What's to say about a garden in full bloom?
Yes, we had a hard spell of very dry cool weather but deep soil and good shelter gave our plants effective protection and, after 3 wet days, everything is growing hard.
At the end of June most of our crops can look after themselves as their vigorous canopies of leaves dominate the remaining weeds. The season for regular hoeing is over and the season of harvesting is just beginning.
Already we have bumper crops of salad – lettuce, rocket and spinach – as you can see from the pictures.
The new “city” garden is working out well after our “experiment” to quickly transform
rugged turf into productive soil. Broad beans, beetroot, salad and potatoes all seem to be doing their stuff – and the weeding problems have been minimal.
We have got the main broccoli crop out of the greenhouse now and into the netted enclosures.
Once in the ground it is amazing just how quickly these small brassicas grow – both curly kale and broccoli are doing well with no damage from butterflies and minimal damage from slugs.
At the other end of the garden the flowers, strawberries, thornless blackberry and potatoes are all blooming. The soft fruits seem to be almost 3 weeks late this year – a testament to the terrible cold spring.
Here you can see the sweetcorn, potatoes and parsnips creating a sea of green leaves which keeps all the weeds under control:
In the south part of the garden,
next to the beech hedges,
the runner beans have now escaped
the predations of the local slugs and
are rushing up their strings
as only beans can do.
On our fruit trees we have a great crop of plums and, magically, the six or seven peaches continue to do well.
The peach tree and the plum trees grow with such vigour it is positively scary.
Down at the bottom of the garden (the west end wall) we've been building up our big compost bins regularly with the material we scythe away from the orchard and the trees. We can pile up the heaps to reach the top of the wall but in a few days all subsides to what you see here. The left hand bin is fairly full now and will be emptied at Christmas.
In the shady north west corner of the garden we have this year's pumpkins and courgette plants – they are just getting going now and will soon spread to cover the entire bed. No doubt the pumpkins will escape into the nearby blackcurrant bushes!
In the greenhouse most of the young seedlings have been planted out now. We just have the basil, tomatoes and grape vine – all doing well. There is more basil just starting off in the seed tray for planting up to make our annual harvest for pesto in a couple of months time.
Out in the wild flower meadow there is some heavy over-growth to control. It may look pretty frightening but it is soon cut down with a sharp scythe. This is exactly the type of work where the Scottish pattern scythe excels – much stronger and easier to wield than the lighter Austrian version.
Soon the major task of harvesting will begin. First the strawberries and the new potatoes. Then the thornless blackberry to be followed by the main crop of blackcurrants and gooseberries.
Tomatoes will soon be ready in the greenhouse and even the peas are almost ready to crop this year. The harvest (including preparing for storage in the deep freeze) can never be delayed – it is the busiest time of year because the fruit won't wait (if you want to beat the hungry birds and wasps).