Throughout July there was challenges to face, but for all the struggles there was even more joy from the huge bounty the garden has been producing.
Anyone who gardens a plot of any size will have battled the elements over the last month, with a real heatwave making watering a constant and seemingly endless task. There was periods of blistering heat, there was battering storms, and everything in between. It causes many headaches, but does keep a gardener on their toes.
The best place to start looking back on July is the harvests. The garden has been providing an abundance, so therefore the harvesting time has increased as has the amount being picked. There is so much to cover when it comes to our harvests recently, so I will give a quick whistle-stop tour.
Our cucumbers have been incredibly prolific, requiring daily pickings of fantastic fruits, while the runner beans are now coming into their best and again need regular harvesting. These crops are always very popular and visitors love buying them, with the same being said of our tomatoes.
We continue to have a good amount of potatoes coming out the ground, while beetroots are also popular and our succession planning means we have a steady stream of crops ready to harvest. Leaves such as kale and rainbow chard continue to be consistent, along with our herbs like sage, lovage, thyme, mint and basil. Add to all this our spring onions, broad beans and cauliflowers and it amounts to a rich bounty through July.
In addition, the currant bushes have been really productive (we have red, white, and blackcurrants as well as chuckleberries) and we are picking bunches of cut flowers on a daily basis. It all means the stall is stocked well and produce flies off there, it is very popular with visitors and they seem to love being able to get locally grown, organic veg to take home with them.
The harvesting was the good, so lets quickly cover the bad. The weather, as mentioned earlier, was an issue and at times during the heatwave it was a struggle to get the entire garden watered as much as it required. It means that some crops might have been held back a little bit, but now we are getting regular showers they should hopefully pick up.
So, as always, there is weeds, an abundance of weeds. They get everywhere and it is a constant battle to keep on top of them all. We do what we can to keep the Walled Garden looking as good as possible but even I have to admit it is nigh-on impossible to get all the weeds. I would love to be able to have it clean and completely weed-free, however it is a challenge when there is so much work to do elsewhere around the site on daily basis.
Pests also cause headaches and we try to combat them organically. Luckily we are pretty slug-free, however our attempts to combat cabbage white with netting isn’t working perfectly and we have been hit with some leaf miner. We have done some organic spraying to try to get on top of the issue, and continue to do so.
There has also been signs of something nibbling my latest plantings of swedes and beetroots, so I am keeping a close eye for signs of what could be causing it. It could be pigeons, or it could be we have a rabbit sneaking into the garden. Either way I have lost a large number of plants and it does cause frustrations.
I look ahead and see that the onions are pretty much ready to be lifted. They are looking fantastic, are a great size, and I am stupidly proud of them. So they will be coming up any week now and, after a slow start, I now like seeing the pumpkins and squashes growing and developing at a rapid pace.