A very warm and dry May
May started with refreshing rain but that didn’t last long. It was a hot and dry month, so much so that it was the country’s driest since 1896. All the water butts and greenhouse water reserves are dry and every day the sprinkler has been turned on in the kitchen garden. The zinc planters have also had to be watered regularly as they were drying out so quickly.
The Kitchen Garden has seen a busy month. A larger Slot & Lock Vegetable Cage was built, the current one wasn’t big enough for all the brassicas that we have this year. Then the sprouts, Igor and Groninger, which had already been planted where spaced out correctly. The broccoli, Santee and Calabrese, cabbage, Winter Westland and Cauliflower Goodman, which had been the Cold Frame for a couple of weeks, where added to the bed.
The courgettes and squashes have been planted out in Metal Raised Beds this year. As it was early for planting they were covered with cloches, but by the end of the month these where removed as the plants looked strong and healthy. Plenty of watering and a weekly feed helped. One of the metal beds was only one tier so a further tier was added and a delivery of Vegetable Topsoil mixed in, hopefully this will help towards a good harvest of courgettes this year.
Runner beans that had been started in the greenhouse and then transferred to the cold frame were planted out alongside a Harrod Superior Bean Frame where they soon started to wind their way up the netting. We also started climbing French beans in the greenhouse. These were planted around one of the 3 new Round Column Wire Obelisks. Another one has sweet peas growing up and around it, they have already started to flower and the smell is gorgeous. The last obelisk will have more French beans planted around it, but these were started later so there will be a constant supply of beans for a longer period.
In the Wooden Raised Beds, there is a variety of vegetables growing. In one there is lettuce and carrots, another has kale and beetroot and another has spinach and different varieties of lettuce.
With the warm weather the different varieties of potatoes have been romping ahead, these need watering regularly, potatoes are thirsty vegetables.
In the greenhouse the mini cucumbers have already started producing fruit and the tomatoes are rocketing skywards, flowers and small tomatoes growing. The aubergine, chilli and sweet pepper plants are also growing strong and healthy. Again because of the heat the containers are needing a top up daily. The tomatoes are growing in Self Watering Grow Pot Towers, these have a ‘dip stick’ which indicates how much water is the reservoir.
In the other gardens it has been quiet, so this has provided time to get on with the weeding. It amazes us even though there hasn't been any rain, weeds just keep on growing. The soft fruit trees are covered in the winter and in May these are removed. There is already peaches and nectarines growing. We got a surprise when we removed one of the covers - there was a small wasps nest attached to the frame! Luckily the wasps didn't get angry and left us alone.
The patios have now all been jet washed so they are now looking their best for when we can have a photo shoot. With the dry weather we are experiencing, the zinc planters are having to be watered regularly and every 6 weeks a feed is added.
At the beginning of the month we did have some rainfall which the wisteria appreciated by producing great swathes of flowers over the roman pergola and the wisteria umbrella support frame.
Jobs for June:
- Applying Nemaslug
- Planting out of sweetcorn, leeks, celeriac and French beans
- Water, water and more watering if no rain
- Keeping on top of the weeds
We hope you are enjoying your gardens and outdoor spaces during these uncertain times. Gardening is a great activity not just for physical health but also for mental well being. One thing we have seen during the lockdown has been a reurgence in grow your own gardening which is fantastic. We passionately believe that we should all be doing our bit to grow our own fruit and vegetables if possible, for one thing they taste so much better than shop bought!
Stay safe and Happy Gardening!