The Voice of the Allotment: The June diary:

Date:

Barry Cuff takes a look at what’s what, as the allotment seems to be bursting at the seams

Our potatoes are doing exceptionally well, and we are digging Jazzy (salad) and Maris Bard (new) as required. All images: Barry Cuff

We are now half way through our 35th year on the allotment – and it’s been a year of unusual weather! Very high rainfall, few frosts but chilly nights. Despite this, most crops are doing well. All our vegetables are raised from seed, bought mostly from Kings, Fothergills, Unwins and Thompson & Morgan, and all are started in plug trays, small pots or seed trays.
Beetroot – first roots were pulled mid month. More sown in May and June (we selected Moulin Rouge and Perfect Three).
Broccoli – Claret and Rudolph will be planted out during July.
Brussels Sprout – these were planted out in May and are looking well (Brendan).
Broad bean – The Witkiem Manita have finished and we are now picking Masterpiece Green Longpod. Blackfly just starting to appear on these!
Cabbage – Red Drumhead are looking well and have put on a lot of growth in the last few weeks. All our brassicas are well protected from hungry pigeons by a net.
Calabrese – Planted out this month (Ironman). This variety will produce a good central head followed by smaller side shoots.
Carrot – We only grow one variety (Early Nantes) and sow part-lines every two to three weeks. We have just harvested a few from the first sowing.
Cauliflower – Planted out (Cheesy, White Step and Cendis). In plug trays for planting out later we have Medallion and Snow March.
Celeriac – Planted out from plugs mid month and currently looking well. A new variety to us (Neon).
Celery – Planted out in a block (Golden Self Blanching) at the same time as the celeriac. Both of these are watered every day,
Chicory – Our usual Witloof were sown direct early in the month and thinned a few days ago.
Courgette – two varieties growing (Defender and Astia), and both have flowers.
Dwarf French bean – two varieties picked this year, Safari and a Fothergills variety which is new to us, Nautica. Both are growing well. We still have a few packs of last year’s Safari in the freezer!
Fruit – We’ve had a bumper crop of strawberries, though the currants are variable. The Autumn raspberries are now starting to flower.

The strawberries kept coming all month

Gherkin – About ten plants growing against wire for support.
Leek – growing Musselburgh in pots. These will be planted out in July after the first potatoes.
Lettuce – Only one variety this year (Little Gem). Sown each month in plug trays and planted out when large enough. We normally have lettuce from March until October.
Mangetout – Sown direct against wire, two varieties and both look well. They were sown at different times to give a longer harvesting period (Carouby De Maussane and Purple Magnolia). Surrounded by glitter strips to deter pigeons.
Onion – On the whole these look well but a few are going down with white rot – we live with this disease as there is no cure. Despite rotation, we usually expect to lose about 10 per cent.
Parsnip – It’s probably our most successful year for establishment. They have now been thinned to one or two plants per station.
Peas – These are not so good: we have lost a lot of seedlings to the pea and bean weevil, possibly due to the mild and wet winter and spring allowing the larvae to survive.
Potatoes – These are doing exceptionally well, and we are digging Jazzy (salad) and Maris Bard (new) as required. Still in store from 2023 we have a supply of Picasso which are making good chips!
Radish – We sow frequently for a continuous supply.

‘The Witkiem Manita have finished and we are now picking Masterpiece Green Longpod.’

Runner beans – Have now reached the top of the canes and are starting to flower – two varieties (Moonlight and Scarlet Emperor).
Squash – Two varieties sown this year – Crown Prince and Butterfly – and when planted out they made a slow start, but are now looking fine. Sweetcorn – About 70 plants (Swift) and all are looking well after a slow start.
Sweet peppers – All looking well and flowering in the greenhouse.
Tomatoes – All flowering well in the greenhouse.
Weeds – We are hand weeding and hoeing most days. Our worst weeds are Bindweed, Gallant Soldiers, Sow Thistle, Fat Hen and Goosefoot. We do allow a few of our ‘special’ weeds to survive – Weasel Snout, Thornapple and Moth Mullein.

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