Harvesting is picking up pace somewhat and whilst the strawberries have finished, the Mangetout is still producing although it is dying back now and Rattlesnake Pole Beans and Courgettes, are in full production mode. The first of the tomatoes have been picked, as have the cucumbers and it won’t be long before the Inca Berries and carrots join the mix.
What have we been doing in the garden this month?
Over the last couple of weeks or so, we’ve had a quite a run of mostly dry and very humid weather, broken very, very occasionally by impressive and loud thunderstorms and so we’ve had to do a lot of watering both in the poly tunnel and out in the beds and tubs. Thankfully my year 5 girls have continued to undertake the majority of the watering which has been a huge help, as it has meant I could concentrate on other things.
The last few gardening club sessions were quite hectic but my band of intrepid gardeners managed to plant out the last of the mixed brassicas and some leeks. The leek planting was a bit of a godsend actually, as one of my keenest gardeners had broken her elbow in a freak accident a few weeks earlier, resulting in being fitted with an enormous cast and had been restricted to what she could do in terms of planting out: she dug the holes and two of her friends did the actual planting. I know she found the whole process frustrating and so with the leek planting she was delighted to discover she could do the whole thing herself, with the exception of removing the leeks from their tubs and trimming their roots which I did for her. Make a hole, pop a leek in and water! What could be simpler.
More carrots and beetroots were also sown to prolong the harvest later in the year, as were Mangetout seeds, Rattlesnake Pole beans and Grandpas Runner beans.
With a final bout of weeding, Gardening Club ended the school year with a healthy and productive garden and the maintenance over the summer is my responsibility.
Meanwhile, the Foundation Area planters are fully operational and the large planter now has its’ smart new micromesh cover and frame in place, offering vital and much need protection to the beetroot, carrot and lettuces which are growing in abundance within its’ confines. The cover itself is fabulous, sporting an all round zip, over the centre of the mesh which affords easy access for watering and harvesting.
In addition to the edible crops we also have a number of flower seedlings growing on in the poly tunnel which will be used in the various pots, tubs and beds around the grounds and will help brighten the place up next year, as all the varieties sown were perennials.
Jobs that need to be done over the next month:
The old stand of mangetout needs to be ripped out and replaced, as the plants have started to die back already. To be honest and as I covered in my post on Friday, the mangetout has been a bit of a disappointment this year, as it hasn’t proved as prolific as the variety I normally grow ‘Oregon Sugar Pod‘. That said the children have enjoyed the sweeter, yellow pods of the ‘Golden Sweet’ and so I do plan to grow these with the Gardening Club next year but alongside the ‘Oregon Sugar Pods‘. As for the ‘Bijou‘ pods, in my opinion these have been a resounding failure across both gardens and I won’t be growing them again. To be fair though, I suspect it’s a preference thing, as we are used to tender, crisp pods and we found that the ‘Bijou‘ pods were tougher than the norm, especially if you allowed them to grow larger than 4 inches or so, but I suspect these would work well for growers who prefer a sugar snap pea.
So following on from that first point, once the mangetout plants have been removed, I will plant the runner bean seedlings which are growing on in the poly tunnel, against the soon to be vacant bamboo pyramid. There are also a few more Rattlesnake Pole bean seedlings to plant out and they will be mixed in with the existing Pole bean plants to provide a successional crop.
During the summer break, I will continue to harvest the vegetables as and when necessary but unfortunately we weren’t able to arrange for the church to deliver them to the pensioners this year and so I will be dropping vegetables off to families from the school, who live locally.
Other Garden News:
Over in the pumpkin bed we have a couple of fruits now growing and one is already the size of a small football. Sadly, one pumpkin fell victim to the grounds maintenance crew. The vine had grown over the edge of the bed and had settled on the grass, a fruit had set and had grown to a respectable large grapefruit size when the grass cutting team arrived …… and went through the vine and pumpkin with a strimmer!!! Frustrating really, as it isn’t that difficult to spot a pumpkin vine really, I mean the leaves are huge! But that’s life and there is still plenty of time for the plant to set another fruit and I am now taking care to make sure the vines are confined to the beds themselves.
Meanwhile, in the poly tunnel, alongside the tomatoes and cucumbers, the Inca Berries are flourishing and we have dozens of little green lanterns across the three plants residing there. I have no idea how long these fruit take to ripen but I’m hopeful that there will be plenty for the children to try come September.
So there you have it. All is well with the garden and we look set for a bumper harvest this year and there will hopefully be one or two surprises waiting for the children when they come back after the summer break which will bea round the time of the next Garden Share Collective, so please pop back and see how the garden is doing as we approach autumn. In the meantime, don’t forget to go have a look at the other gardens in the Collective and find out what’s happening where they are.