Rain, rain and yet more rain! I can’t remember a spring/early summer like it! My broad beans, though there was a mass of bloom, haven’t set pods as there have been no bees around to pollinate. My courgette plants, lettuce, and summer cabbage have been ravaged – yes, ravaged – by slugs, even though I’ve spoken seriously to our hedgehog about this – he says he just can’t keep up with them! And to cap it all, the voles have eaten off the spring onions and leek plants – AND I’ve got blight in my spuds.
There, that’s got that off my chest, and here’s hoping for better luck next year.
In the vegetable garden there should be peas, broad beans (if you have any), new potatoes and shallots to harvest. There’s still time to sow beetroot, spring onions and lettuce, and now is the time to plant out more leeks, cabbage and broccoli for winter cropping.
On a brighter note, the flower garden is an absolute jungle, with growth in profusion and, though a little late, blooms are now flourishing, particularly the roses.
Remember to keep dead heading, particularly sweet peas, because if you leave the pods to form and develop they will definitely stop flowering. Other plants are not so bad, but dead heading does make the plants produce more, and it also keeps everything looking tidy.
As lilies cease flowering, cut off the whole flower head, but leave the stems with leaves to continue growing. if they are in pots, keep feeding with tomato fertilizer to fatten up the bulbs for next year. I really recommend growing lilies in big pots, particularly Regale: the scent from them is wonderful – it fills our courtyard, particularly in the evening. If you’re going to do this, place the bulbs on their sides in the compost to prevent water lodging in the crowns and causing rot.
There’s not much else to report, as plants have been planted and crops should be being harvested, but look out for more gardening tips in the next issue.
August 2012 issue (Fete Special)