Oh I do love July on the allotment, everything is in full swing bursting with growth and colour. Harvests are coming thick and fast and once again the seed packets are out of the box, hopefully just in time for a late crop of early maturing peas and more beetroot, also quick cropping radish and I’m trying my luck again with pak choi which I adore stir fried, slathered in soy sauce.
Rouge Vif D’ Etampes pumpkins planted out at the beginning of June are romping away in the pumpkin patch, it appears I have a couple of eager beavers!
I’m really pleased with the height of the sweetcorn this year, and they look super healthy too.
Just over half a year on Plot 5 and I’m proud of what I have managed to achieve and the food it is now producing, but it’s only fair that I share the downs too. I lost half of my strawberry plants to nests of red ants, they also took a fancy to the roots of a couple of sunflowers and cosmos plants. Not a disaster, just annoying really.
My garlic got leek rust which is a fungal problem, small orange pustules appear on the leaves which eventually spread out to cause complete yellowing, the plants stop growing so bulbs can be on the small side. Although leek rust can make the leaves look very sickly the bulbs are completely edible. I started removing affected leaves as soon as I spotted them but this method of control only serves to slow down the inevitable ever so slightly, it just made me feel better looking after my garlic even though in reality there’s bugger all I could do about it. Leek rust seems to have been a problem for many garlic growers this year, I made the decision to lift my garlic earlier than I would have liked and was pleasantly surprised to find most of the bulbs to be a good size. I use my own strain of seed garlic and have done for years, a hardneck variety called Red Duke. My homegrown garlic were unaffected so it just goes to show how easily it can spread on allotments.
More worryingly around 5 of the garlic bulbs had evidence of white rot. Because I lifted my garlic earlier than usual I think I stopped the rot reaching the inner cloves so they’re still useable, the outer papery skins are gone so they won’t store. I already knew white rot to be a problem for some of the plots on our allotment site but it’s a case of suck it and see with my new plot as to if or where it is exactly and how bad. I planted young leeks last week in a different location on the plot for overwintering, fingers crossed they escape both of the problems mentioned and the dreaded allium leaf miner which can devastate a crop of leeks, again I have to grow it to know it.
Back to the ups and I’m not doing badly with flowers on the allotment although the sweet pea have been very slow to get going, now in flower they’re going to seed quicker than usual.
I’m growing different varieties of sunflower, tall singles because I think they’re just gorgeous and very ‘allotmenty’, rusty red Earthwalker and Velvet Queen, Autumn Beauty and Teddy Bear. Lavender is pulling in the bees and I’ve already mentioned cosmos, they’re just starting to bloom and it won’t be long before gloriosa daisies bring a pop of colour to the plot too.
All the second early potatoes have been lifted, variety Charlotte, the harvest filled a potato sack just over halfway which is great from just 20 seed potatoes. I picked just enough gooseberries to make jam and entering a jam made with my garden strawberries into our village show in September, my jam won second place last year. Speaking of the show I’m hoping to enter the longest runner bean class, I don’t know why I’m so fixated with this class it’s actually turning into a bit of an obsession, I’m walking around the plot with my measuring tape tying in potential beans to prevent stems snapping. I think I’ve lost it!