Friday, 1 August 2014
End Of Month View ~ July 2014.
Somehow I missed posting at the end of June so it's fast forward to the end of July. My word of the month is FRAZZLE which is what garden, allotment and myself did. As it happens the one day when we got a veritable drenching I was helping to run a plant and produce stall on behalf of our allotment association. Five of us spent a most cosy few hours under a small gazebo where we managed by and large to keep dry. It's fortunate that we get on well. We sold more plants than we expected - rhubarb plants and wallflowers were the day's best sellers.
July was also a short month in that we were away for the first two weeks so by the time we were home and settled it positively raced away. The weather was more for sitting, reading and sipping something cool rather than physical exertion so I did little in the way of gardening. We returned in time to catch a glimpse of the day lilies and a couple of my favourite geraniums in flower but to find several flowers sadly well past their sell by date. There has been much in the way of scent to enjoy this months with some delicious wafts from lilies, roses and more recently from the buddleias.
A few seeds have been sown - more lunaria, sweet williams, a perennial white stock as well as dwarf French beans, beetroot and turnips. I have been excited to see that we have the grand total of four pears between our two trees! There were more at the start of June but a windy day sent them scattering to the floor. I am checking them everyday to make sure that there are still clinging on but dare not take a photograph in case it tempts fate.
Another pleasing observation is that the sedums we planted on the top of the gabion wall in May 2013 have now really started to do some serious travelling. In some places they have covered the metre width of the wall whilst they are also now beginning to stray over the edges. The wall is beginning to age too which is most pleasing.
There is never a right time to go on holiday apart from winter as far as the allotment is concerned. Fortunately we had done justice to most of the strawberries, summer fruiting raspberries and goosegogs before we left. Home to a seemingly never ending supply of courgettes. If you have a similar abundance and have not come across this post yet do have a look at Caro's signposts over at The Urban Veg Patch in the direction of some fabulous recipes. French beans are also proving reasonably bounteous despite the dry weather. This year the tables have turned and the green 'Cobra' is faring much better than the purple 'Blauhilde'. Hopefully we will have a second crop later with some dwarf beans. Broad beans and peas were picked and savoured in June.
Shallots and garlic have been harvested - the former not doing as well as last year in terms of numbers. I have grown some 'Red Baron' onions from sets and am picking them before they get big to use in salads. The first of the 'Rainbow Beet' beetroot will be sampled next week. The potatoes have struggled again probably with the lack of much rain but 'Roseval' and 'Cherie' will definitely be ordered again next year. My 'Lark' sweetcorn went in too late and I'm not sure whether I will get much in the way of cobs. I'm kicking myself as my plot neighbours have gigantic plants.
The first of my apples will probably be picked later this month. The fruits still look relatively small although I've tried to remember to water the trees at least once a week. Yesterday however I was able to pick half a dozen or so from a tree which overhangs no man's land on the allotment site, to which when stewed I added some blackberries making for a most delicious desert.
My tomatoes and cucumbers have had to take their chance at home this summer and were lobbed in to the cold frame before we went away. Here himself has rigged up an automatic watering system. The cucumbers did not appreciate this treatment and have curled up their tendrils but the tomatoes though still green are slowly getting there.
Plant purchases over the last couple of months have been fairly minimal. I ordered a collection of penstemons from Hayloft Plants which arrived in June. I have not ordered from them before and was fairly impressed with both packaging and plant quality. The plants were plug plant size so it will probably be next year before I see any flowers but I'm happy to wait. Also coming home from France with me was a little purple scabious as a souvenir of our visit to a French nursery. Finally I finished July off with an order for some dormant snowdrop bulbs which hopefully I will show in a future EOMV view.
Thanks as always to Helen over at The Patient Gardener's Weblog for hosting the EOMV which provides a most opportune chance to reflect at the end of each month.