This is the slightly sorry state of the garden at the moment:
This summer hasn’t been a particularly kind one – early hot weather followed by sullen, dull cloudy days have meant that, whilst spring was fairly bountiful and I managed to get good early crops, the summer harvest has been a little mean. The striking gladioli are now nearly done, except for one late-planted container, most of the red sunflowers are starting to droop, lose their petals and set seed and the marigolds are starting to look a bit tatty. The lettuce, left from early summer, has bolted. It looks pretty, though, so I’ve left it to do it’s thing. The poor sweetcorn is trying its best – one of them even has the start of a tassel! It’s a baby corn variety, so you never know – I might yet get a small crop and, if nothing else, they have pretty hefty root systems so they’ll have helped to break up the soil a little =)
Slugs have been a big problem this year because of the wet summer weather – I was pretty vigilant about getting the eggs and caterpillars off my brassicas but I needn’t have bothered as the slimy little buggers came in and demolished them anyway. I had to give up on two big cabbages, the tail end of my purple sprouting broccoli and some cauliflowers which they’d devoured into oblivion. I decided to plant a last set of lettuce under cover as well as some winter veg. The very next morning I came out to find my baby lettuces gone. Not a stump, nor leaf. Nothing. Eaten to the ground. Cue slugmageddon – I went out one night, in the rain, to collect and dispose of a huge pile of them. Hopefully the reduction in numbers will give my other little plants a better chance to establish – I really grudge paying for bags of salad now.
The side garden has also suffered a little from slug damage – mostly the violas which they seem to like eating the flowers of, oddly. I need something to fill out the back region until the hebes grow a little bigger, though, as it looks a little bare.
As I mentioned, I’ve put in some seedlings under cover. It took a little wrangling to get the cloche in place – squeezing it between the sunflowers, cauliflowers and marigolds – but I finally got it in there, with some plants (such as the almost-completely-eaten bush beans) now enjoying some extra cover and giving me a space to start off some kale, chard, mustard greens and whatever I put where the lettuce was.
The other pic above was taken just before we went on holiday, earlier in August – I’ve never grown anything other than small nanus or butterfly type gladioli before so the height of a full-size one was something of an eye-opener. Even discounting the tub the ‘White Prosperity’ gladis were taller than me. The others didn’t grow quite as tall, with ‘Espresso’ being the second tallest and ‘Green Star’ the third. You can see the tiny little ‘Laguna’ butterfly gladioli right at the front of the tub for comparison – not even half the height and much smaller flowers.
This was a little harvest I picked last week – some beetroot, ‘Yetholm Gypsy’ potatoes, nasturtiums, alpine strawberries (which are still flowering and fruiting and have been since spring), various beans and one very small onion. I’ve also harvested my first ever home-grown tomatoes! This variety is ‘Yellow Scotland’. The odd markings are likely due to them not being watered for ten days due to the holiday but it shouldn’t make any difference in taste. There are quite a few left on the plant to ripen, but I’m not sure how many will make it before it gets too cold – might need to make some green tomato chutney or let them cuddle up to a banana in a dark place for a few days.
The ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ bean in the hanging planters is actually managing to produce beans! I didn’t think it would be wet enough in the bags to keep them going but it seems that they are one beneficiary of the dull summer and are really enjoying all of this damp weather – the peas, too, which are doing better now than they had in the last three months. The squash, below, is ‘Boston’ and has started rather late in the season – I’m not sure it’ll make it to any sort of maturity but at least I actually managed to get a squash to grow, flower and set fruit which is a fairly big improvement over last year’s no-shows.
Next on my list is bulb planting, clearing out anything else which is ‘done’ to make way for autumn planting, taking cuttings, and finally getting around to removing more patio slabs around the outer edge to increase my growing area ;)