Monthly Round-up: June

Peas and Sweet Peas

Are doing well. Not yet an overabundance, but soon, perhaps. And there are – finally – flower buds on the perennial sweet pea tower.

Leeks, Shallots and Other Onions

I sowed leek seeds on 18 February; by 3 April some had germinated. I moved them into larger pots on 20 May when, according to various sources, they should be as thick as a pencil and ready to go outside into a nursery bed to grow on a bit until I’m ready to move them to their final spot. Mine were nowhere near pencil-thick, more like cocktail stick!

And then I read a blog (which I can’t find) which suggested leeks should be ‘topped and tailed’ (trim the shoots and roots) which should encourage them to fatten up. Well they were no good to me as they were, so I did as suggested and took the tops off by half. The next morning, I decided to put them into larger pots again (roots were coming out of the bottom of the pots), so decided to nip the roots off, leaving about half-an-inch (2.5cms) and dropped each one into a long hole made by a dibber (shorter roots mean they push into the hole with little or no problem). I watered them in, topped off with loose compost – and realised I had nowhere to keep them other than the garden – so I’ve buried the pots in the front of my sunnier raised bed at home.

There are only seven leeks in each pot, so plenty of room for them to grow. As they outgrow their pots, it’s a matter of pulling the pot out, loosening the soil at the bottom of the hole and adding fresh compost, then removing the leeks from the pot and putting them in the hole. Simples! (A week later and they are growing).

With the roots pushing out of the bottom of the pots, I’ve squeezed the Welsh Onions into my raised beds. The white ones in Raised Bed A (sunny) and I split the clump into three; the red are in Raised Bed B (partial shade) and remain in one clump.

I never thought of growing shallots, but an incorrect order last year gave me these ‘Jermor’ shallots at no cost, so in they went. They are now dividing and splitting nicely; unless they taste horrible, I’ll be growing shallots again. (But by 20 June, and after a night of rain, the foliage is flopping over so I tried a couple. Because they are only small, the taste is stronger than I expected).

While the onions at the allotment are growing well, the few I had leftover and planted in tubs at home, are not doing as well. They are both in a sunny position and have plenty to drink. Time to feed I think.

The spring onion seeds I sowed in Raised Bed B have done nothing, while those I sowed two weeks later into a hanging basket have germinated and are growing.

Herbs

I’ve potted on pots of herbs: left to right Greek basil, black cumin, sage, red Welsh Onions, white Welsh onions (see above). Also sowed thyme seeds into four small pots (which may be too much, but it’s great for bees).

Salads

Some salad leaves and pea shoots planted. These will be picked small and added to larger lettuce leaves to increase the flavour. By mid-June, I’d sown two sets of pea-shoot seeds, with no sign of growth. They have one final chance to shine.

Raspberry (Yummy)

I’ve had two precious fruits in this plant for weeks and was determined that I was the only living thing that was going to eat them; so the plant was potted on into a larger pot and I made a temporary fruit cage with canes and netting. And then I ate one of the raspberries!

Carrots

Still growing in a pot in the potting shed at the start of the month, transferred to Raised Bed A a week later.

Salsify

Another new crop (and food) for me. At the first sign of roots at the bottom, they’ll have to be planted in the raised bed. (Update: a week after this photograph was taken, there was no sign of any seedlings). More planted – outside this time

Jerusalem Artichokes

…were outgrowing their small pots at the start of this month. Time to move them on to their final pots – planting them in a mixture of all-purpose compost mixed with last year’s potato compost.

Brassicas

With the weather being so cold in May, I delayed sowing brassica seeds (other than the ‘Golden Acre’ seeds mentioned previously). On 6 June I sowed some Chinese Cabbage (Wong Bak), two seeds to a pot. I’ve not grown this before and the packet says sow indoors or outdoors up to May. I don’t think a week will make any difference. These are now planted out in Raised Bed A. The cages will stop the cabbage white butterflies but won’t stop slugs and snails. Plastic bottle cloches to the rescue.

I’ve also sowed some Chinese Kale (rear cage) and more Beetroot – not Boltardy (front),

The cages were covered temporarily because of falling Laburnum blossom and Poplar catkins from my neighbour’s garden (that have blocked our gutters and have – so far- filled a bin liner).

The Front Borders and Pots

I started by cutting back some of my neighbour’s overhanging sycamore trees; naturaly, I gave him the trimmings back (chucked them over the collapsing wall). Then I cut back all the Japanese Anemone shoots and leaves. The next day, I dug out as many of the anemones as I could find, and cleared a space large enough to plant out the wildflower seedlings I grew from seed. These are from the bee and butterfly friendly packet I bought last year, not the mix I made myself and scattered a few weeks ago (of which there are no sign).

I also planted out some white cosmos seedlings – again grown by me from seed – in the spaces left now the crocus and dwarf narcissi foliage has died back. Then I removed the dead fuchsia – one of two that have sat either side of my front step for at least eight years, I’ve replaced it with eight of the hebe ‘Champagne Ice’ cuttings I took in the autumn of 2019.

Finally, I filled two ‘urns’ with alpine strawberry plants I pulled out from between the loose brick paths beneath the front windows. I don’t know how they ever grow as the bricks sit on concrete and I’ve never purposely brushed soil into the cracks, but they run and grow and flower and produce fruit regardless.

Another example of something thriving by neglect. The peonies are out and the sedums are colouring up.

Alpine Strawberries

All for me

Overhanging Trees

Plane tree catkins, laburnum blossom, sycamore (and retaliation).

Vertical Gardening

There are plans afoot to replace this trellis with horizontal bars (from new roofing battens). Until we get round to it (or it breaks). I’m using these hanging pot holders to grow salad things on the shadier side, and flowering plants on the sunny side – one begonnia (saved from last year’s charity pot), three pinks, and Mystery Plant Two (ammi majus).

Beauty and Beasties

It’s a Mystery (not any longer)

One – the label says nasturtium, but it looks like a tomato to me

Two – The label says basil. It might be a carrot or parsnip or…? There is no smell from the foliage. (I now belive it is a stray ammi majus seed from when I sowed some in modules last autumn – some germinated then died. It now has a small white flower like cow parsley). And there is a second one in the front border from the mixed seeds I sprinkled a few weeks back.

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