This week we have had a couple of good heavy rain showers, which has been most welcome after the dry, hot weather. It's a little cooler now, perfect weather for most plants and as you can see from the picture above, the New Dawn rose I grow around my front door is now at its best.
Unfortunately the weeds grow as fast, if not faster than the vegetables. This is my spinach, lettuce and chard bed, which is also occupied by self-seeded fennel, feverfew, sage, dandelions, grass and various other unwanted plants. Lots to do here.
The first courgette of the year - lots more to come, no doubt I'll be sick of them soon so I'm reviewing the recipe books to find ways to deal with the glut. This courgette is Partenon F1, a variety which does not need to be pollinated to set fruit, perfect for those of us in northerly climes, where the cooler weather tends to delay fruiting. It is very early and prolific. Really good eating too.
The rain has also resulted in my apples growing extremely fast - this tree now needs stakes to support the branches.
These are the marrows and a good example of why I grow the Partenon courgettes. These flowers are male flowers, none of the female flowers have opened yet. Same with the pumpkins - it will be a couple more weeks before the female flowers start. If I didn't grow Partenon, my courgettes would be likewise delayed.
The cabbages have trebled in size this week. The brassicas have been a disaster for the last couple of years, mainly due to the excessive rain reducing light levels so they just don't grow at the right time. This is the time of year, with 18 hours of light every day, when they need to put on most of their growth, and this year we have the right conditions. I grow small cabbages, Minicole and Golden Acre as the big ones are just too large for us. That's why they are planted quite close together.
The strawberry glut is starting; this is today's basket, I'll need to pick them every day now. The rain has brought out the slugs, but the cold winter seems to have killed a lot of them off so the damage is minor compared to last year. I grow early and mid season varieties so I get several weeks of fruit. I don't do what the "experts" recommend - replace the plants every few years. I just manure and mulch them, allow the runners to grow and they produce lots of fruit.
The peas and beans aren't quite ready yet, but I am picking something most days. On the left of the basket is a bunch of fennel, weeded from the spinach bed. I'll use it is some mayonnaise with poached salmon. In the centre are salad leaves, now growing well after the rain. On the right are spring onions - I have to confess I bought these from the garden centre and planted them up. Cheating, I know, but they have grown well.
And finally, this is for my Mum away in Canada. She bought two bare rooted roses which arrived in April. I soaked them for a bit, then potted them up. One grew away very quickly, the other showed no signs of life (according to her). I was convinced otherwise and told her to leave it be, but she insisted it was dead and would never grow. So here is a picture of the "dead" rose - Mum, I told you so.