A Proper Summer!

Yes! A proper summer at last. This is the best summer since 2006!

Although it was a long cold spring, with many plants suffering. My tomato plants looked quite sorry for themselves in April, but are wonderful now. I have been harvesting a small number of ripe Sungold tomatoes over the last week and I have others on bush plants ready too. No other varieties ripe, but there are lots of nice trusses on my Gardeners Delight, Black Krim, Purple Ukrain and my grafted Orangina. I have a plant of Indigo Rose which is supposed to have purply blue skin. The unripe fruits already have a blue tinge. I cant wait for my tomatoes to ripen in all colours of the rainbow! Watch the temperatures in the greenhouse or poly tunnel. In the strong sun, temps can easily rocket to well over a 100 degrees, ventilate well on hot days, and see that your plants dont go short of water. Blossom end rot can be a problem and is a sign of erratic watering. I check my plants morning and evening and just let the top inch or sow of compost dry out before watering again. I am feeding once a week at the moment, I will increase feeding to twice a week as fruits start to swell and ripen.

I have already picked half a dozen cucumbers, with many more to come. No sign of any set melons yet, but there’s plenty of time. As cucumbers like humidity I spray then every other day with water.

My chilli and sweet pepper plants are all setting fruits, I have about 20 different varieties, is so exciting waiting to see the results of the different shapes and colours of the pods. They all have different tastes too.

My onions are growing really nicely, I am feeding them once a week with a good general feed and keeping them well watered in the dry weather. My garlic is still quite green, though I have noticed a few leaves starting to yellow at the tips. I think they will be ready to harvest in another 2 or 3 weeks.

I have sown more lettuce and rocket, all my other plants have bolted.

I have been cropping lots of fresh peas which I mostly eat raw, and my climbing pea beans, purple podded Bluhilde, and Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are setting lots of pods.

See also  Late sowings of peas

The new Elsanta strawberries have done well in their first year, but I’m not impressed with the pale pink Pineberry. The plants have grown well, but produced hardly any flowers or fruit. I will lift them in late summer and give them another chance in some pots. I will plant more Elsanta in their place from runners that I am rooting now.

Getting a few raspberries, but most fruit will be later as most of my rasps are autumn fruiting varieties. I have a great crop of fruit on my blueberries, they are grown in pots and I think this year will be the best yet.

I am growing sweetcorn Fiesta, it’s a multi coloured corn and is looking fabulous. It’s about 7 feet tall already with many of the stems and leaves having red and purple colouring as well as the green. They are starting to produce cobs and flowers.

Watering takes quite a lot of time in the hot sunny weather, though I love it. It gives me time to really look and appreciate my crops and flowers and watch the insects at work. There are lots more butterflies about this summer, they are loving the sun too. We have had a couple of very heavy showers, which helped the garden a lot. More heavy rain is forecast in the next few days.

As room becomes available in the plot, I will be planting leeks and purple sprouting broccoli for winter and spring use.

Helen Fowler
Born in Middlesbrough. Moved to live in rural North Yorkshire in late teens. Moved back to the town in my 30's to live near Stockton on Tees. Then after a divorce and a serious accident I moved back to rural North Yorkshire near Thirsk, where I live now. I am a passionate gardener, a keen amateur photograper, I love travel, music, anything artistic and I have a great love of nature and the natural world. I have gardened since my teens and I lived and worked on a farm for years. I have owned or have experience with most pets and domestic animals. I hope by sharing my own experiences and the personal knowledge I have gained over the years, to help and encourage others to gain the most from their gardening efforts.

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