June is one of the best months in the garden, it’s not producing loads but the berries are starting, it’s all looking green and and if you have them, the flowers are blooming.
It’s also really busy. For the first time in six years, I have all the beds built and filled and most of them are planted, I also have eight blueberry bushes in pots, three blackberries, nine pots of mints, an old tin bath with strawberries in it, 12 pots of potatoes and a polytunnel. Which means that watering takes over an hour, two 10 litre cans don’t go as far as you think. It’s also time to tell you again that if you are complaining about ‘hand watering’ with a hose, I don’t want to hear it, it’s not a hardship!
Yes, I do ask whose stupid idea it was to have a full plot and to grow so many things that need watering and it was my idea, I did this to myself. I only do a full watering of the plot on the weekend though. I will if it doesn’t rain do a midweek watering of the greedy crops. Right now that’s the polytunnel, the squash, the tomatoes and the blueberries if they are looking wilt-y. All of those crops except the blueberries will only get thirstier as they grow.
If you didn’t read my post on Monday, you won’t know that my annual ‘the bastard bitey insects bit me’ post happened this week. Ma did not get bitten at all, I got a double dose of possible spider bites on my arm during the week AND ants biting my neck on Saturday! I need to take more anti histamines to keep at the plot and get some more insect repellant which I need to use more frequently.
We got strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and the first blackcurrants this week though so I can’t be too mad about it. The strawberries were amazing and we are going to grow many more of them, in towers not because I love watering pots but because it’ll protect them from the slugs.
The slugs are out in force, I’ve got some damage on the beans and courgettes and in the poly too, I think that I’ll see how it goes but it might be time to nemaslug those buggers, I’m also going to buy some ant baits for the poly and around the blackcurrants. I’m not keen on bitey bloody ants and I know that they are important for the ecosystem but it seems like there are more of them this year.
Ma and I thought that we were going to really concentrate on the weeding this week. However, it’s June, it takes at least an hour to water and another to pick fruit so that’s two hours gone. It was apparent that we had to pull the other bed of garlic up as the rust had got to it. We bought a mixed bunch of garlic last year, some early, some late and it’s now apparent that we need to grow early garlic, which we can over winter and harvest early (last year we harvested about this time but this year we did it two weeks ago and the rust really got a hold in those two weeks!). Some of the onions are falling over so I think they’re be ready in the next week or so. The garlic and onion beds will get a top up of compost and then in July will be planted up with brassicas. After that, I’m thinking that the ‘onion’ bed will be my asparagus bed, I think it’ll happily take eight to ten crowns and yes I know that the best time to plant asparagus is last season but it’s taken me this long to know that I want to grow it.
I’ll also digress from the allotment to talk about what I bought this week. Thanks to a Grow Your Own magazine offer, I’ve spent £22 and got myself a lime tree, a lemon tree and a cherry bush. The lime and lemon are in a 9 cm pot, so I’ll need to be patient about getting fruit, the cherry comes in a three litre pot so will be a little bit more established but not that much! I’m excited!
Back to the plot. While I watered, Ma started to cut down the chard, which is a huge undertaking. We harvested and then I ‘loved’ my tomato babies. The ‘hospital’ bed outside has a couple of plants that are doing well and a couple that I’m dubious about, the six in the poly are doing well. The three good beds, which have Amish Paste, Feo de Rio Gordo, Gardeners Sweetheart, Yellow Millefleur. Black Russian and Tigerella are all doing well, there are baby flowers on the Tigerella already but tomatoes are a marathon in the UK not a sprint, it’s a long time from now until August!
While I was tending to my babies, Ma weeded the back bed. I took some time to point out to her what the lavender looked liked. At one point she asked me if she should weed the rocket, I said yes. This was a mistake as she pulled up one of my lavenders. It was the Edelweiss lavender. I rescued it from the weed bag, trimmed it and potted it up in new compost, it’s had a heavy watering and we’ll see if it lives. Ma gets annoyed with me because I let most of the borage and oregano that self seeds live but that is no excuse for killing innocent lavender plants, and it’s not the first time she’s done it either. How can you so consistently mistake lavender for rocket or rosemary?
More weeding to do next week, we need to finish that back bed (but clearly, Ma won’t be allowed to do it on her own! Once it’s weeded, I’m going to lay down more cardboard, water it and add used potato compost from the pots to mulch and feed that soil (it was a very weedy area and it’s going to take some work). Over the next year, I’m going to look at densely planting at the front of the plot and in the rose and plot area, to suppress some weeds and distract from ones that will persist. If I had my way, I’ll just plant more lavender, it’s my favourite..