Walled Garden Diaries: Weed, Plant, Water, Repeat

Looking back May felt a scorching month, in terms of both weather and pressure, as it was definitely a period when there was so much to do in the garden. 

Plants needed to go in the ground, beds had to be prepared, watering was a necessity, while weeds were seemingly growing before your eyes. 

The above was, of course, relevant to all our ornamental gardens as well as the Walled Garden. So it meant a pressurised month, but upon reflection a very satisfying one to see how the garden transformed. 

Violas in edible flower bed

At the start of May the Walled Garden beds were still looking a bit bare, but things soon changed. And that transformation will continue as plants grow, flowers bloom, and the lovely vegetables develop. 

Along with all the planting came lots of watering. It was a dry and warm month so it meant hard work keeping all our precious plants watered, whether in the tunnels or out in the beds. So much planting has to be followed with good watering regimes, to keep everything healthy and alive. 

Weeding also had to be regular to keep things looking good and reduce competition. The battle with weeds in May seemed non-stop, it felt at times that no sooner had you cleared an area than the weeds were back. You turn around and there they are again, but we battled on as well as getting properly stuck into the planting.

One of the poly tunnels was planted up with our cucumbers and, at time of writing, I noticed that the first fruits have started developing on both these and our tomatoes in another tunnel. It is such a satisfying sight and I expect a big, and popular, harvest out of these two crops. 

In the roots section of the main bed the parsnips and most of our celeriac have been planted. The parsnips, which against all recommendations have been grown from last years seed, went into a large hole filled with sieved soil to help result in a strong and straight tap root. 

The two bulk plantings saw around 450 leeks and over 400 runner beans go into the ground – a huge thanks to the volunteers who got stuck in to get those in. We are growing two types of each (Navajo and Tadoma leeks & Lady Di and Enorma runner beans) and the beans will fill the three structures we built well in advance. 

Elsewhere, the courgettes were planted and successional sowings of beetroot and spring onion have continued.

Away from veg, our cut flower borders are fully planted up and the likes of sweet peas, sunflowers, rudbeckia, tithonia and cosmos (among many more) will look fantastic and be really productive over the coming months. 

Also the edible flower border, planted with the likes of borage, chives, viola and nasturtiums, will bloom prolifically to both look great and complement our salad leaves selection that is used by the kitchens.

We are harvesting lots of salad leaves on a regular basis, with our delicous green and red lettuces, spiced up with a mix of Asian leaves, helping make a ‘Hanbury Salad’ a feature on the cafe menu. 

Harvesting will start taking up lots of time in the near future, with our broad beans looking close to picking and the first beetroot not far off either. I fully expect the June update to be full of pictures of our beautiful harvested produce. As usual I will put such pictures on my Perennial Nerd Instagram too!! 

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