I didn’t write a garden update from June because I didn’t feel like I had much to say other than ‘Yes, everything is growing!’ but now when I look back on my May garden update I can see that so much changed in just four short weeks.
June and July have been amazing months in the garden because everything has suddenly bloomed! It’s all a bit crazy and wild and I’m sure 40% of the things growing are weeds but I kind of love the chaos of it.
My new greenhouse!
We do have a big new addition to the garden and that’s my greenhouse.
I’m so in love with this greenhouse!
It’s the BillyOh 4000 12 x 6 and cost just under £1,000. It’s a lot cheaper than most greenhouses of this size so I was a little concerned it was would be flimsy, but I’m really pleased it. Building a raised base was expensive (we needed it raised because our garden floods) and it did take Sam all weekend to construct it but now it’s in place I think it looks perfect.
I’ve currently got tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and a few lettuce seedlings starting off.
My raised beds
My raised beds are going wild!
I know now that I definitely planted things too close together – something I’m sure I’ll get better at each year. I did (mostly) read the instructions on packets but it’s difficult to imagine how big these plants will get when you’re planting tiny little seedlings!
My peas were not a success. I didn’t keep an eye on them, didn’t water them properly and didn’t support them to grow up. In my defence, the packet did say they only grow to 30cm and wouldn’t need supporting but some of these peas were enormous!
I also had no idea they’d be ready to pick so quickly and I left them too long and they all went bad. But that’s OK. I made this discovery in early July so I pulled them all up and planted some new seeds directly into the soil and they’re all looking good. I’ll definitely support these ones and pick them ASAP.
Look at that! I’ve grown a cucumber!
I’ll be honest, my cucumber plants do not look healthy. I’ve been pretty sure they’re dead on a number of occasions but this little fella is gone against all the odds and grown an actual cucumber!
We had a bumper crop of strawberries for about 6 days. And then nothing!
What!? I thought they’d keep producing fruit all year round!
We love strawberries and eat a lot of them in our house but I’m realising that we’re going to need a lot of strawberry plants next year to make it worthwhile.
Our courgettes are coming thick and fast now. A little too think and a little too fast! I asked on this post on Instagram for any courgette based recipes and there were lots of suggestions if you’re interested!
I’ve got two courgette plants inside the greenhouse in pots, two in the ground in regular garden soil and I’ve got three in my raised beds in lovely compost where they get a lot of sunlight. The ones in the raised beds are definitely doing the best. The ones in the greenhouse are big but they’re not producing nearly as many courgettes so I think I’ll move them outside – but I’m thinking it might be the pots that are the problem. The ones in a shady spot in the garden are getting there but they’re about three weeks behind the others.
We have tomatoes!!
My tomato plants are doing OK. I’ve been told I left them to go too leggy but they look OK to me so I’m not really sure what this means.
They have flowers and fruit is slowly coming.
The leaves of some of my plants are mottled with yellow. I’ve done some research and I think it may be due to a lack of nutrients so I’m giving them more tomato food and I hope that fixes the problem.
Ahh sweetpeas. They’re doing so well! The ones I’ve planted in the ground are SO MUCH better than the ones in pots so I’ll definitely plant them all directly into the ground next year.
We had a tiny crop of mini carrots! These are round, golf ball shaped carrots and they were lovely.
I don’t think I’ll bother again with mini ones though. I thought the kids would think they were cute and I imagined them wandering barefoot into the garden and pulling out carrots to snack on. Of course, it doesn’t work like that because they’re muddy when you pull them up and the kids weren’t interested in eating anything that was previously muddy!
Mini carrots are also just as much effort as regular carrots so I think I’ll just go for big ones next!
My window boxes
You may remember I was quite excited about these window boxes but I’ve found they’re just too shallow for anything but salad leaves or herbs. That’s OK though because they are a great place for them – I just need to remember not to bother with anything else in them next year.
We had our first crop of potatoes in mid June which was very exciting.
I now have four buckets still full of potatoes but they’re not ready yet.
I completely forgot that runner beans are so tall and I haven’t supported them properly at all! Remember for next year: get a proper trellis for runner beans! Or better yet, make something really fun so the runner beans can create a den for the kids!
A lot of my seedlings have been demolished by slugs which is very annoying. Next year I’ll make more of an effort to start things off in the greenhouse and find ways to deter the slugs!
These aren’t marigolds
I was very proud of myself for ‘interplanting’ marigolds with my tomatoes and other veggies. Marigolds apparently give off a smell that the creepy crawlies don’t like so they keep pests away from your crops.
But my marigolds were getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Eventually I realised they’re not marigolds at all but they’re chrysanthemums (I think!)
So I’m going to have some random plants in my veggie beds!
I’m still a big fan of the bokashi bin but it doesn’t really work during the peak summer months. It involves burying food waste in the garden and I don’t have anywhere I can dig a big hole at the minute. I’ve been putting the fermented food waste into large buckets and covering it with garden soil which does seem to be working but I’ve run out of pots now.
I do put some food scraps on the compost heap but it attracts mice so I’m mostly just putting it into our food waste bin for the council to dispose of.
I’ve surprised myself with how excited I am already about my garden next year! We haven’t even got to the best bit of this year yet and I’m already thinking about how I’ll do things differently in 2022.
The main thing I’ll do differently is keeping things separate and dividing my beds. I will definitely keep plants together and section them off into their own areas. This is partly because different plants need different care but also to help with weeding. I love my raised beds because, although the look a bit wild at the moment, I know exactly what I’ve planted where so when a weed pops up I can remove it straight away.
But in my main garden bed, I have no idea what I’ve planted where! This meant I was slow to start weeding because I wasn’t sure what anything was until it was big! And now I have so many enormous weeds and I can’t really be bothered digging them out!
The other thing I’ll do is to make sure plants that need support are supported from the start. I lost a lot of plants by not supporting them properly.