Monday, 18 June 2012

Another summer, another monsoon!

For the third year in a row we have been hit by torrential summer rain.  It was so bad I covered up some of my plants with clochesto protect them from both the rain and the snails which followed it.  These broad beans were bent over by the rain.  I have now righted them using canes and string to support them.
These flowers, on an old purple sprouting broccoli plant, were also knocked about a bit.  This plant will shortly be removed, but it's providing food for insects at the moment, so we'll wait a bit.
I spotted bumble bees (above) honey bees and hoverflies on it and in the sunshine it has a lovely scent, surprisingly.
Last time I had the chance to do some work here, I got half way through weeding the strawberry bed, as you can see!  I waded through this bed after taking this photo to pull up as much grass as I could.  At this time of year my aim is to keep the undergrowth down so as not to encourage the slugs.
Before the rains came, I fed everything with either seaweed fertiliser or a plant specific fertiliser, so the food would get washed in.  These potatoes are very happy.  I always use potatoes which are both slug and blight resistant, to make my life easier.  This year it's Cosmos  and Desiree.
 I put the tomatoes under a cloche but left the ends open for insects.  These tomatoes (Tumbler) have already set fruit and all the plants are now either flowering or about to.
In addition to the rain, we also had strong winds and the garlic got knocked about a bit.  I must say I've never ever see this - most of the garlic had been pushed around so much each stem is now surrounded by a gap between it and the soil, you can just see it in this photo.
I did lose a few plants to snails and slugs - some cabbages, a pumpkin, a few lettuce and runner beans.  But most have survived well.  I put a cloche over the lettuce, which really did the trick and as well as these bigger plants, we also have lots of seedlings.  But as you can see from the photo, the big challenge now is to weed everything again!
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