This month saw me harvesting some of the goodies I planted – and adding to them.
The lettuce Salad Bowl has done very well and we are eating the leaves every couple of days – in fact we could probably eat it every day, twice a day, and it would still grow – so that’s a success. But it’s a bit boring, so I’ve sown Lambs Lettuce to give some variety.
The dwarf peas Kelvedon Wonder have produced pods – but I should have planted more as one pod per plant is a bit mean. Maybe it has something to do with the cold weather in April when I sowed the seeds in the greenhouse. Anyway, I soaked some seeds for a couple of days then planted them in among the rest of the peas. Hopefully they’ll grow.
Runner beans have at last started to grow and twine around the arch, but they are shorter than expected, though they have produced a flowers. I’ve scattered some chicken poo pellets around the raised beds.
A bumper crop of radishes – but they bolted while I was away on holiday at the beginning of the month. Lesson One: pick them while they are still small.
A delay with the beetroot as the first lot of seeds planted – indoors in pots – disappeared. So I’m trying again.
On a positive note, the bricks are slowly disappearing. A concerted effort on the 19th reduces the stack to a more manageable level and saw me complete the rustic path along the side of the garage; and start building a small wall. Then my husband got fed up!!
It’s not perfect but no-on else will see it – and a few years out in all weathers will clean the bricks off and make them look like new (I hope). The bricks on the right-hand side were supposed to stand on edge but the gap was too small (a ledge of concrete is holding up the boundary wall).
At the end of the month and we are on our fifth week without significant rainfall. The small water butt is empty; the larger one full, but still inaccessible due to bricks. It’s a constant battle to know which plants require water – and which can go without. I’m working on the assumption that if it isn’t a vegetable or fruit and it’s already flowered, then it can manage without, for now.
I had to resort to using the hosepipe a few times; in the front garden to keep my Astilbe plants alive – they were looking very sorry for themselves, with shrivelled leaves and the emerging flower heads drooping. A couple of good drinks saw them perking up.
We have now started conserving our ‘grey’ water – washing up in a bowl and tipping that water into a bucket or watering can outside; also collecting our shower water (blocking the hole with a sink plunger and scooping the water out with a plastic jug into a bucket). This is no good for vegetables, but might keep the astilbes alive for a few more weeks – and my container-grown fuschias.
Lesson Two: More water butts or other water storage (I have two plastic refuse bins doing nothing).
The weather suits the lavender on the side border as it is full of flowers, and the accompanying insects. It also suits the two sunflowers my brother gave me – over five feet tall now (his are still two – three feet).
I currently have four tomato plants in one large pot; they have some flowers but not a lot. I forgot to feed them until nearly the end of the month. The lower leaves have turned yellow – from either overwatering/underwatering/no nutrients/hot weather/overcrowding. I don’t know whether to separate them into individual pots this late on.
I have had three out of four cucumber seeds sprout successfully; though they are still too small to put into the garden, they have been left outside overnight with plenty of water.
I spent a morning tidying up the front garden; cutting of iris and London Pride stems, pulling weeds and tidying the area at the bottom of my boundary wall along the pavement. As the house shades the front garden in the mornings, it was the coolest place to work – a luxury.
I also cut back some of my neighbour’s overhanging branches because they were obscuring my view leaving the drive – naturally, I gave him all the cuttings back (over the wall into the overgrown woodland).
There’s still a lot to do. More seeds to sow and seedlings to plant out. Everyone is enjoying the glorious weather (though we spend most of the day inside hiding behind closed blinds. I never thought I’d say this, but . . .
Can we have some rain please?