July 2021

I tempted fate with my sign-off from last month because it ended with “enjoy the sun”. Sadly, the sun didn’t last for very long and the weather soon changed to a more typical English summer. On 5th & 6th July, I received a yellow warning of severe gales for the southeast via my Met Office App. As you have probably noticed, my image of a tree has slightly changed this month as I thought I would show you what those winds did to one of my poor apple trees. It was past saving and is now either in the council grey garden waste bin or added to my garden log pile hotel for the local insects. It's a shame as it was full of little apples. Less June drop more July felling!

On the plus side, though, I have been harvesting a large quantity of broad beans for both the pot and the freezer, spinach, courgettes, spring onions, lettuce and the beetroot that all the experts said that I had started off in the wrong pots.

I am particularly pleased with my courgettes. I have had quite a few from the 6 plants that I planted up at the allotment. I’ve always known that It’s a very fine line between harvesting a courgette and great big marrow. If I accidentally leave it overnight because it is hiding under a large leaf then next morning I will get a marrow.

My broad beans were a big attraction for swarms of black fly. I was always under the impression that beans sowed in the autumn or early winter weren’t as susceptible to infestations of the dreaded black fly as those sowed in spring. Unfortunately, no one told the black fly that mine were to be left alone. I tried some eco-friendly/helpful bug friendly spray from the RHS (via that well known online shopping channel) but it never really eradicated the problem. They weren’t doing that much damage to the beans, they just didn’t look very award winning, so I accepted that I was never going to eradicate the little pests completely. In any case, I wasn’t entering the allotment in for any awards. However, contrast that to the nasty chemical insecticide that I sprayed on the blackfly attacking Montana and Princess Diana (clematis). Wow, they were gone overnight. I was careful, I made sure that there were no friendly little insects around (well, apart from the ants that were farming the black fly) and that I was downwind of the spray. I would never use that type of spray on my beans, even though it said I could. I didn’t fancy eating beans that had been sprayed with an insecticide. Mind you, who knows what they spray on shop bought veg.

The Dahlias and Cornflowers on the allotment are beginning to open out and I have been cutting them. However, the sweet peas are still a long way off. My runner beans have some lovely looking flowers on them but I’m not cutting those because I’m more interested in the bean.

The Sunflowers are coming on well too, as are the pumpkins, cucumbers and sweetcorn. My cabbages and cauliflowers are doing so well that they are attempting to bully everything else out of the way. I have even eaten two raspberries from those bare rooted canes that I planted in the winter. Actually, I'm quite impressed because I wasn't expecting any fruit from them this year. If you want to see how well everything is doing, look at the photo gallery page of the website.

I understand the Met Office is highly confident that a heatwave will hit the UK between mid-July and mid-August. Fingers crossed that it happens because it’ll be time to get out the paddling pool, the sun cream and those fancy shorts of mine hiding in the wardrobe that were being saved for the foreign holiday we're not allowed to have. We can’t go to the Mediterranean, so the Mediterranean weather is coming to us!

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