Monday, 2 July 2018

BUSY TIME IN THE GARDEN


BUSY TIME IN THE GARDEN

Storms in the middle of June caused a fair bit of damage all around the garden and allotment. Winter pansies were at their best before the severe winds tore them apart. Sweet peas got flattened and flag iris blew over and those that stood up shriveled
First picking of strawberries
in the cold winds, but once the winds subsided the sweet peas will start to climb up the support netting once again. Climbing rose Dublin Bay was at its best but now many flowering shoots broke off as did my outdoor grape vines. Then a new row of raspberry Glen Dee got flattened when the suppor
Peony Doreen
t posts broke off at ground level. Some fig tree branches shrivelled up in the strong winds, and although the dry soil got some rain to give it some moisture, the winds quickly dried up the surface. Tubs of geraniums had huge flowers before the storms, but soon all of these got blown away. Peony Doreen with huge flowers could not stand up to the winds though they were well staked so blooms were intact, but drooping down just a bit. Delphiniums standing six feet tall had been well tied to supports so survived undamaged, and these can now open up their flower spikes as the winds have died down. Oriental poppies gave a great display ahead of the gales, but had suffered in the dry weather and frequent hose watering kept them alive, but then they got flattened by the winds. The remaining foliage will be cut back to see if it will grow again. Summer bedding plants and Sweet William in borders were unharmed as they are still quite small and now putting on growth and
Sweet William
flowering will soon give us the summer display.
Many border areas that were carpeted with spring bulbs (crocus, grape hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, snowdrops and aconites) are now all into dormancy so after the old foliage was cleared away, the soil was lightly cultivated and sown down with fast growing annual flowers, like poppies, candytuft, cornflower, godetia and Livingston daisies. Hopefully there is still time for these to grow and flower by mid summer. The long dry month of May was brilliant for hoeing weeds, but when the rains came the weeds duly returned, so the hoe came out again before they could take hold.
Vegetables sown by seed soon germinated, and thinning was needed for turnips, Swedes, carrots, beetroot, dwarf French beans, salsify, lettuce and radish. Leeks grown from seed needed replanting once they gained pencil thickness and these are now looking sturdy. Onions just loved the hot sunny May weather and are also looking strong, though they did get a fair bit of irrigation by hose.
Anna weeds the allotment flower border
Potatoes have also grown very strong and are now in full flower. Shaws of first early Casablanca will be lifted before the end of June, which is a couple of weeks behind last year’s crop.
Strawberries down at ground level covered in netting to keep birds out suffered no damage and picking started in early June, but still a fortnight behind last year’s crop.
Blackcurrants have such a huge crop potential that many branches have bent down to the ground with the
Climbing rose Dublin Bay
weight of berries and needed staking before they suffered any rain damage from soil splashing on them. Gooseberries are also laden with a huge crop, but the bushes did a June drop, and although they shed half the berries I will still get a great crop.
My dwarf cherry tree Cherokee is also hanging with a great crop now beginning to turn red so it will need netting before the birds spot it.
Greenhouse tomatoes are now on their fourth truss and need constant side shoot removal and support of the cordon stems as well as regular feeding. Grape vine bunches are now all in place and beginning to swell. Summer pruning of side shoots is now almost complete, but now I begin to reduce foliage to let in the sunshine to help ripen up the grapes.

Turning the compost heap
Wee jobs to do this week

Plant waste has been building up on the compost heap with grass cuttings, storm damaged plants, vegetable waste from the kitchen, spent spring bedding plants, spring bulb foliage which has now been removed as well as annual weeds removed from the plot. Now is a good time to turn over the heap and water as you go as the sunny weather in May has dried it out. It won’t rot down unless it is kept moist. Keep adding to the heap and give another turn at the end of summer and good compost should be ready to use in late autumn just in time for the winter digging.
END



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