Summer is here! – June 2022
Here we are in the middle of June, and everything is growing fantastically well both on the allotment and the nature trail.
I don’t know what I’ve done this year, but I’ve done something right, as we’re enjoying bumper crops on the allotment!
Key crops include the spinach which has just finished, it was absolutely delicious, and following on from my gamble planting it early, I am gambling again by sowing another crop now. Usually, you’d wait until August as spinach doesn’t like the heat, but the bed is in a shady moist spot so I am risking it.
The wonderfully colorful chard is doing very well, I’m surprised that more people don’t want to try it but as a relatively unusual vegetable, I am not sure everyone knows what to do with it. It’s a shame as it's incredibly simple to cook, you just separate the leaves from the stalks (the stalks take a couple of minutes longer to cook) then boil it and season with salt and pepper.
We have so much lettuce I was beginning to wonder what to do with it all but I am pleased to have found a recipe for lettuce soup. It doesn’t sound very inspiring, but it tastes really nice. If you’ve got masses of lettuces, it’s a great thing to do.
My organic pest-control methods are working well, the netting on the cabbages seems to be working but time will tell once the butterflies start making an appearance. The broad beans have got a bit of black fly, but I have pinched out the tops and I think this will encourage the black flies to move on as they’re only really interested in the soft new growth.
My mission to make the allotment look nice, as well as be productive is also going well, the Marigolds look stunning, and everyone seems to comment on them. The Nasturtiums also look lovely, and they are doing their job of attracting the black flies which diverts them away from the crops.
The nature trail is also looking good, everything is so different to last year, although I have a small part to play, it is mainly down to nature. It is interesting to see the new species appearing, while the problem-species from last year are receding.
There’s not much for me to do down here now that it has become established but I am doing some selective weeding where certain things, such as goose grass, are starting to take over. The Common Vetch was becoming a bit too rampant in the meadow but the bees love it, so I have just been thinning that out on a regular basis.
I’m really enjoying watching the wildlife, we’ve got a resident grass snake who can often be seen basking on the big log by the stream or taking a dip in the water. There are also newts in the water and various damsel flies, I have even just spotted a Broad-Bodied Chaser dragon fly as I am compiling this blog – fantastic!
We’ve seen families of birds thrive with at least two families of Blue Tits and one family of Great Tits raised this spring. I think a Woodpecker may have got into one of the Blue Tits nests as the hole is looking bigger than it should, but that’s nature.
The forest of Teasel is coming on, this will look stunning in about a months’ time. It was present last year but it didn’t flower as it’s a biennial – I am sure it’s going to put on a great show and be worth the wait.
Looking ahead, I’m looking forward to enjoying even more produce from the allotment, and a real influx of wildlife as the weather warms up, I’m confident it will happen, now the area is more established. I’d really encourage you to come and have a look, it’s all so lush and there is so much to see.