The beautiful start has blossomed into yet another scorcher of a day, with the outside temperature reading 28.6 degrees C (83.4F) and it’s only 1.15pm. I’ve just returned from watering the school garden and polytunnel and have decided that due to the heat outside and the sauna like conditions in the polytunnel, despite having a couple more days of school to go, Gardening Club will end today and restart in September when the school reopens.
Of course the squash flowers weren’t the only ones to get the attention of the early bees and other pollinators, runner bean, climbing bean, mangetout and potato flowers were all populated and in the large greenhouse, I noticed that the purple podded pea flowers are starting to open.
The cayenne chillis have been flowering for a few weeks and there are a number of peppers forming already. I don’t rely on pollinators where the chillis are concerned and my paint brush isn’t really suitable, so first thing in the morning, I gently ‘tap’ the top of the stick with which the plants are supported, to release the pollen. This was a trick suggested to me by a gardener of several decades, a few years ago and it works a treat. The other chillis are just coming into flower now and so after a dreadful start to the year for my chilli seedlings, things are starting to look up.
After evicting several land Rover parts which were hogging all the table space outside, I spent part of this morning under the gazebo, in the shade, keeping as cool as I could (which wasn’t very) and spent an hour or so potting on the last of my Rosso lettuce, Moretons lettuce and Chicory (Radicchio) seedlings, as the last lot are about finished now. I need to get back into the greenhouse shortly to tidy up, dead leaf etc but with the temperatures the way they are, this prospect isn’t really appealing to me at the moment. Weeding is another essential job that needs to be done, sooner rather than later but which is also proving less than appealing in this heat.
Navigating around parts of the garden is getting a little tricky at the moment, as bushy tall plants have spread themselves wide (the potatoes for example) and those with vines are now rampaging across the garden. That said, in an effort to contain the situation, I am trying to get the Anna Swartz Hubbard squash plants which are growing in and down the wooden barrels to grow round the base of the barrels, in a relatively orderly fashion. So far it seems to be working and the broad green leaves of the plants look fabulous against the pale green and copper of the newly painted barrels. As for the beans, well they are certainly a determined bunch and are continuing to use the height of the tubs to grab at the lower branches of the Birch trees, seemingly intent on climbing to the very top but so far I’ve spotted them all and nipped the growing tips out of the more adventurous vines.
Another plant to be taking over a bit at the moment are the strawberries. Runners are going off in all directions which bodes well for a decent batch of new, young plants to be dug up and potted on for overwintering in the greenhouses but some of them are trying to root into the hardcore and gravel path and are literally getting under foot.
The Sweetpeas in the vegetable patch flower border are looking beautiful and are certainly a favourite with the bees. The seeds for these were given to me at Christmas by Little Mudlet and are a striking mix of pinks and purples. They add a little drop of colour to a part of the garden which is predominantly green, due to the fact that the flower bed is next to the Sweetcorn and the pumpkins and squash planted at the base of these, are only now starting to flower in earnest.
All in all, things are looking well in the garden ….. especially those dratted weeds which seem to grow better than anything else whatever the weather. I need to go and start uprooting them but with the temperature now above 29 degrees, I may wait until midnight, when it should be at a more manageable 20 degrees!