Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A WEEK ON THE PLOT



A WEEK ON THE PLOT

I find I can get the best results from my wee allotment plot if everything is well planned in advance, and activities only vary to a lesser extent as weather permits. However we all know what happens to the best well laid plans. In the middle of June I would be expecting all my seeds and plants to be in the ground, getting well established, while hoeing out the odd weed and spending a lot of time relaxing in the sun watching the crops grow. No such luck, the sun only appears very briefly for a couple of days, then the cold north winds return, plants get blown over and my sun lounger goes back in the shed. Rain has been very sparing which is great for holiday makers but not so good for gardeners. The hose has been in constant use for several weeks, especially to keep my pumpkins and courgettes happy. Crops are still running at least two weeks late, but there is still time for a catch up if our luck turns around. We just need a few days of heavy rain, over night preferably, followed by a long period of hot sunny weather.

Vegetables
Sweet corn planting is now complete but establishment slow as cool weather continues to hold back growth. Watering has been a constant task as the ground is still very dry.
Pumpkins, courgettes and squashes are now all planted, and also need plenty of watering to keep them growing.
Onions are well established, but some warm weather would be welcome to give their growth a boost. Peas, broad beans, dwarf French beans are also now into a bit of growth, and the cool weather is doing no harm to my root crops. However clubroot resistant Swede Invitation failed to germinate. Not one seed germinated from the whole packet. This is another case of very bad seed from the same supplier that gave me the first batch of sweet corn where I got two plants from eighty seeds. I wont be sending any more seed orders to Devon again.

Fruit
Apples have a huge crop that will need thinning out after the June drop in July (Scottish climate)
Peaches have managed to get through the pollination stage with over thirty small fruits wanting to grow. However Peach leaf curl has been devastating and their may not be enough healthy leaves left for a crop to develop.
Figs look like having another great year with potential of eighty fruits possible, if we get some warmer weather.
Blackcurrants look excellent and Big Ben fruit size may yet live up to its name.
Gooseberries are also showing a huge crop which this year have not been troubled with sawfly.
Outdoor grape Phoenix looks quite impressive this year compared to Solaris, Muscat Bleu and Polo Muscat. Growth is strong and there is a lot of grape bunches.

Flowers
Flag Iris and poppy Ladybird are the star attractions on the plot adding a bit of colour to my front border. Geraniums, African marigolds and petunias will follow on later.
Roses are also starting to flower, but keeping greenfly off the growing shoots has been a big task.

Wee jobs to do this week
Keep watching for greenfly, caterpillars and gooseberry sawfly larvae and remove immediately.
Make sure the strawberries are protected from birds by netting and slugs by sprinkling some slug pellets along the rows.
Dead head annual poppies once the flowers are finished so they can continue to bloom for several weeks. Some will keep flowering well into autumn.
The compost heap will be getting bigger, so now is a good time to give it a turn over to let the worms have some fresh material to work on.
END

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