July 2014 Update

Summer has arrived with a vengeance in Hampshire, loads of sunshine, no rain, which, if you're a holidaymaker is fine – in the garden it brings its own challenges. The soil has gone from a lovely soft fine tilth to a bone dry, rock hard, difficult to work crust in a matter of days.
I managed to get the Red Currants and Black currants gathered before they went over and turned to pulp, despite pruning hard back last year I eventually gathered 12 pound of Red and 8 pound of Black currants.

New potatoes are continuing to yield a good crop, however, because they are the only source of moisture in the soil the slugs are finding them very tempting also the hard soil means they are hard to dig up at present.

I have started to harvest Tomatoes (Fig 1), the Aubergines (Fig 2) along with the Cucumbers are almost ready to be picked (Fig 3), I am just leaving them to get a little more size to them.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

 

The Courgette harvest has started, the Tondo Di Zucchino (Fig 4) or round courgettes are doing very well, I have had about 4 Bolognese courgettes (Fig 5) and a couple of the Rugosa variety (Fig 6).

Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6

 

I have tried growing the Tromba of Albegna up a frame (Fig 7) to see if I can get some straight ones this year rather than the curved crop I usually have. The Patty Pans are starting to show now with a couple ready to pick.

The Chillies and peppers are doing well, I have had my first red chilli and wow was it hot, I am waiting for the sweet peppers to go red. The Basil is also doing very well, nice and healthy (Fig 8) I continue to pick Sage and Oregano.

The sweet corn are growing well, another month or so and we should be eating cobs, that will be nice (Fig 9).

Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9

 

Beets (Fig 10) are doing ok, just about ready to eat as Baby Beetroot, the Carrots need a little more size to them yet, but they should not be too long now.

I picked some Runner Beans (Fig 11) last weekend so they are starting to come, the Borlotti (Fig 12) and the dwarf French beans are on the way and so are the climbers.

Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12

 

The Grapes are looking really good again this year (Fig 13), therefore, I am definitely going to make some wine at the end of the season.

The Onions are up and drying in the green house (Fig 14), I decided to try doing that this year rather than hang them; the Garlic is hanging up to dry (Fig 15).

Figure 13 Figure 14 Figure 15

 

I have planted out all of the greens for the winter, so all in all, it's been a productive, if very hot month; looking back on last year, I think we are ahead with our produce by at least 3 weeks (Fig 16).

Figure 16

 

That's it for this month.