Summer – what Summer?

So far this month we’ve had rain, cloud, wind, temperatures down to less than 10degC and just occasionally – sun.

Basically conditions more akin to early spring or autumn than summer.  True to form as I write this to complain about the weather, the sun has been out today – temperatures have reached the heady heights of 19degC! Forecast says we have a couple more days of this, then back to rain and wind….

Needless to say the plants in the garden do not appreciate this at all. Worst affected have been the cucumber plants that looked so healthy in the last post – basically they are now virtually dead (see pic below). The courgettes have managed to hang on though – and even look as though they are going to produce.

I planted two tomatoes in one of the raised beds and since then they have hardly grown, but at least they have survived and maybe the few days of good weather this week will get them going.

The broad beans have survived the winds and are beginning to set beans, and the peas are just starting to come into flower. The french beans too seem to have coped, though they can’t be said to be racing away. However, the climbing french beans have been attacked either by slugs or pigeons, or both. So the growing tips of a couple of them have gone and leaves have bits missing. So an application of slug pellets plus some netting round them has hopefully brough the damage to a halt and they can get on with growing.

Amazingly, in the soft fruit assemblage, the redcurrants are starting to ripen – which means I need to net them as last year the birds had the lot. The blackcurrants look as if they are going to produce a reasonable crop as well. One of the gooseberry bushes suffered over winter, and so isn’t producing anything but the others including one planted this spring do have some fruit on. One spectacular bush is one of the container grown blueberry bushes which is absolutely laden, the other couple have some but not as many.

The salad seeds I planted in one of the raised beds are just starting to come through (see pic below) and I’ve put a CD scarer over them to deter the pigeons.

Speaking of birds, the activity round the bird feeders has been frantic over the last couple of weeks. The robin must have young judging by the frequency and speed of visits. The blue tits have had around 8 or 9 chicks, the fat block was covered with them the other day, and we had a mob-handed ‘starling attack’ the other day with several young and their parents swarming all over the fat block and seed feeder making an awful racket. Even the house-sparrows have reappeared with young, though only maybe a couple of pairs. Don’t know where they are nesting since their old spot under the eaves has been taken over by bumble bees this year, I suspect 2 nests, each of a different species, but it’s hard to tell from the ground even with binoculars. The jackdaws are getting bolder as well, even trying to get at the fat block close to the house. The real favourite though is the feeder with sunflower seed, that has been occupied by greenfinches, goldfinches, robin, sparrows and even the squirrel (yesterday – the trap is out waiting, though less useful now the birds have discovered they can hop inside and steal the peanuts – though some are a bit heavy footed – I’ve released a pigeon, collared dove and two blackbirds in the last week, none the worse for wear though).

Pictures:

Almost dead cucumbers (Contrast with the last post)

Almost dead cucumbers (Contrast with the last post), courgettes just about ok

Rocket seedlings in raised bed

Tomatoes outside greenhouse - ok despite weather

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