This month got off to a good start, with warm sunny days after the high rainfall at the end of July, and our thoughts are with those affected by severe flooding with homes and livelihoods threatened or lost. I’m sure the reasons will be debated long and hard, but you can’t stop a flood with words – solutions are needed.
With such severe weather, though not in my part of North Wales, I was grateful that we live on the side of a mountain and well away from anything more than a mountain spring or two. But the rain we had did wonders for the vegetable garden, though the flower borders have suffered a little in the dry spells.
My runner beans are cropping nicely. My freezer is getting full and I’ve resorted to salting them and giving them away. And now the climbing beans have begun.
The long and the short and the curly
What a whopper!
And the runner beans (growing right to left) finally met the climbing beans growing left to right.
I did some more work on my very shady border – what I will now call Compost Corner, as I installed a second square compost bin after digging out soil, roots, stones etc. Now I need to decide what to do with the remainder of this border – another bin or purpose-built greenhouses to suit the size of the border (70cms front to back by 250 cms long – that’s just over 8 feet x 2 feet 3 inches).
By the middle of the month, the first compost bin was almost overflowing after I pulled up chard, radishes, and lettuce – all had bolted. I topped it off with a bag of rotting leaves (courtesy of my neighbour’s trees last autumn). Then we had to move everything from Bin 1 to Bin 2 as Bin 1 began to come apart. All sorted now, and a good excuse to turn the compost. The green bin is almost empty.
The dangers of growing carrots in raised beds with stones! Tasted nice though. Now I just need to keep the rabbits away! We thought we had a problem with moles on one of our outhouses. A hole appeared in a shed that has an external stone wall – on the day we found a rabbit in the garden. As we are almost a walled garden, it could only have come in by
- Jumping over the wall from the field at the back
- Being dropped by a (large) bird flying overhead
- Through the new hole
It took us an hour to find then catch the rabbit, which we released back into the field.
The week commencing 12 August was a washout. Constant showers with a few short spells of sun may have helped the vegetables to grow, but prevented me from de-caterpillaring my broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and their leaves have taken on a lovely lacy appearance.
The dreaded Large Cabbage White caterpillars were in evidence. So far I’ve only seen one green Small Cabbage White (but then I wasn’t looking very hard). This is a lesson learnt. Pretty though these butterflies are, I should have checked before now. I’ll be trying these brassicas again in the Community Garden, so better access to the beds should help, and lots of netting. However, by the end of the month, the broccoli appeared to be making a comeback, and the caterpillars have gone into hiding as I couldn’t see any.
BUT what do you do with the caterpillars when you’ve picked them off?
Everything, or so it seems at the moment, is dependent upon something else happening or someone else doing something and at the right time.
Time has been taken up filling our bed – and others – at the Community Garden and some fence building.
My courgettes continue to flower and begin to produce fruits, but so far they haven’t grown to any usable size before they drop off the plant. Moving each one into a former potato pot has helped as it has given it more room and some shelter.
My Japanese/Chinese Anemones are already in bud, and I spotted a lovely dark pink one in the garden centre, but have no room for it until I move some plants from the front border. Apparently, this new one is compact, I just wish I’d made a note of the name.
These squashes are taking over Raised Bed A. I’m just going to let them do their own thing – and see what turns up. I’ve only planted Courgette di Nizza (and I know where they are). I think these are the butternut squash that failed to germinate in the greenhouse, and I threw the compost and seeds onto a raised bed.
The August bank holiday weekend saw dry and hot weather – too hot to work in for much of the day, but I got some jobs done that were on my list.
Saturday – I weeded then added gravel to my Sedum and Sempervivum bed.
I weeded my herb bed and cut down the woody herbs – oregano, marjoram and thyme.
I made a start on trimming my lavender, doing my best to leave any stems that had new flowers on them.
And the campanula were looking a bit sorry for themselves. It’s always good to have a clear out
Cutting down the lavender allows sedum Autumn Joy to be seen properly now it’s getting ready to flower
What will September bring?