have a regular supply through to the autumn.

Sweet corn under sown with radish

Sweetcorn under sown with radish

I finished picking the pea Twinkle at the beginning of the month and I harvested over 1500g of shelled peas from that row. These tasted lovely, but even sweeter are the Hurst Green Shaft peas I have just started to harvest.  Once I complete the harvesting the old vines will be pulled up and put on the compost heap, then the ground will be prepared and the space filled with another crop of French beans or lettuce.

Exhibition onions interplanted with lettuce and exhibition leeks piped

Exhibition onions interplanted with lettuce and exhibition leeks piped

The exhibition onions have been slow to bulk up this year, but are now starting. The leeks have had their pipes put on to blanch the stems and newspaper will be added around the tops to block out the light and stop the leaves from rubbing the pipe.

Shallots drying

Shallots drying

Shallots have been lifted and laid out to dry, and the space filled with the Kohl Rabi and lettuce plants sown last month. I have sprayed the potato crop twice this year as prevention against blight, as the hot humid weather we have been having is the ideal condition for this to appear. The Maris Bard potatoes I have been harvesting have been delicious and are sadly almost finished, but then I will start lifting some Kestrel, another favourite of mine.

Polytunnel plot in July , tomatoes, Cucumbers and peppers

Polytunnel plot in July – tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers

At our allotment we are lucky to have a communal polytunnel split up into individual plots. In mine the tomatoes are growing well and being fed on a weekly basis, the cucumbers are producing small fruits and growing so much I have to tie the plants in every other day. Unlike tomatoes that are fed with high potash tomato feed, the cucumbers are fed with dried blood. I give each plant one teaspoon full per week, keeping it away from the stem and then watering it in.

I must go now as so much to harvest and prepare for dinner before I start all that watering again.

Happy Gardening!

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