in the garden – June 2013

herbs and flowers

herbs and flowers mixed together by the back door

This month I am linking up with Lizzie of Strayed from the Table for The Garden Share Collective.  The aim is to create a community of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills.

Where our vegetable garden is situated used to be a very bumpy grassed area, known as The Tennis Court even though tennis hadn’t been played there for twenty years. It seemed unreasonable that this dark and damp place, on the north side of the house, was where the children played while the vegetable garden basked in sunshine on the sunny south side of the house so, we built a new wall across the middle of the tennis court, grassed over the original vegetable garden and started a new vegetable patch. I grow my herbs mixed in with flowers on the sunny south side.

The raised beds, contained by railway sleepers, have made weeding a far more manageable task than the previously daunting prospect of tackling long rows in a large, traditional vegetable bed.

garden plan 2013

Each January, we make a plan for sowing that’s pinned up by the back door. We don’t stick to it rigidly, but at least it’s a guide and when Bill gets busy on the farm and abandons the vegebables, at least I can work out what he’s sown and not hoe them out thinking they’re weeds. Sometimes we even remember to write up the varieties.


runner beans

This spring was wet and cold so we got off to a late start. Experience has taught me that seeds sown into our cold, clay soil never come to much so it’s always better to wait for some spring warmth. Consequently, our runner beans and climbing French beans are still at ground level (and also because pigeons keep pecking the leaves). The theory of tying the canes in the middle is that the beans are more accessible than by using the more traditional tepee like structure, but I’m not sure how well it will work.

successional sowing of beetroot and carrots

Successional sowings of beetroot, carrots, salad crops and sugar snap peas have been made. You can see the different sowing dates of the carrots and beetroot in the photo above.

Runner beans, climbing French beans, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley that were sown in pots under cover have been planted out

swiss chard seedlings, potatoes behind

We sowed chard (above), fennel, dill, runner and climbing beans and in the greenhouse are growing basil next to the tomatoes because I love the smell when I open the greenhouse door in the mornings.

Less successfully, the leeks have germinated very poorly and all but one of the squash  died off. Cold, wet weather coupled with general apathy meant that we also have a few unopened packets of seeds.



We’ve finished cutting asparagus – we generally cut from St George’s Day until Derby Day and then let the asparagus grow up before cutting down in the autumn.

Rhubarb is still growing well but is eaten with rather less enthusiasm than previously.


Gooseberries are almost ready

Cherries are growing under a net (over a cage made with scaffold poles that you can see behind the runner bean bed) and we have a few that are just turning red. We’re hoping that the netting will stop the birds eating more cherries than we do.

next month

We’ll sow more peas and hope to pick the first of the beetroot, carrots and peas together with gooseberries, cherries, raspberries, loganberries, the first of the new potatoes and salad leaves.

tomato plants

I need to remember to water the tomatoes in the greenhouse, keep tying them up and to sideshoot them. This year I’m growing Super Marmande, Golden Sunrise, Ailsa Craig and Gardener’s Delight. There were too many plants for the greenhouse so the surplus were planted in the vegetable garden.

globe artichokesI may harvest the globe artichokes poking up amongst the alchemilla mollis and feverfew or I might just leave them in situ because they look so handsome.

Happy gardening.