Kitchen garden update
The new raised beds in my kitchen garden are now finished and planted up with this years vegetables, surrounded with a sturdy net fence to keep deer and rabbits out. Sadly it seems that this gloriously sunny weather we have had for the last six weeks means that my vegetables are struggling in the drought, and although I spend two hours each evening watering them it hardly seems to matter. Later on, when we have time, the paths between the raised beds will be covered in wood chips and it will all look much prettier, but for now I value functionality before beauty.
The soil in the raised vegetable beds is on the sandy side, not retaining water as I would have wished, and would benefit from a healthy layer of composted manure as mulch. However, I am still waiting for this years load of horse muck compost to be delivered, so I haven't been able to mulch between the plants in the way I usually do.
I have used what little grass clippings we got of the lawns to mulch the potatoes, as seen in the picture above. The lawns too are so dry that we only cut them twice this month, so not much mulching material from here either I'm afraid. Happily my potatoes seem to be growing well anyhow, and I'm super excited as it is the first time I'm growing this variety of Purple Salad potatoes.
In the other end of the same bed my seedling Glass Gem corn are the only plants that are really happy in this weather. These little troopers are my most interesting experiment for this year - will they be as beautifully multicoloured as the seed packet suggested?!
Less growth is going on in the bed that houses carrots, onions and beetroots. You really need a microscope to see any progress amongst the seedlings here, and I have nightmares that they all have died in the sweltering heat. The things we gardeners worry about...
The leeks are the only ones who apparently don't mind heat and sandy soil. From being little twiggy shoots they have grown into strapping young plants in just three weeks. My kale and broccoli, on the other hand, are limp little straggly babies no matter how much tender loving care I give them.
When I planted them out (having grown them in plugs from seed) I did plant them as deep as I dared, but nevertheless they are lanky and sulking under the fleece blanket. It's all in the soil I'm sure, and so I wait with less and less patience for the horse muck compost to be delivered after midsummer.
Next to the peas and beans are the Gem squash that I got as seeds from my friend Philip. I had an epic plant-envy tantrum when he sent me pictures of his plants, as they were twice as large as mine... Well, as far as one-uppmanship goes I think I win as I have a new pet in my compost heap!