Seasons Still on the Blink

So this is July – and it’s raining, temperature only 15deg.C – no change from June then…. The weather continues to be alternately windy, rainy with sunny intervals and low pressure system racing across the country – causing local flooding with massive rain showers and for a couple of days last week putting both the main railway lines north out of action.
Needless to say, the impact on gardening has not been good. Even when dry it has been windy, and a good deal of the time it has been about to rain, raining, or has just rained. The heavy rainstorms haven’t helped either, the beans have suffered as have the salad seedlings.
On the plus side, we had our first proper harvest from the garden over the weekend with enough mangetout peas and broad beans to supplement the other veg for our Sunday roast. Going round the broad bean plants though, it looks like the harvest won’t be too good, I think the weather has meant that many flowers haven’t set. Both rows have been affected by the winds, the first row are ‘full height’ plants and they have really been blown about. The second row is a dwarf variety, which I haven’t really supported with string as normally they don’t need it – but they also have been blown about, and are now really bent and twisted – and again not showing too many pods as yet.

Broad bean pods

The climbing beans are starting to really climb now, and seem to have survived the slug/pigeon attacks more or less ok. The french beans are just in flower now:

French bean flowers

The outside tomatoes are coping fairly well, the ones outside the greenhouse and kitchen are pretty sheltered in any case, they are well into flower now, the plants in the raised bed seem to have survived the weather ok and are now beginning to flower. Inside the greenhouse, the tomato plants are doing fairly well, with some fruit already set:

Tiny tomatoes

As the raised beds were only ready quite late, I have sown one of the beds with a ‘green manure’ crop – the soil is quite sandy so I think a bit more organic material will help. So one bed has a crop of a type of mustard coming up, which you can see in the pic below (furthest bed) – the bed in the foreground has the two tomato plants, a row of mangetout peas just planted over the weekend, and some dwarf kale plants (donated by my neighbour) also planted at the weekend:

Raised beds

You can also see in the picture above the LH end of the bed furthest away has some red clover coming up also sown as a green manure. You can also see the leaves of one of the courgette plants in the other bed, both the plants are surviving and there are even baby courgettes coming along. In the greenhouse, the ‘replacement’ cucumber plants are just small seedlings at the moment, so it will be a week or so before they can replace the ones killed off by the weather.

The four broccoli plants have coped with the conditions, and plenty of rain has helped them I think – in fact they are sprouting already and could be enough to harvest next weekend.

As for the birds – well you would think there was no natural food the rate at which the bird food is going. The fat blocks and balls have been attacked by starlings, tits, sparrows and even blackbirds and jackdaws. The sunflower seeds have been very popular as well, the feeder needs filling every couple of days it seems. I do have a squirrel visitor at the moment, but it isn’t eating the peanuts but having a go at seeds and the fat! Also, although I have the trap out the birds now are pretty quick at spotting that it is out and they are in eating all the peanuts before the squirrel has even seen it.

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