Plot #59 Update: July 2016

Plot #59 Update: July 2016
Masses of lush green foliage and summer colour this month.

July was a hugely busy month on our allotment plot, with regular picking and harvesting added to the usual rounds of planting out, cutting back, dead-heading and weeding. The weather wasn’t too bad on the whole – mostly overcast with sunny spells, a few hot, dry days and some rain here and there – so we were able to get on with a fair bit of work.

We were away for a few days though – which of course gave the weeds a head-start – so we’ve not had much time to clear and prepare the last few sections of rough ground as we would have liked. That might be a job for the Autumn, along with laying the long-awaited flag path up the centre of the plot, but we’ll see how the rest of the summer goes. August isn’t too promising so far.

Here’s what else we got up to in July:

Planting

July 2016 - Cabbages under cover
Netting any brassicas is essential to keep the ravenous pigeons at bay.

I was able to dig over one new section to plant out cabbages. They’re netted against pigeons and (hopefully) cabbage white and seem to be doing okay last I checked.

Growing On

Our turnips have been thinned and are coming along nicely, but I think I’ll need to re-sow the swedes. The Brussels sprouts and walking stick kale that I planted out in June are growing strongly, to the point where I had to take the enviromesh cover off a couple of rows. The sweetcorn seems to be doing well again this year: each of the twelve plants I put in have both tasseled anthers (male) and silky stigmas (female) on display, so I’m hoping for two or three decent cobs per plant. And we have squashes:

July 2016 spaghetti squash
Still young but developing nicely.
July 2016 - 'Turk's Turban' squash
I love the two-tone effect on these squashes.

I actually have no idea how big either of those needs to be before they’re ready to be picked, or how long they need to ripen and cure before they can be stored. More research needed, clearly.

Our fruit section is also doing very well. Although the strawberries have finished and are sending out runners, and the last few gooseberries have gone over, the Autumn raspberries are just getting into their stride, we have bushes full of blackcurrants that need picking, and we had enough ripe redcurrants to make jelly.

Harvesting

July 2016 - three beans
The first (of very many) beans have been picked.

So much good stuff! (Deep breath…) potatoes, courgettes (so many courgettes), carrots, peas, beans (runners, broad and French), onions, garlic, elephant garlic, gooseberries, raspberries, Japanese wineberries (just one or two so far, more to come), redcurrants, a small squash, a small head of purple cauliflower (that actually turned out to be calabrese), and handfuls of sweet peas.

July 2016 - redcurrants
A big bowl of juicy fruit destined for the jelly pan.

We’ve been busy in the kitchen as well, making batches mixed fruit jam (raspberry, blackcurrant, strawberry and gooseberry) and chutney (courgette and tomato, then courgette, runner bean and tomato). And we’ve discovered three bean and courgette ratatouille, which is a great way to cook up a surplus.

Floral Department

July 2016 giant sunflower
Thoughtful sunflower is thoughtful…

Jo’s sunflowers are looking particularly good this year, despite the general lack of sunshine. We’ve also got rampant nasturtiums running through the beans (and across the side path, into the neighbour’s manure bay), towers of sweet peas, mounds of dahlias and plenty more besides. All of which thoroughly deserve their own post, which I’ll get around to before too long.

That’s it for last month’s update. Hopefully this month we’ll get on top of the summer weeding and make a start on sowing some more winter veg, oh, and get the leeks into the ground. They’re definitely ready for planting out.

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2 comments

  1. Phuong says:

    Your cabbage plant looks great and the winter squashes are a thing of beauty. Squashes grow so fast, and once the rind gets hard and you can’t dent it with a fingernail it should be ready to pick. Your garden looks stupendous.

    • Darren T says:

      Thank you, Phuong! I think a couple of the Turk’s Turban squashes might be almost at that stage. I’ll keep an eye on them, see how they go over the next couple of weeks.

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