Monday 7 July 2014

Garden Share Collective - July 2014

Well, if May was a planting month, June was certainly a harvesting month. It was the month in which I got my first big harvests of the year. Stars of the show this time were the potatoes. The quality of the tubers this year is amazingly good, which I put down to the fact that the potato plants have been grown in composted stable manure. Not a sign of Scab, and hardly a blemish of any sort.

My favourite is "Charlotte", a very reliable and prolific Second Early, with waxy oval tubers. An excellent salad potato.

In the Good Looks department, "Red Duke of York" probably wins:

But "Blue Kestrel" is also a strong contender.

Early in the month I had a few "Purple Top Milan" Turnips - tasty, but far too few!

The Lettuces this year have been amazing. Some of them scored very well in terms of size, like this "Green Oak Leaf" one:

Whereas others were more notable for their quality - such as this "Devin":

During the month I had the first of my Carrots. Just a few though; they were ones that were in danger of bolting. I'm leaving most of them to mature further before harvesting them.

The Broad Beans were all harvested within the month. I had a good crop this year, and we particularly liked the variety "Stereo" (on the right, below), which produces small but very tender and tasty beans.

In the UK everyone associates June (and the Wimbledon tennis tournament) with Strawberries!

I don't have much space to devote to Strawberries (I grow them in black plastic crates), so I'm never going to have a big harvest, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in terms of quality.

The biggest news this month from my garden is unfortunately not good. As I'm sure many readers are already aware, I have had a major issue with weedkiller-contaminated compost which has caused all sorts of deformities to occur in many of my plants, particularly the beans, chillies and tomatoes.

Tomato plant deformed by weedkiller contamination in compost

Chilli plant deformed by weedkiller-contaminated compost
This issue has definitely been a big setback, but it's not a disaster, and I expect to get at least a small crop from even the worst-affected plants. We had had high hopes of a bumper harvest of tomatoes (dreaming of such a glut that the freezer would be stuffed full of tomato sauce...), but sadly that is not going to happen. Nevertheless, these don't look too bad, do they?

There's lots of promise elsewhere too. The Runner Beans have reached the tops of their canes, and have produced loads of flowers. No pods yet, but I'm fairly sure that this time next month I'll be reporting that I have harvested a decent quantity.

You can also see in that photo above that I have stopped harvesting Asparagus, and am now leaving it to develop fern so that it builds up strength for next year.

The Brussels Sprouts are continuing to develop nicely, protected by their net from the Cabbage White butterflies.

This is the "Winter Veg" bed, with Swedes (left), Leeks (centre), and Cabbages (right). There's a row of Beetroot visible in the nearer bed too.

This is a part of the "Nursery", where I have lots of little Lettuces, Endives, Chicories etc coming on for successional planting when space becomes available. Growing space doesn't stay idle for very long in my garden during the Summer-time!

Harvested in June:
Broad Beans
Spring Onions
Lots of herbs

Planted in June:
Swede Turnips

Sown in June:

This is my monthly entry for The Garden Share Collective.

See you here next month!


  1. Those Devin lettuces looks delicious!

  2. I think you have a far better chance of perfect potatoes when you grow in containers rather than open ground. You have reaped a bounty - we are just getting there.

  3. hello from another garden sharer. i'm overwhelmed by everything you are growing. it's astounding and just wonderful to see. the runner bans with their scarlet flowers - make wistful for our warmer months, which are very far away. so thanks for summer by proxy!

  4. Those runner beans are so showy. I miss having them in the garden, but more for their flowers than their beans as I like the normal pole beans better for taste.

  5. Fantastic harvest Mark! I'm another Garden Sharer and am quite envious over here in chilly old Melbourne! Your potatoes are just brilliant, i am very inspired to get my garden in order so I can have a great Summer harvest like you! Julie :)

  6. It's all looking very good, Mark. Shame about the tomatoes (have you spoken to the compost supplier?); will the toms you get be edible even with weedkiller in the compost? And I'm amazed that the slugs and snails don't make their way towards your lovely lettuce trays - anything that I put on the ground seems to be fair game for them!

  7. Looking good, especially those spuds grown in compost. Sad to hear about your contaminated compost affecting your garden, nothing worse, hope it does set you back much. Enjoy harvest time :-)


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