Stephanie's Kitchen Garden Diary - June 2012

Stephanie's Kitchen Garden Diary - 29th June 2012


It only seems like last week I was writing May’s Kitchen Garden Update and here we are at the end of June still waiting for our British summer to arrive.  We have had a couple of hot humid days in the garden this month but predominantly this month it has been windy & rainy.  All the crops look luscious and green but we do need some regular sunshine to bring on our heat loving squashes.

We are really pleased with how Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden is looking this month, all the crops are in and are happily growing away, Lynn & Ade have worked hard this month trimming the box hedges, weeding and generally making the garden look at its best.  The bees are back, more about them later, we have new climbing roses over our entrance arch and most importantly crops are being harvested.

All the Legumes (Beans) are doing well, especially the Broad Beans which are good this year.  We sowed autumn beans and two succession crops in the spring so we will be enjoying broad beans for a few weeks to come yet.  The Runner Beans are flowering up the steel obelisk, climbing beans are steadily making their way up the Slot n Lock Pea & Bean Frame but the variety we are most pleased with this year is the Purple Podded Peas, they are a Heritage variety and grow up to 2 metres tall.  At first we thought we had sowed sweet peas because of all the pretty flowers but now the lovely purple pods are appearing.

We are harvesting the 1st and 2nd Early Potatoes and even the early main crops are starting to flower, they have benefitted from all the rain the last couple of months.  Ideally you should only water your potatoes when they start to flower so the potatoes swell so fingers crossed we will have a good crop and not just lots of green leaves!

We are also regularly harvesting the ‘Detroit’ Beetroot and are sowing more to replace these to keep them coming!

Our new Slot n Lock Squash & Cucumber Frame has been planted up and we are pleased that the Squash ‘Golden Apple’ variety is quickly growing up the frame – we have chosen this variety for the small apple size fruit which will be supported by the net and ripen in the sun.  We are also pleased to report that our Squash ‘Winter Hornet’ is romping away in the hot manure bed and is clearly benefitting from the rich feed that it is getting.

We have planted up some Sweet Potato ‘Beau Regard’ in an old water butt that has been cut into two.  They need plenty of space to grow and all our beds were full so this seemed the ideal solution.  This is the first time we have grown sweet potatoes so we are excited and optimistic  for a good crop.

All our brassicas have been planted in our new Slot n Lock Black Aluminium vegetable cage (see photo), the brassicas are one of my favourite vegetables so we will be paying particular interest to these during the coming months.  Regular pest control is essential with brassicas, luckily we have the netting to keep off the cabbage whites but these crops can soon be decimated by slugs and snails so Lynn is forever busy on pest patrol.  We are growing Cabbages (Advantage F1, Offenheim Myatts Compact, Verbote Savoy), Brussels Sprouts (Nautic & Igor), Calabrese (Fiesta & Waltham), Sprouting Broccoli (Early Sprouting & Santee F1) and Kale (‘Ripbor’ & ‘Curly).  More progress reports on these in the months to come.

Our Roman style entrance Arch has been planted up with the pink climbing roses that we had on our stand at Chelsea, these really look pretty and provide a lovely entrance to the Kitchen Garden.  The bees are back too and are enjoying the roses.  We have a new colony of bees after the wax moth decimated our bees last year.  We enjoy having the bees in the garden and they most at home in their new Beepol Lodge complete with a Wax Moth Prevention Kit to prevent these nasty moths entering the hive and killing of the bees.

Lynn has finished planting the new Herb Parterre, it looks good but  will look wonderful when it is more established, Lynn has also planted up two herb and salad crop wooden mangers close to my kitchen so I have all these crops close to hand when cooking.

Our new Asparagus Gijnlim plants have now produced spears which are 1m high – we are leaving these to let the plants build up strength for next year.

Not all is well in the garden unfortunately, the bad weather has ruined the blossom on the fruit trees and we are in for a poor crop of Apples & Pears this year.  The wet weather has brought on Rust and our Garlic has had to be dug up and destroyed and we currently have a lack of strawberries due to the fact that they are 1st year plants and a lack of sunshine.  But hey ho we are gardeners and used to the highs and lows of gardening in a British climate!

Here’s what we’ve got planned for July here in the kitchen garden:-

•             Digging up the onion harvest, to dry and store.

•             Unfortunately we won’t be digging up our garlic as we have lost our crop but hopefully you will be harvesting your crop this month.

•             Feeding all flowering crops weekly/bi weekly with Organic seaweed as required.

•             Applying Nematodes (Nemaslug) 6 weekly to keep on top of those slugs.

•             Continue to succession sow Beetroot, Carrots, Spring Onions, Lettuces & Peas/Beans to keep a supply of veg going through to late summer/autumn.

•             Regular pest controls to find slugs & snails (dusk time is best!)

•             Applying Strulch around the base of all our thirsty plants to keep the moisture in (ideal for squash and courgettes).

•             Continue to tie in and pinch out tomato sideshoots and tie in cucumbers.

•             Regularly trim off the strawberry runners to keep the energy in for fruiting.

•             Pick peas & beans – the more you pick the more new flowers will appear.

And if you're planning to spend more time in the garden growing your own this year, you can pick up loads of handy tips by using the expertise we've got to hand. We're always here to offer advice and support - just e-mail kitchen gardener Lynn, pest control expert Julian Ives and horticulturist, Master Composter and Tweeter Martin Fiddes (also known as our Ask the Expert panel) and they'll do their best to help!   

We're busy tweeting about all things Harrod Horticultural - what we're doing, special offers, gardening tips and advice and you can always use Twitter or Facebook to get in touch with us as well. With our webteam manning the Tweet decks and Facebook site, you can be sure you'll get the best service we can offer!

Our 116-page Summer 2012 catalogue is out now and it's packed full of gardening ideas, products and solutions to the problems every gardener faces, plus plenty oif more relaxing ideas to help you make the most of the hard work you put into the garden during spring.

There's even a 19 page Garden Structure section for all your arches, obelisks, plant supports and much more - if you haven't already, request a copy and find it on your doormat in a couple of days time.

Happy gardening!