Welcome back to what is going to be my final gardening blog for now. I think if you have been following along, that you should have made a great start and hopefully are now reaping the benefits of all your hard work and your garden looks beautiful. Then in the coming weeks you will begin to harvest the fruit and vegetables that you have been tenderly propagating. This photo shows some tomatoes, mangetout, onions and a little green chilli growing in my garden and house.
I also made some delicious Pesto recently. If you remember back in March I started growing Basil. I bought the Basil in the supermarket and separated it into individual plants and transferred it into a propagator. This has been growing well since and I have been harvesting small amounts to add to soups and sauces, and as I pruned it back, I then put the trimmed pieces into water and they grew roots and I had lots of new plants.
This week though I harvested a larger amount and made some delicious Pesto. This makes a lovely tasty dinner and freezes well too (before final process of adding the cheese). Definitely worth having a go yourselves.
What to do over the coming months in your Garden:
There is plenty of continuing maintenance for all your plants. Remember to deadhead all your flowers and by cutting off dead blossoms you will encourage growth back into the plant to produce more. Watch out for pests on flowers and vegetables and deal with them as you can. Make sure to water regularly and to try to water at the base of plants, during the evening when the sun isn’t strong. You can also use an irrigation system with a timer if you are going to be busy. Adding mulch over the base of the plants also shields them from the sun and from drying out.
You can also continue planting out additional colour to your flower beds with a constant supply of summer
bedding. June and July are also good times to start seeds for perennials and biennials to bloom next spring. You can sow seeds in a protected seed bed and then transplant them in the autumn to overwinter, then bloom, ensuring a wonderful spring show in the garden next year.
And in your vegetable patch, you can keep sowing the likes of cut and come again salad crops. You could also sow a range of vegetables such as beetroot, kale, turnips, radishes and dwarf green beans.
Depending on when you planted out your vegetables, you will begin to harvest in June and then a lot more in July and August. This month you should see your Strawberries begin to bear fruit, particularly if they are early varieties.
Your early potatoes may also be ready. Mine have a lovely delicate flower blooming at the moment. You can begin to harvest your homegrown potatoes when the buds drop or the flowers that do bloom begin to fade. Another good indication is seeing unopened flower buds dropping from the plant. At this point, the leaves may still be green but some will begin fading to yellow. If you planted first earlies – they take about 90 days to grow. If planted mid March they are ready to harvest late June/July. Second earlies take around 110 days. If planted early April. Harvest in July, and main crop take about 135 days. Planted mid to late April, harvest late August, early September.
Peas will also be ready around this time and are at their best for a short time and should be picked often and eaten sooner rather than later, before their sweetness fades.
Then later in the summer, around July, your tomatoes, onions, courgettes, beans and fruits like raspberries and currants will be in abundance. So enjoy the “fruits” of your labour and delight in making dinners, jams, cordials and chutneys with all your own home grown produce. 😊
One thing to remember with your tomatoes is that as the season draws to a close, the plant will not have time to set, grow and ripen more fruits and it is time to “stop” the plant. This is usually when the plant has set four or five trusses (stems with flowers that will then become the tomatoes) but with some varieties you can get seven or eight.
A lot depends on when you sowed the seeds and planted them out, as well as the speed which the plant grows fruit. Tomatoes range from 50 to 80 days to crop from germination.
How to Stop Tomatoes: You just take the leading (main) shoot at the top and pinch or cut it off. This means all the plant’s energy can be diverted into fruit, which will hopefully mature before the end of the season. Be aware the plant will react to being stopped by trying to form new shoots so you need to increase your vigilance when pinching out side-shoots. If you let the plant continue growing, you will end up with a lot of small green fruit but the plant won’t have enough energy to ripen.
Another lovely herb that I would like to tell you about is Oregano – when I think of Oregano I automatically think Pizza!! It is a very common final topping on your pizza, especially in dried form. But it has many culinary and medical uses.
It is easy to grow and adds plenty of taste to food. It fantastic when cut fresh from the plant and can easily be dried for long-term storage. Oregano grows very well in partial sun, making it a good choice for an indoor garden as well.
Oregano is a well-loved cooking herb. It is used in Italian cooking and also makes an appearance in many Mexican and Spanish dishes and can be used to add flavour to almost any food.
Oregano is particularly useful in any tomato-based dish. It is perfect for seasoning pasta dishes and most foods that contain olive oil. You can pair oregano with basil, garlic, onion, or thyme.
Whole sprigs of oregano and rosemary can be placed in steamer water for seafood along with a few large leaves of basil. It gives shrimp a lovely herbal flavour.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to ready all my gardening blogs, I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and find a lovely relaxing spot in your rejuvenated garden to take a few moments out for yourself.
Have a lovely Summer!
Niamh Ni Ghrainne