Looking back at my post for June, I see I expected to be watering my garden but that didn’t turn out to be the case. In fact June was quite wet, with 85 mm of rain (as measured by my rain-gauge), which is higher than the June average of 60 mm. And while it’s nice not to have to water, it would have been even nicer if it had been a bit warmer. So while things are growing, they’re only growing slowly.
My Garden in June
Nevertheless I did get everything I’d planned to do in June done. I planted out chard, black kale and sprouting broccoli in my raised beds, and outdoor cucumbers in grow-bags in my cold-frame. But as far as harvesting goes, June’s not been brilliant. I’ve had some radishes, spring onions and rocket, but the spinach continues to sulk and the ‘speedy’ salad mix bolted before it had grown to a useable size, both of which are a bit disappointing. I did, however, get a decent crop of rhubarb, with more to come.
There were, of course, other things to do in June – pinching out the tops of broad beans, and thinning out the apples and plums. The latter took me ages so I was annoyed, to say the least, when I returned from a few days away to find that most of the plums on the top half of my tree had vanished. I blame it on the pigeons and blackbirds which have been even more of a nuisance than usual, pecking at seedlings and digging stuff up. What do I keep a cat for?
I’d sowed most of my seeds in April, but towards the end of June I sowed some white foxgloves since the plants I grew last year are all flowering at the moment and look fantastic. I’m also growing chillies indoors this year and they’re doing really well so I’ve sown some chilli seeds for plants I can overwinter inside and I’ve just seen one coming up.
Gardening in July
So what will I be up to in July? I still have some seeds to sow – radicchio and spring cabbages. Radicchio are a bit of an experiment although I have grown them before (not successfully) but it would be good if they worked since it’s difficult to find radicchio in the shops. The spring cabbages I planted last year weren’t that successful either – they were rather coarse so the chickens are eating them. But I’ll have one more go. The fruit – black and red currants, jostaberries and strawberries – will all need netting. This is a bit of a pain to set up but definitely worth it to keep the pesky blackbirds (I love them really!) from eating the entire crop.
Harvesting in July
I’ll still be harvesting spring onions, and the garlic ought to be ready towards the end of July, if the white rot doesn’t get to it first. The broccoli is hearting up so that will be the next crop to harvest, and the redcurrants are reddening, so I might get some of those quite soon. My new potatoes have flowers on them – a sign they’re almost ready to lift but I’ve noticed blackleg on two plants so I hope they don’t all succumb. I dug up one of the affected plants and got quite a few decent-sized potatoes. I see I’ve already got courgettes forming on my courgette plants so should have some of those to harvest in the next month.
The Flower Garden in July
With the veg garden taking so much effort, the flower garden is expected to get on by itself but by this time of the year I usually have to stake the tall stuff. I hate staking things, so I’ve already lost a couple of delphinium spikes to the wind, and the poppies all sagged. I bought a new David Austin rose last year which has grown well but the flowers are so heavy the branches are drooping so I’ve had to find a support for that too. It would be nice if my flowers could get on with it without help!
The Herb Garden in July
The herb garden will also need a bit of work in July. I trimmed a couple of topiary box plants a few weeks ago but now I need to tackle my bay tree standards which are growing amazingly but rather too vigorously. I used to have quite a big herb garden before it was given over to chickens and fruit bushes, but I’m still quite interested in growing herbs and hope to plant up a herb bed in the community garden once there’s space. So I’m intending having a go at propagating herbs from cuttings. I’ve only recently experimented with propagation but it’s been surprisingly successful. Almost 80% of my box cuttings rooted, and jostaberry and philadelphus cuttings were equally successful. Taking soft-wood cuttings from some of my herbs should be easy (in theory), so that’s another job I’ll be tackling in July.
Is there no end to the work in a garden? No, but it’s fun. So, happy gardening, and here’s hoping for a barbeque summer!