Time for another Garden Share Collective. I like that these posts are recording what’s happening in the garden each month, but they’re coming around very quickly as the year is slipping by – we’re up to the June post already.
As May comes to an end, the Met office is reporting that spring 2014 is likely to be the third warmest on record. It might have been warmer than average, but May has also had less sunshine and more rain than usual. We’re forecast a dry and relatively warm weekend, but then it’s back to unsettled, cooler weather next week… the slugs are just loving the conditions.
There may be more slugs, and fewer bees and butterflies around, but there are still flowers. Self-sown calendula…
And deep purple flowers on the spring sown broad beans. When most of the autumn sown beans were eaten by the greenhouse mouse before they got a chance to germinate, I made a second sowing of crimson flowered beans. So now there are a few pods ready to pick and eat, and lots of dark red flowers promising more beans to harvest later in the year.
The chives are deep in flowering season too. And don’t bees love chive flowers. This one was ‘rescued’ from the greenhouse – they fly in and don’t seem to be able to find their way out again. A quick feed on chive nectar and the bee was off again.
While I like to leave the flowers for bees, I have picked a few this year to make chive vinegar after reading about it on Cathy’s blog at Words and Herbs, and then Marie’s ‘how to’ guide over at My Little Corner of Rhode Island. The flowers have been sat in a jar of vinegar for a few days now, already turning it a gentle pink.
The tomatoes are also starting to flower. Back in early spring, I potted up the same variety of tomato (‘Tiny Tim’) into both terracotta and plastic pots. For some reason, the plants in the terracotta pots aren’t doing so well – smaller, with paler leaves and looking much less happy. I’ve repotted them into plastic pots, but can the pot really make that much difference, or is it down to the compost mix or where they were sat in the greenhouse? Any ideas?
My lemon trees have been struggling with both the Yorkshire weather and a major infestation of scale insects over the last few months. Despite this, they are both now producing flowers, and on warmer days when they are out on the patio, attracting bees. They’ve flowered before, but have yet to produce any fruit. Maybe that’s expecting too much so far north of their preferred climate, but I live in hope.
So, harvesting wise we’re still on herbs and salad leaves. There are some radishes ready to pull up too, and those few broad beans. Soon there will be wet garlic, more salad leaves and the first of the beetroot and carrots. The mashua, sent in my last Seedy Penpals parcel from Emma Cooper, is growing like crazy. It’s a root crop – producing tubers in the autumn, but the leaves are also edible and will no doubt be tasted soon.
The ‘to do’ list for June is largely filled with weeding, planting out squash, courgette, sunflower, bean and cucumber seedlings, oh and more weeding. If I remember, there will be regular sowings of more lettuce and herbs to keep the fresh salad leaves coming. And it’s just about time to start sowing biennials for flowers next spring.
Wherever you are gardening in the world, June’s Garden Share Collective will have some ideas or tips for seasonal gardening chores. As well as checking in on the gardens that are moving into early summer, I’m looking forward to reading about the autumnal harvests from the bloggers in New Zealand and Australia.