Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. – John Lubbock
Well, I am pleased to report I wasn’t wrong about my hopes for July. The weather improved ten-fold and with it came better crops, harvests and flowers galore in the garden. Plants that I thought would never survive their slug damage suddenly got up and shrugged off their slimy pests. It really was a sight to behold and we even got a heatwave. It only lasted three days – but it was enough!
Plants that I thought would never survive the slug damage that had been relentlessly inflicted upon them suddenly got up and shrugged off their slimy pests. It really was a sight to behold and we even got a heatwave. It only lasted three days – but it was enough!
July was what gardening was made for. Long sunny days pottering with plants, getting your hands dirty and watching the wondrous world of plants grow magically before your eyes.
Here’s to a sun filled, plentiful cropping August!
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 – following slug-gate I’m down to a mere three plants this yr. I won’t be jumping in bean joy this yr that’s for sure. Starting off seedlings in pots is the only way to go next yr (I just hope I remember!).
- Peas – so many peas! I’ve harvested over 200 pods. The entire support collapsed under the weight which was my bad but even so the harvest I’ve received was astounding. I’ll definitely be growing peas again next yr. Each pod had at least 8-10 peas. And so very, very tasty!
- Spinach – The three plants that survived the slug onslaught have been more than enough. Bushy, compact plants with plenty of leaves to pick and enjoy.
- Beetroot -little and often I have been harvesting these and while they are small they taste extremely sweet.
- Carrots – pulled the first few up this weekend and pleased to see they look rather nice. Small but that’s only because I’ve sown them tight – like the beetroot. It doesn’t effect the taste.
- Leeks – still doing okay
- Kale – I’m down to one very sad looking plant not worth harvesting. Another crop that needed to be started in pots.
- Potatoes (2 varieties, both mains) – rather than the main crop I was hoping for the plants seem to have created many smaller “new” potatoes. This is because I was unable to earth them up properly earlier in th year. I haven’t tried them yet but they look good.
- Spinach – few seedlings have started to appear.
- Kale (Dwarf green curled) – nothing to record yet
- Spring onions – quite a few, in patches have germinated and are growing well.
- Lettuce (Iceburg) – nothing to record yet
- Tomatoes – these have really taken off. The tumbling varieties are spreading and the cordons are rising up fast. All plants have now got flowers on them.
- Strawberries – managed to harvest about 15 strawberries in the end – ha, suck on that slugs! (And they did!).
- Sweetcorn – what started off as a slow growing crop is now starting to really make growth gains. There are about 7 plants.
- Squash – a couple of plants are being dwarfed by the courgette plants but they are still growing.
- Courgettes – this is my star crop for 2016. Never again will I bother to grow courgettes in a grow-house. This year I’ve harvested about 10 courgettes just from one plant, including one huge marrow that I purposely left (so it could be stuffed it with rice, garlic and mushrooms). The courgette plants went from limp sad specimens to the titans of the garden.
- Cucumbers – a couple of plants are showing good growth but I can’t see any cucumbers – yet.
- Raspberries – I’m all “raspberried” out…so many fruits and not enough time to eat them, give them away. A very good harvest this year.
- Rhubarb – still growing, although it’s starting to slow down now.
- Apples (espalier) (Egremont Russett) – the lack of green-fly has really helped this espallier. I’m keeping a very close eye on the only apple that is growing this yr – it’s nearly ready.
- Plum (espalier) – have started to harvest the plums. I’ve also tied the third yr of growth in.
- Cherry tree – this has a few vigorous green side shoots coming up from the ground and I’m not sure what to do with them. Apart from that it’s not doing a lot this yr.
- Blueberries (Patriot) – another trooper cropper for 2016. I’ve had three really harvests from this pot grown plant, and still another to go.
- Blackcurrants – these are really slow growing plants. Got less than a handful of berries so far.
- Redcurrants – the first time I’ve had a good (although only a handful) harvest this yr. Not quite enough for making jelly but maybe next yr.
- Nuts (Kentish cob) – I’ve had to do a summer prune on this hedge because it must have out on 3ft (1m) of growth in less than four weeks!
- Hops (Fuggle) – our house now looks like a scene from a horror movie as the hops take over the entire back wall of the house! Okay, it’s not quite that bad but next yr I think three shoots will be more than enough. The five have thrown out countless more side shoots as they’ve made their ascent up the string and along the walls. The hops are just now starting to form.
- Chives – still waiting for the second havest which has been delayed due to hot weather and drier conditions.
- Dill – having diligently watered this it appears to be looking slightly better
- Thyme – one plant is plenty, and very pretty.
- Mint (spearmint) – the couple of roots I re-potted last month have taken off without any bother.
- Oregano – growing exceedingly well in a pot. Plenty to harvest.
- Rosemary – growing back well after it’s May prune.
- Sage – has taken off in a mad surge with the recent hot weather. I’ll harvest the leaves and dry them out.
- Basil – this plant hasn’t disappointed. I’m about to harvest a significant amount of leaves from it for the second time this yr.
- Chillies (Cayenne) -these are only starting to get bushy growth and the flowers are increasing day by day so I’m hopeful for a good harvest this month and next.
- Lettuce (Iceburg) – not having much luck with lettuce. I didn’t both to replace what I’ve already grown. It’s still in a pot but it never gets any bigger – I find lettuce a mystery.
- Spring onions – still growing well and still slow. I don’t think I’ll be harvesting these until next yr.
- Radishes – have re-sown the radishes which are just germinating now.
Pests and disease
I don’t want to speak too soon but the slugs and snails are more under control. The blackbirds and sparrows are helping me where they can too.
Gardening jobs in August
- Pest alert continues – never let your guard down!
- Start to pull up any harvested crops
- Tie up flowering perennials
- Deadhead flowers
- Start to cut back the fruited raspberry canes
- Keep a close eye on watering plants – early in the morning where possible
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.