By the dusty road
Where tired feet
Toil to and fro;
Where flaunting Sin
May see they heavenly hue,
Or weary Sorrow look from thee
Toward a tender blue.
Wow! This weather has been beastly recently. You can’t call this summer. Rain, followed by a bit of sunshine, followed by rain, more rain, and then just to finish – more rain. Blue skies only seemed to appear either first thing in the morning or late into the evening.
A semi-wet May turned into a colder and wet June. It’s been one of those years where gardening for me has not been easy. Fortunately, bad seasons are rare.
This is one of those years where I’m being tested, and I know a lot of fellow gardeners and crop growers are too.
However We’ve made it to July and I’m hopeful the weather will turn a corner for good. Watch out for that sunshine!
Most of the 6 raised beds are split into two, three and even four crops areas.
Bed 1 (each bed is 1.5m x 1.5m)
- Runner beans – the first seedlings were eaten by slugs. And the second set I’ve managed to raise about four plants.
- Peas – only now just flowering
- Spinach – I think I have about three plants that haven’t been eaten.
- Beetroot -this is doing okay. The slugs and snails can have the beet tops!
- Carrots – lack of sun is causing slow growth but they are at least still looking healthy
- Leeks – doing okay
- Kale – lost the first set of seedlings to slugs and snails. The second set leaves me with just two plants.
- Potatoes (2 varieties, both mains) – are doing favourably well in the cooler temperatures.
- Garlic – half the bed has been ravaged with rust so I dug these up yesterday. The bulbs are actually really good. So now they are drying out in the grow-house. This space has now been replace with:
- Spinach – sown 2nd July
- Kale (Dwarf green curled) – sown 2nd July
- Spring onions – sown 2nd July
- Lettuce (Iceburg) – sown 2nd July
- Tomatoes – lost four trailing plants to rain. Not replaced as yet. The ones in the raised bed are growing but too slowly.
- Strawberries – replaced some of the plants and they have grown well. Unfortunately, most of the strawberries are being ravaged by woodlice before I get a chance to pick them.
- Sweetcorn – lost a few plants to slugs and snails. I think I’ll have about 7 plants left now.
- Squash – same as above but have just 1 plant left
- Courgettes – same as above
- Cucumbers – same as above
- Raspberries – doing really well in the cooler temperatures. The plants were buzzing with bees which was nice to see.
- Rhubarb – growing well and harvested from weekly.
- Apples (espalier) (Egremont Russett) – the only good thing about this weather is that it’s kept the greenfly at bay from this espalier so it’s been able to put more energy into producing more growth and building up its resilience.
- Plum (espalier) – not affected, fortunately. The plums continue to grow!
- Cherry tree – like the apple, this is managing to spend time on growing rather than fighting off pests this yr. Just one cherry though.
- Blueberries (Patriot) – although blueberry plants like damp, cool, weather it’s slowed down the rate at which the berries have ripened. I’m still waiting. And looking at my previous yrs harvest I’m about three weeks behind.
- Blackcurrants – not a good crop. Not sure why but I’ve decided to prune it to see if it brings more currants next year.
- Redcurrants – just waiting on the currants to turn. Again, very slow due to lack of heat and sun.
- Nuts (Kentish cob) – although a strong looking hedge, not many nuts to be had.
- Hops (Fuggle) – this has gone mad! It obviously likes the wetter weather because it’s growth has tripled since last year. I have vines stretching 21 feet.
- Chives – a good harvest from these this yr. I’ve pruned it back in the hops I get a second crop.
- Dill – looking rather short and spindly. I’m not sure it likes being in clay soil.
- Thyme – growing well
- Mint (spearmint) – this got root-bound so I had to reduce it to a couple of roots and re-pot it back. It looks rather sorry for itself but hoping for a harvest later in August.
- Oregano *new for 2016* – growing well
- Rosemary – fine, no problems. New growth from its hard prune in May is already ocuring.
- Sage – growing well
- Basil – harvested and froze about 30 leaves. Cut the plant down and it’s just starting to bush out again. Fed it tomato feed.
- Chillies (Cayenne) – potted up the plants last week. They got caught in the rain, and between that and slugs and snails, the plants look a little sorry for themselves. Hoping they pick themselves up. I’ve decided because the weather is too bad to put them into the grow-house for protection and added heat.
- Lettuce (Iceburg) – soil got to compacted in the contained and growth as been rather slow.
- Spring onions – growing well but slow.
- Radishes – like the lettuce, the radishes bolted before they got to proper size which was extremely disappointing.
Pests and disease
Just the two, but they have been relentless these last few weeks – slugs and snails. No amount of picking and throwing or wool barriers have slowed these pests down. It hasn’t been unusual to pick between 50 and 70 snails up a night. I’ve never seen so many at this time of year. They have flourished in most of the garden and take up most of my time spent outdoors at the moment.
I don’t know there is really much more I could do to either prevent or contain the onslaught of the molluscs. Some summer’s you’ve just got to go with the flow and do the best you can with what you’ve got (left!).
Gardening jobs in July
- Pest alert
- Replace tomatoes (too late for seed so will need to buy plants)
- Tie up flowering perennials
- Plant cabbage plants
- Dig up garlic
What are you up to in the garden this month? Share your comments and ideas below. I look forward to seeing them.
Have a great green week and I’ll catch you next Monday.