Sunday, 21 June 2015

Salad season

First of the onions
Things are finally picking up growth-wise in this stop-start summer. We haven't got much new produce yet, but a steady stream of salad leaves (rocket, red mustard, little gems and salad bowl red), some rather fine onions, radishes, mangetout and cucumbers. So it's back to a salad a day - yay.

More cucumbers
The outdoor cucumbers have sadly been devastated, as have some of the squashes and most of the sweetcorn. The asparagus seeds didn't germinate at all in this cold spring, so I've ordered some more to try again. I also had to resow a lot of the beans, but they're now finally starting to climb. On the good side we should have the first of the broad beans and beetroot and more artichokes this week and it looks like a good crop of gooseberries and strawberries will be with us shortly.

Invicta gooseberries
Tigerella is starting to show stripes
I've gone back to being organic for sorting out the aphid plague since the Bayer chemicals didn't seem to do much apart from smell nasty (they were very effective against gooseberry sawfly though). Other than the soap solution, I've tried tomato leaf spray, garlic spray and moving the plants outside to where friendly predators like ladybirds can eat the aphids (I even moved some ladybirds on to them). Both the soap and the tomato leaf spray were rather harsh on the affected plants' leaves, but the garlic spray seems pretty effective and the leaves stay green. Most of the peppers are now outside and this method also seems to work, but we'll probably have less crop that way - still, better than none.

Peppers in among the roses
The last of the plastic has come off this week, to make space for the tea garden corner. Yes, we got ourselves a couple of actual tea plants since they seem to be doing so well in Scotland where a little tea revolution is happening (sadly only for the luxury market). More on this next time, when they're hopefully planted out. I've also got six more mints (including an amazing-smelling Eau de Cologne mint) and an agastache rugosa, to go with my sage and camomile seedlings.

The tea garden corner
We've also sorted out our raspberry surround. The windbreak fabric had suffered a bit.
Autumn raspberries, with mint and tomatillo plot behind
The bluebells have gone and the hawthorn and iris are in full swing.

Sweet hawthorn blossom
Elsewhere, the lavender and roses are on the cusp of flowering and my first sweetpeas have taken off. The front garden has had an extensive weed and mulch and some very nice geraniums are in bloom.

The lavender is coming out to play
Front garden
My first sweetpeas
Happy mid-summer everyone - may the summer improve from now on!


  1. Ha some of us want sun and others want rain funny thing this gardening lark. Good luck with the asparagus peas they look amazing if you can get them going. I had good germination of them a couple of years back but the plants were pathetic - lack of water I suspect. I want a raspberry set up like you have I have mine planted along a wall in the veggie plot which is a really bad idea as picking them requires an act of contortion.

    1. Just needs to make some clearly defined requests to above, like in Gardener's Year: Please God, make it rain but only during the night and fairly lightly - except a bit heavier on the peonies...
      The peppers should have a reasonable crop even outdoors - especially if they are early varieties (and if they are not buffeted about too much by the wind.

    2. The peppers are mainly California Wonder and Alma, plus one Oda, one Wisconsin Lakes and one Padron. The chillies are already producing outside so fingers crossed for the peppers. Do you think the aubergines could manage outside as well or are they too tender? Temperatures 16-18C during the day now, down to 11-14C at night.

    3. Alma and Oda produced well outdoors last year; they are both early and so is Wisconsin Lakes. We had last year Bonica and Kaberi aubergines also outdoors - despite the miserable June both of them had several fruit

    4. OK, three aubergines have been moved outside, let's see how they do. I'm getting really fed up with these aphids!