Was That Midusmmers Day?

Well we have more of the same weather as noted in my last post – yesterday was reasonable in the afternoon – and I had a pleasant evening watching cricket in short sleeves for instance. Today, however is a different kettle of fish – several showers already, windy and just the briefest burst of sunshine. Prospects for the next few days don’t look that much better either. It’s all a bit depressing since from now on it’s downhil to the end of the year with days getting shorter.

Beans & Peas

The dampness has produced a problem in the garden as well – blackfly has appeared on my road bean plants (I’ve had it before) ! Just when I thought I was getting away without any this year. It’s the tall ‘longpod’ plants that are affected, and they have only affected on plant badly so far. So I’ve taken out the growing tips of all those plants – which to be fair I should have done in any case and had briefly considered doing the other day. Plus I’ve sprayed the affected area with dilute washing up liquid which has reduced the numbers somewhat (advice from here, though I have tried it before). The short ‘sutton’ plants seem unaffected so far though which is good. There are small bean pods already showing on the longpod plants so not long before we can eat a few (though looking back I note I was harvesting on June 24th in 2007!).

While mentioning beans, the full complement of climbing french beans are now in the bed – I had to move one of the dwarf french bean plants to make room – so now I have a 6 cane ‘tepee’, with two plants now climbing up. The surrounding dwarf plants seem to be coming along as well. In the same bed the peas are thriving, and I’ve managed to get round to planting another dozen in pots just today to keep them coming.

Root Crops

In the bed next to the ‘pea & bean’ bed the beetroot seedlings are up now and almost a complete row too, previous experience with beetroot hasn’t been good so we’ll see how they come on. Alongside the row of beetroot I planted a row of spring onions just this morning using some ‘taped’ seeds I though I would try as an experiment.

Talking seedlings, looks like most of the carrot seeds have produced in the container near the greenhouse – and as with the beetroot I’ve not had too much success before with carrots, so maybe this time….

One root crop that has worked before has been radish, and I finally got round to planting some this morning in the spare growbag which has lain empty until now.

Courgettes & Cucumbers

Despite the miserable weather one of the courgette plants in the ‘covered’ bed has started to flower which is encouraging. The other plants in the covered ben seem to have started growing properly, even the squash plant has stirred itself a bit – the first courgette planted (a bought plant) which was badly attacked by slugs and/or birds is producing new leaves now.

The plants in the growbag near the greenhouse are also doing well, and the courgette should flower in a day or two I think.

Tomatoes & Peppers

Inside the greenhouse a couple of plants (the original ones) have set fruit so I have watered them with tomato feed today – pretty good considering the late start & weather – mind you they were bought plants. Also, the pepper bought at the same time has set at least one pepper (it’s in the same growbag)

All the other tomato plants in the greenhouse are in flower now and look fine, as do the other two pepper plants.

Outside the greenhouse, the tomatoes are big enough to need tying to their stakes and seem to be ok. The ones in the container near the kitchen are a mixture of ‘normal’ pants and ‘bush’ plants. The bush type plants I bought along with the ones in the greenhouse, but because of the weather they really haven’t flourished and they seem to have been sort of flowering for weeks without looking much different. The two standard plants have shot up though and are about to flower.

Salad Crops

The short rows outside the kitchen are fine and another week should see them being harvested. Elsewhere, the rocket in the container along with the leek as now big enough to eat and the needs trimming in any case as the leaves on one side are overpowering the leeks. In the raised bed nearest the greenhouse, the few lettuce plants, and rocket are ok plus the few leaf beet plants are now starting to get into their stride.

Potatoes

Doing well in the containers, just starting to flower. The ones in the garden are fully through, having been ridged up a couple of weeks ago.

Fruit

Some of the red currants are just starting to turn, which has led me to start planning to put a net over all the currant plants in that section – the black currants elsewhere are fine but last year all the red and white currants did wad feed the birds. So I’ve started to construct a cage based on some canes, all I need now is enough netting to cover.

One of the gooseberry bushes is loaded, mind the other two were zapped by the winter so have struggled to produce anything. Nevertheless we might get a pie or so out of all the bushes.

The established apple has fruit, though not exactly laden and I’ve been round and removed the poor or overcrowded fruit. The new apple tree is growing well, but the plum is now more of a bush having lost its leading shoots it’s getting to point where I’ll have to prune all the dead parts out.

Wildlife

More squirrels have appeared, one of wich walked into the trap this morning so will be released later in a ‘holiday’ area. I’m just cursing not having a second trap as no sooner was one trapped when a second appeared. Maybe tomorrow…

Goldfinches have reappeared on the nijer seed and bird bathing has been a popular activity despite the poor weather with blackbirds, robins and house sparrow all seen this morning even.

There are some perennial geraniums in flower in the garden at the moment and they have been full of bumble bees, as has a cotoneaster in my front garden – but no honey bees. Also, the weather has been bad for butterflies with only a few cabbages whites around really. One insect missing as well is the ladybird, not even one on the broad beans which is a shame.

I have seen at least one toad in the greenhouse – a few years ago there would have been a toad in every growbag hole, so it is a reflection of the decline in amphibian numbers. Added to which, I’ve seen fewer frogs in the garden than before as well.

I’ll add photos if I get chance

 

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