Our garden: June 2012

We’ve had another month of rain with a few sunny spells mixed in!

Dark rain clouds over houses

Lettuce leaves

The cool, wet weather has been good news for our lettuce. It’s been growing almost too fast for us to eat, so we’ve been having salad with most meals.

Lush lettuce leaves

I can’t really remember the last time we bought lettuce from the supermarket because these leaves are so tasty and surprisingly resistant to colder temperatures.

Bergamot

My bergamot bush is not having a good year. The good news is it’s grown a huge amount – from a few centimetres to nearly a metre tall. The bad news is it’s covered in blackfly.

Blackfly covering stems of bergamot

I am trying to avoid using chemical insecticides unless things get really bad, so I’ve removed all infested heads and sprayed the plant with a water and Ecover washing up liquid solution. This seems to have done the trick and only a few blackfly remain.

Patches of white mildew on bergamot leaves

The other issue with this plant is that the damp weather has caused powdery mildew. I’ve picked off all the infected leaves to reduce spreading, which seems to have done the trick so far. If it comes back I may to have to use a fungcicide, but I’m hoping to avoid that.

Strawberries

We ate our first ripe one yesterday and it was delicious. The rest are still green and need some sunshine to help them grow and ripen.

Hand hold green strawberries

The ground has been really damp which has mean’t the slugs have been out in full force. One of the riper strawberries resting on the ground got nibbled, so I’ve winched the fruit off the ground with a cut off cane and some string. This will also ensure none of the fruit rots if it stays damp.

Mint

Last month I said my mint was going papery and yellow. A few days of heavy rain transformed it into a vibrant green, bushy plant with healthy new shoots. So I think it just needed a good soak and a feed.

Slug problems

The slugs have been a big problem this year, they are munching on everything. I’ve been picking them off the flower beds but it isn’t enough.

Slimey slug on soil

I don’t want to use slug pellets because the metaldehyde in them is toxic to cats and dogs (we have fox cubs and cats coming into our garden regularly) and I also don’t want the chemicals leaching into my soil! So I have decided to make beer traps for them – not nice but at least they’ll go out happy.

Mange Tout

I officially gave up with our mange tout plants 2 weeks ago.

Battered mange-tout in the ground

We started with 5 plants, then the foxes dug up and trampled 2, then they did the same with the last 3. I tried putting the scraggly plants back in the soil but they died very quickly. The foxes normally have a sniff around our plants but I don’t know what they liked so much about the mange tout.

Tomatoes

Our tomatoes are growing strong. Last year they spent too much time indoors and ended up very leggy, so this year I sowed the seeds later and hardened them off as soon as the weather picked up (which ended up only being about 7 days!). They are very hardy and have survived multiple lashings of wind and rain. The slugs have had a bit of a munch on the leaves but providing we get some sunshine we should have a good crop of tomatoes.

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