It’s been a bountiful month on the plot both in flowers and in Spring sown produce! The allotment surroundings are looking lush and green with that July growth bringing everything on leaps and bounds from last month. We’ve seen a few stormy days and a lot of rain throughout the month meaning there was a lot more ducking into the polytunnel for shelter and even days of just embracing it and getting soaked! One day it was so windy that I went over to check my Sunflowers to find my poor potatoes had been totally battered and had snapped in the wind. I had to dig them up but thankfully they were just about ready and it turned out to be a lovely surprise harvest! Some beautiful big golden beetroots have been harvested too and everything just tastes so fresh. I’ve absolutely loved being able to cook with my homegrown produce! I used the space where my potatoes were to plant out my pumpkin plants and am now working on a frame to support them growing up the way, I just need to go and forage some more branches to finish it off then we should have some lovely squash for Autumn!
The growth in the flowers in the last month has been quite incredible with the Cosmos bed bursting at the seams and the Nasturtiums going wild!! I added some wooden posts and a jute net grid support in the Cosmos bed to help them grow up the way instead of out! The cornflowers just keep on coming and as well as using them in bouquets and arrangements I’ve been enjoying their dainty edible flowers in salads and desserts too! The Dahlias are just coming to life and boy are they worth the wait. Henriette is a peachy cream dream and my first Cafe au Lait has just burst into life with the biggest flower on the plot stealing the show! A few months ago I took twelve cuttings from my Dahlia plants and was delighted to see that they all rooted successfully meaning I have twelve more new and free Dahlias!! They have been growing away nicely in a cooler corner of the tunnel and they’ll be ready for hardening off and planting out soon. They may not flower this year but they will grow a tuber and will be stored over winter for next Summers plot! I’m thoroughly enjoying the Sunflowers ‘Magic Roundabout’ too which have grown to a great height and are producing the loveliest deep centred blooms. I’m definitely planning on growing more Sunflower variates next year as they have been a great success and are so big and beautiful in a bouquet!
My lovely helper, or you could say apprentice, arrived back from a long work trip and the list of allotment jobs had been piling up for him, so you bet I put him straight to work!! Firstly he cracked on with my new fence which is now finally complete and looking good!! I still have to paint and chickenwire it for extra bunny protection but I already just love how it’s made the plot boundary so neat. I started planting my shrub rose border along the boundary fence after a mega weeding session to remove the old raspberry canes and nettles. Emily Bronte is in the ground and just needs some friends to join her, so I’m excited to add more cutting roses to my collection! I’m on the look out for an arch to grow a climber on over the entrance to the plot and next on my apprentices list is making a gate too! He managed to finish off the square in-between planters on the plot and they are looking great. They are such a clever way to utilise the space and we made them with off cuts from the raised beds so nothing went to waste which also makes me very happy! I’ve started filling them with foliage like fountain grass and am just delighted with them!! It really looks good now that all of the raised bed and planter construction is complete and it’s brung the whole allotment together so well!!
Last month I sowed lots of biennials for next Summers flowers in the polytunnel which are coming on great. Most of them have been potted on and will be ready for hardening off and planting outside at the allotment soon and I’ve earmarked the far raised bed for them. The Zinnias have also been potted on and are now hardening off, almost ready to be planted out for a bit of late Summer colour! I’ve got a space for them beside my Phlox and Sweet Pea frame where they will be planted soon and should last well into the Autumn. I’m already well into planning my Autumn sowing and have ordered all my Spring bulbs and seeds! With two April weddings to work my floristry magic at, planning down to the day for every flower is so important! This first allotment season has taught me so much through trial and error and I’m so excited about taking it into my first full growing year where I can plan for the first flowers of the year now.
There’s still some jobs to do at the allotment to get the plot fully planted up and finished so we are going to be a pair of busy bees in the next month to get cracking on with it! We’ve begun clearing the overgrown area beside my plot where I plan to grow some climbers up the fence and hope to get them in soon. I’m also going to be adding to my Rose cutting border to get a few more in the ground too! As my veggies along the bottom bed are ready for harvesting I’ve been using it to plant my pumpkins, but I’m thinking I’d like to turn it into my permanent perennial bed so if theres room I hope to start planting in some Astilbe and the likes which I got from a local plant nursery. Hopefully we will be able to make some progress with the entrance gate, arch and fence painting and wiring over the coming month too! I’ve really loved harvesting my homegrown flowers and making up bouquets for local orders that I’ve received and over the past month I’ve been able to create the first big, beautiful bouquets with every single stem homegrown sustainably from seed which is just the best feeling ever!! The seed to flower process is so unbelievably rewarding and it has been a comfort to know my flowers have been spreading some smiles too!