The allotment in June is a place of great joy. It is a relief now that most of our plants are safely in the ground. Every time we visit, the good news is they have grown! Any plot holder who is away from their plot for even a week at this time of year, will know the feeling too well, as weeds grow equally quickly. With that in mind, do keep a sharpened hoe close to hand and try and fit in up to fifteen minutes of hoeing on every visit to keep on top of any weeds.
The past few times I have visited my plot I have not been alone… Two robins have been shadowing my every move. I started paying particular attention to this as often robins are generally solitary birds. However I became convinced there were two. How wrong I was, as in fact there were at least three! Hidden near a spruce tree was at least one visible fledgling hopping around in the undergrowth; the adult robins were doing sorties with freshly dug up worms and grubs to feed this still vulnerable little bird. How lovely and what a wonderful spin off to allotment gardening; a timely reminder that allotments can provide good homes for wildlife.
Frost should be a thing of the past now and we can put away the fleece for another season. However, my fig tree “Brown Turkey” was hit by the unseasonably hard frost at the end of April. This has been an eye-opener. As despite the often harsh northern England climate, the tree has cropped reliably well over the last few years outside. However, this year with now blackened stunted figs and very late foliage may be an exception. At least the tree has survived for better prospects next year.
At the beginning of June I will plant the black tomato “Indigo Rose” (as well growing two more plants of the same variety in the greenhouse) outside in a sheltered yet sunny spot. They have been grown on from plug plants. This is an impressively vigorous and strong growing tomato that incredibly already had open flowers on it, on the windowsill by May 25th. I have been careful to harden the plant off, to avoid too much of a shock as it settles into its new home. I am expecting big things from this and the blight resistant tomato “Crimson Crush”. All we need now is some sun.
By the end of May my over wintered broad beans “Aquadulce Claudia” were nicely forming pods. By the second week in June I should be able to harvest fresh broad beans for the first time this year. It is a pleasing moment that my favourite vegetable is almost back!
I have also being sowing follow on broad beans in succession until the end of May which is really the latest time to sow broad beans until autumn. Varieties used include the attractive pink seeded variety “Karmazyn” which Witkiem Manita”.
My visits to the plot are averaging at least four times per week recently, for about one hour each time. Little and often is the way to go at this time of year.
There are many small yet essential jobs to do: runner beans sometimes need tying into the canes to encourage them to twine, carrots need thinning during the evening (to deter carrot fly) and routinely all young plants need plenty of water in the first few weeks if it is dry.
I have now ceased cropping asparagus and added a thick mulch of well-rotted organic matter around the crowns to replenish them for next year.
Strawberries will soon be cropping; I have covered the bed with strong protective netting in anticipation now that pollination of the flowers has taken place.
Wild birds (admittedly perhaps not pigeons!) and wildlife will always be welcome on my plot- mind you I draw the line at them pinching the strawbs. Then again they will doubtless get a few at the end of the season anyway…..