Growth is now strong and there is plenty to keep up with. See my latest video for seasonal tips, Early Summer.
Read on for details.
This is still a key job, keep hoeing almost-invisible and tiny seedlings of annual weeds, hand-weed small ones if conditions are wet, and keep removing any bindweed, couch grass etc. Put them on the compost heap, no pre-drying or -soaking, save time.
Keep plot edges mown or mulched and tidy. In longer term no dig, you should have few weeds now.
Good to sow now are French beans, lettuce, endive, chicories, celery, swede, calabrese for autumn, broccoli for spring: I sow purple sprouting Claret F1 between 16th-20th June. Last year was 26th June, worked well.
Plants already growing may include red & white cabbage for autumn hearts, kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks. You can pot them on to keep them growing, if ground is not ready, for example where broad beans are about to finish.
Harvests of the season
Now such a range, after the hungry gap has finished. From autumn and winter sowings you can be cropping spring onion, garlic and broad beans. Soft neck garlic wants harvesting before month’s end, especially if it has rust.
From spring sowings there is kohlrabi (harvest soon before it goes woody), cabbage hearts, beetroot (twist the largest from multisown clumps), spinach (final harvests as they flower now), turnip (also final before woody and flowering), lettuce, broad bean, mangetout pea and pea pods, pea shoots now finishing as they go more stringy.
Garlic & rust
This disease seems worse than ever.
However we have some reasonable size bulbs, despite rust establishing since late May. I kept removing the worst affected leaves and we are about to harvest the softneck bulbs, they won’t grow a lot more, except for hardneck garlic.
I find at least that there is no rust on garlic grown in greenhouse and poytunnel, partly why the bulbs are so large.
Starting over/Second cropping
Early summer sees harvests happening, then plants finishing and being cleared, so have plants or seeds ready to fill those gaps. An advantage of replanting over resowing is that you extend the growing season, by raising plants while other harvests are completing.
Useful when there are no empty spaces for new plants. Examples from here include direct sowing of autumn/winter carrots between lettuce, planted beetroot under dill, and Brussels sprouts between carrots that are cropping now.
Be inventive and discover combinations that work for you.
It’s turning dry in many areas and we need to be selective when watering. Give plenty of water every 3-5 days rather than a sprinkling daily: this results in less evaporation. I prefer to water in the morning, adding to the dew!
At Homeacres we water by hand, never with a sprinkler. This uses less water and results in less weed growth eg on paths. Vegetables worth watering include salads that are cropping especially lettuce, celery, peas that are flowering and cropping, pea shoots, and recently planted veg until you see them growing strongly.
Now there is such a huge amount of materials available. My main heaps of 1.5m square have enough mass to maintain heat of 60-70C, occasionally more if I don’t get enough brown with the green we add.
The black bin’s lower volume means the temperature rarely goes above 40C and while this is enough for reasonably fast compost-making, it does not kill weed seeds. I lifted it off and you can see decomposed material at bottom and fresh green at top. See my compost making video for more details.
Growth is now so fast. The last 5 weeks here has been as rapid a start to summer growth since 1990, and today sees the first cucumber harvest.
Keep up with sideshooting, water thoroughly every 2-3 days.
Cookery course in Ireland with gardening too
Ballymaloe Cookery School is unusual for its strong links to the soil, with its own farm and all organic food. As well as their mainstay and famous 12 week courses, whose participants now run restaurants all over the world, they offer a new 5 week intensive.
You get involved with the garden which is increasingly no dig. However they are not finding time to spread the compost! see lettuce photo – the plants still grow and better than if the soil was tilled, but a mulch would make soil and plants happier and better fed.
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It’s in Canada too, a sad tale from there on the forum. It seems one needs to test more and more.
I trust a bean test, sow broad beans in manure from different parts of your heap. If growth is normal it’s ok, but any contamination will show as curled leaves etc.
Sow a few beans in normal compost at the same time to match growth visually, because growth is not always ‘perfect’ in uncontaminated compost or soil.