Gardening Blog – A Busy Month on the Allotment

HH - echinops

My ancient gardening handbook describes June as ‘a busy month on the allotment’. We’re only in the first week, but already I agree. Everything is growing rapidly – and that includes the weeds.

This week’s rain was such a treat. It created nearly perfect conditions for planting out those seedlings we’ve all been nurturing in pots at home. Unusually, I’ve had a couple of free afternoons – just at the right time. By the end of the week, all the Runner beans and French beans should have been planted out on the allotment and the tomatoes and cucumbers will be safely in the soil in a sunny corner at home.

This month is pretty much our final chance to sow carrots, peas and Runner beans for this season. I’m having to re-sow my carrots as only a couple of the last batch germinated. Even they seem to have disappeared now.  The weeds had grown around them so thickly that I suspect I’ve hoed them up without realising it. I’m not the only one having problems.  Several Greencroft neighbours aren’t having much success with carrots this year either. Is anyone doing any better at Watermans?

Getting the sweetcorn planted out is also on the to-do list for this week. Don’t forget that it is wind pollinated and so is best planted in square or rectangular blocks rather than in rows. Only about half my seeds germinated so I’ve filled in the gaps with shop bought seedlings.

We eat a lot of lettuce but we’ll need more this summer. One of my sons and his young family will be staying with us on and off, while their house is being renovated.  As they really enjoy being able to pick their salad seconds before they eat it, I’ll need to sow more while the weather is relatively cool. As soon as it warms up lettuce stops germinating so reliably.

This summer, when I’m not on the allotment, I’ll be running a pilot study called Silent Space. I’m encouraging gardens that open to the public to reserve an area where people can enjoy their visit without being disturbed by the human voice. Our lives have become so hectic and full of the wrong kind of noise – it’s time to listen to the birds and the breeze in the trees.

I’m really grateful for the support of NT Greys Court.  They’ll be holding their Silent Space in The Tower Garden every Sunday in June from 10.00 – 12.00.  As part of Chelsea Fringe Henley, there will be an extra Silent Space in the pretty garden at the Friends’ Meeting House on Northfield End, Henley on Friday, 10th June from 1.30 – 3.30 pm. I’m looking forward to meeting fellow gardeners and garden visitors there.

Top tips from the allotment.

  • Now that strawberries are ripening, cover them to protect them from the birds
  • Plant out courgettes and sweetcorn
  • Earth up potatoes
  • Pick asparagus until mid-June and then leave it to gather strength for next year
  • Look out for asparagus beetles
  • Sow more carrots, beetroot, Runner Beans, French Beans and lettuce
  • Pinch out the tips of broad beans to deter aphids
  • Keep hoeing the weeds