May & June Kitchen Garden Update
The past two weeks of glorious sunshine has been a wonderful relief from the excessive rain and gale-force winds that battered the gardens throughout May. Though temps in the Kitchen Garden have been soaring, it’s refreshing to finally put my rake back in the shed and begin working through my weather dependent to-do list.
As planned, we’ve been regularly weeding and hoeing. The weeds seem to be enjoying the heat and are popping up all over the garden. It’s a good idea to attack them regularly with a garden hoe to stop them becoming established. This works best when the sun is out and the soil is dry. Keeping on top of the weeds throughout the growing season will also lessen the need to use chemical weed killers, which will not only save time but help protect the environment too.
Busy weeding in the garden - can you spot our little red-breasted companion?
Though us gardeners haven’t been enjoying the recent rainfall, the potatoes have been relishing in it. They are growing steadily and have been earthed up regularly. With the earlies now flowering, they’ll be left to continue growing and hopefully ready to harvest in 10-14 days. The flavour of a homegrown potato is unparalleled and with an abundance of cooking potentials they are definitely one of our most favourite crops to grow.
Despite May’s conditions, we were able to take the covers off the soft fruit trees and were delighted to discover the first signs of fruit already forming. It’s always a great relief when the covers have done their job and the delicious fruit hasn’t been devoured by hungry birds and squirrels.
Apricots thriving this year!
Sticking with the wildlife theme, we applied Nemaslug across the kitchen garden as the exceptional rainfall was encouraging slugs and snails to make an appearance. And we all know the damage these pests can do to the vegetable patch. Thankfully their tell-tale slime trails quickly alert us to their presence. The Nemaslug will be reapplied every six weeks to ensure they don’t reappear.
As we moved into June, the weather finally started to heat up and we managed to plant out many vegetables across the garden. We started with the brassicas: broccoli, cabbages and sprout plants. We then transferred the French and runner beans from the greenhouse to the patch alongside our Superior Bean Frame; it won’t be long before they are winding their way up the netting. Finally, we planted spring and Japanese onions, parsnips and beetroot directly into the soil.
Runner beans climbing their way up the bean frame.
Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and chilli peppers have been planted into their final summer pots. They’ll require plenty of watering and feeding throughout the months ahead.
The garden is really starting to flourish and there are some beautiful flowers blooming in the borders, the peonies have to be one of my favourites, always bring such dramatic colour to the garden.
With signs that the warmer weather is here to stay, here are some of the jobs we have planned for the rest of June/July:
- If not already done, courgettes can be planted out now that the frosts have passed
- Keep sowing beetroot, radishes and lettuce successionally – every week or so
- Keep on top of weeds especially in allotments and vegetable gardens
- Protect the strawberries! Mulch around the plants and netting to keep birds off the ripening fruit
- During prolonged dry spells don’t forget to water. Either in the morning before the weather warms, or in the evening once the sun has gone down
- Start feeding salad plants in the greenhouse with a suitable fertiliser. High potash for tomatoes or seaweed plant feed