Summer Solstice Veg Patch Update
There’s an opening line in one of the original River Cottage episodes, where the camera pans across the garden and house, and HFW says ‘It’s high summer at River Cottage’.
When I watch this episode back, it always sends a little whoosh of excitement through my body. It is such a magical time of year, when everything is blooming and harvests are aplenty.
With this in mind, and being the longest day of the year, I thought I’d blog about what’s happening in my own garden right now, because I’m currently experiencing more excitement there – finally, after Winter and Spring of empty beds, they’re beginning to look like a proper veg patch again.
I’ve been planting out over the last couple of weekends, with tomatoes, courgettes, bonus gift cauliflowers, outdoor cucumbers, kale, sweetcorn and mangetout all going in. They’ve been supplemented with melons, indoor cues and peppers in the greenhouse. It’s such a wonderful feeling to see beds filling up.
Slugs, Snails and More Slugs!
There have been some odd goings on though. I’ve had two courgette plants eaten by slugs so far, which has never happened to me before. I’ve had them munch the usual suspects in the past, like lettuce and pea seedlings, but never sizeable courgette seedlings. Fortunately, I’ve been saved by some Facebook friends who donated me spare courgette plants (thanks Ian and Katrina!). I’m not sure I can imagine a Summer without courgettes…
Slugs and snails have been a right pain in the butt, as it goes. They’ve also nabbed a cucumber plant, several of the cauliflowers and salad leaves. Talk seems to suggest that the mild Winter failed to kill the little critters off, so there are twice as many this year. They’re even crawling over the bits of eggshells I’ve laid around the base of the plants to munch the seedlings.
Chatting to a local vegetable farming friend recently, she estimated that of 2000 cabbage plants in their fields, 95% of them were eaten by the slugs (which puts my woes in context!).
Winning With the Strawbs and Brassica Protection
I have beaten the slugs to my strawberries though. Last year, I lost loads of my fruit to slugs and snails, but tidying the beds to limit places for the slimies to live has seemingly had a positive effect, and generally the berries have left well alone. I’m calling my fight with the slugs a draw at the moment…
Beating pests is a theme at the moment. I ummed and erred about growing kale and cavolo nero this year after so many cabbage white brassica massacres, but I’m giving it one more go. Let battle commence:
And then there is this one, teaching himself to use a rake. Unfortunately, I’d just sown some seeds in there…
Happy Summer Solstice one and all.