Wednesday 11 September 2013

Victory Garden - July and August - We Had a Summer!!!

I decided to merge July and August's Victory Garden progress into one post, this is partly to do with the fact that I have been either on holiday or ill over the last two months which equals less allotmenteering and partly due to the fact that there is a little less to do (which is quite a relief, to be honest) apart from watering and weeding of course!



"The summer looks out from her brazen tower,
Through the flashing bars of July." Francis Thompson

The beautiful weather I had while I was away was great for me but disastrous for my allotment, I don't think I could have picked a worse week to leave them to fend for themselves. The hot weather and lack of rain meant my poor little plants were not in the best of shape on my return.

Thankfully with my Mum coming up to London with me I, at last, had some help! She is my saviour in more ways than one, I must make sure I tell her. We spent two early mornings watering and weeding, which finally started to make a bit of a difference to the sun weary plants.

Sadly, though, despite our best efforts, the lack of water and persistent black fly infestation had left my poor broad beans beyond saving. I did cry, I know it's pathetic, but they were the first things I had planted and were looking so good, I was concerned it may have been a sign of things to come.

To cheer me up my Dad suggested that I buy some, Acuadulce seeds, which can be planted in September and should mean that they will be less likely to be black fly-ridden as they should be harvested before the black fly start reproducing! Oh and I also learnt that they can also be called fava beans, you learn something new every day!

Again the carrots I'd planted at the end of June didn't germinate, it's hardly surprising as they just didn't get enough water to give them the start they needed, though the weeds seem to have not been hampered at all at the dry spell.

The Brussel Sprouts and Cabbages, however, were growing slowly but well. They have been well protected from the pests by some netting I found in the shed earlier in the year at this point I couldn't quite distinguish between the two verities, I am sure it won't be long before they reveal which is which!

I mentioned earlier in the year that I have always had trouble with growing marrows, this year every seed germinated, my luck has certainly changed! Which means I have 15 plants, that's more than enough marrow for anyone! 

I planted the first of these in mid-July in my first section of the plot, as I had a bit of space due to using the wigwam method for my runner beans rather than making a row of canes.

The nicest thing in July has to be finding, one solitary gooseberry.

I had expected slim pickings on the fruit bushes, due to them being moved, but despite the small amount of blossom and my hopeful attempts at hiding them under net from the birds, I couldn't see any fruit so this lone gooseberry was a welcome surprise, not enough to make a crumble but ripe enough for a quick snack it was eaten right there and then!



This is the month of weeds
Kex, charlock, thistle . . .Spurry, pimpernel, quitch . . .
Making for trouble.'

By August everything that was going to survive the drought, had picked back up and was looking rather healthy! And as the quote above says it's certainly 'the month for weeds'

I planted up another wigwam of runner beans, at the end of the once broad bean row, which should give me a nice succession over then next few months. I've found they are the perfect thing to help make friends when they get growing they can be prolific, which means there is alway more than enough ready to be given away.

The first row of marrows were getting bigger by the day and full of blooms, one even had its first ickle baby marrow, I got insanely excited by this, I mean come on it's so cuuuuute!

I also planted two more rows, in the 3rd section (the weedy section) as I had lots of space, the ground was so dry that I ended up having to almost chisel the soil out to plant then, which left me with loads of boulders of soil, I have mad little soil boulder circles around each to help keep the water near the roots, and also makes them look like little campfires!

The Dwarf French beans were looking seriously healthy they hadn't been too hampered by the drought they were covered with beans!

I've harvested a fair few lbs of pods which have been munched or given to friends, the remaining pods of which there are loads, have become a bit too stringy to eat whole so I have decided to leave them to mature to fully formed beans so I can dry/freeze them to use in stews and the like over the autumnal months.

I transplanted my lettuces in early July, I decided to use the gaps between the first set of fruit bushes just so that I could easily cover them with some netting (my old curtains).

By early August they had matured into very tasty little plants, I munched on lovely fresh salad nearly every day in August.

I had to harvest the onions and shallots a little early due to the dry weather, they aren't the greatest in size but they are not too bad and will certainly save us a bit of money over the next few months They are currently drying in my lean-to greenhouse ready for storing, and pickling.

I finally got round to planting up my cauliflowers. I'll admit I had forgotten about them they sat in my lean-to much longer than they should have (I'd forgotten what they even were, next year I must label everything) and I completely flouted the plan by putting them in where the onions had been, as it was the only ground soft enough to dig over at the time.

They are nice and cozy under some net, for now, hopefully, they will mature enough to eat; if not well I only have myself to blame!

So that is, that for July and August. September is already shaping up to be the month of harvesting, with greengages and damsons ripening up for jams and many a marrow to be picked, all those weekends of hard work are starting to pay off!

Wendy x


  1. it's such an amazing feeling when you harvest your own efforts. Equally heart breaking when mother nature has other plans. Your allotment looks great.

  2. So pleased to see that all your hard work has paid off! There is something truly satisfying in eating what you've grown with your own fair hands! The girls have loved their little vegetable patch but the runner beans are so late this year! The plants are still smothered with red flowers but with the turn in the weather, I'm not sure they'll actually come to much!
    I look forward to seeing September's post and the jams you make xx