design for a sustainable future
June on the allotment
June is a very busy month on the allotment as our plants begin to put on growth in the warm soil. The beginning of the month is spent planting out all the seedlings brought on in May and the rest of the month is spent tending, tying up and weeding as everything on the plot explodes with growth. We begin to make our first harvest of the over wintering broad beans, which are young and sweet and often eaten raw in salads.
What we can't cook we freeze to keep for later in the year. Strawberries ripen very quickly and we find ourselves eating the sweet juicy berries at almost every meal for weeks and in early July they produce another flush of flowers which will ripen a week or so later. We grow a variety of strawberry, 'Flamenco', which has a very long season and we can still be harvesting them in late September.
We also harvest salad leaves and spring onions, which put on rapid growth in the hot sunny weather. Everything on the plot loves the warm weather but they also need a lot of water, which means that much of our time is spent lugging heavy watering cans up and down the plot. It usually takes two of us an hour to water the plot well, which we will do every other night if there has not been any rain. We could use a hosepipe but the pressure is pretty low, especially if other plot holders are watering at the same time, and by using watering cans we are able to gauge exactly how much water each plant has had. We also use a liquid sea-weed feed on a lot of plants such as tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and even the different salad varieties.
The plot looks especially pretty at this time of year. We allow Californian poppies to self-seed in many of the beds and their bright yellow flowers cover the plot. There are purple and white lychnis, lupin, teasels , chamomile ,golden oregano and of course lavender bushes lining many of our paths. At some points it is almost impossible to walk between the expanse of flowers.
At this time of year the allotment becomes a second home, as we spend so much time there tending and watering. Looking around we can see that in no time at all we will be harvesting French beans, runner beans, courgettes, beetroots, potatoes, tomatoes etc. as well as all our soft fruits. There are very busy times ahead over the next few weeks ensuring we make the most of everything we have put so much hard work into.
Text and photo by Libby Hawkins © 2009