Saturday, 4 June 2011

...and back to summer again

The weather in May was atrocious. It was the windiest May for 36 years at least, and in addition to the cold, we had 152% of normal rainfall for the month. While this is good news for our water supply as the reservoirs are all full, it's been fairly disastrous for the plants in our cold, clay soil. Here's a picture of my climbing french bean, which I had to plant out as it was trying to escape. Not any more; despite being in a fairly sheltered position behind the peas and beans and next to the tomato cloche (they're fine), this plant was blasted by the cold wind. All the old growth has been damaged, the two runners blown off, but happily given the rather better weather now, it is putting up new ones.
The slugs and snails took a fancy to my courgettes under their cloche and that, together with the extreme cold, has meant that I've lost two plants completely, with others, like this one, rather nibbled. I think this one may recover, but I kept some seed back just in case, which was a good decision.
Likewise the germination of the runner beans has been poor as temperatures got too low and the humidity was high with day after day of torrential rain. These will need resowing too. The resown pumpkins have also failed again!
Fortunately, not everything has suffered. The peas are now flowering, they needed a good soaking to get growing so that's something to look forward too.
And the garlic is very large for this time of year. The diameter of these stalks gives a clue as to the size of bulbs below, and it seems the rain came at just the right time. I switched varieties to Picardy Wight this year and it seems to have been a good decision. The lettuce at the front of the picture has also benefitted from the rain.
The broad beans have set their first crop and it looks to be a good one. The damage you can see on the leaves is made by pea and bean weevils, which find broad beans make a good meal. They don't cause any problems for the beans, just create frilled edges on the leaves.
In terms of flowers, there are a few things to look forward to. Here's a peony bud, this is the one which grows in a pot outside the house.
And this is the peony which grows in my little garden, where the soil is poor so it often doesn't flower.
The shrub rose is just starting, hope to have a picture of that in its full glory this week.
And my New Dawn rose has put out its first flower.

So order of business for this week is to resow the losses and do final sowings for things like carrot and beetroot.
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