I decided I wanted to keep an allotment diary for the rest of the season to keep track of what’s been happening down there. This first one is going to be a bit of a wrap up, but future ones might be a bit more diary like, possibly weekly/monthly or maybe a combination of both, maybe with a daily entry. I’ll work it out as I go along! If you’re interested and want to follow me on Instagram (@justnicolelaird), I also post nearly daily stories on my trips down there, including some garden snaps.
So, what’s been happening in July? Here’s a roundup:
- Most of July was really very warm with few heavy rain days in between (especially these last few days!).
- The heat meant I had to water pretty much every day – although I definitely haven’t had to water much this last weekend thanks to this crazy rain that arrived after the heatwave we had w/c 22nd June.
- I decided to repaint the shed too. The previous allotment owner left me a perfectly good but brown shed. I decided to make it a little more my style so I painted it pink! Pink because it’s different, it’s my favourite colour, and it makes the perfect backdrop for me to take some photos of the flowers I’m growing.
- We developed a nice little evening ritual of coming home, eating dinner, walking Sophie (our dog) and stopping at the allotment before heading back to the house. It’s been too hot to walk Sophie much earlier and I think she’s enjoyed having us both with her, and of course she loves her raspberries so she’s starting to like the allotment as she always gets a few whilst she waits for us to finish watering/harvesting.
- Most of the allotment prep was done in May and June – there were a lot of weeds, more weeds than you can even imagine and I was thankful to start July with only a few. I had also covered the allotment with free soil improver from a local household waste centre (with a lot of help from my husband).
- I also planted in most of the veg in June, so although I picked my first few courgettes and raspberries at the back end of June, the glut started in July.
- Raspberries: I’m so lucky to have inherited some very established raspberry bushes so haven’t had to grow them from scratch. We picked raspberries every other night and had nearly a bowlful. They’ve calmed down now though, I’m not sure if it’s because of the weather or something else but they have gone absolutely wild and aren’t producing as much fruit. I think I might need to cut them back.
- The courgettes. Oh the courgettes. I just cannot believe how many each plant can produce. It’s my first growing any veg and I really didn’t have a clue when it came these. I planted 11 plants and most of them have been pumping out the green sausages. I don’t know what I have done to make them grow so well but they are waist high and the leaves are more than five times the size of my hand! I’ve actually had to trim back some of the leaves as I didn’t realise how far they wold spread and they are encroaching onto my leeks. A couple of the plants aren’t really producing a lot of veg and are a bit pale in colour so I think I’m going to dig those up once the rain stops! I cannot believe how many courgettes I am getting, anything between 5 and 15 per day, I’ve also had a few marrow sized ones that I didn’t see because they were hidden under other stems/leaves. I have had to become quite creative in the kitchen and have used them to make a variety of things, soup being one of the best so far. I’m thinking about doing a separate post on some of our favourites.
- My allotment neighbour gave me some dwarf cupidon bean seedlings at the back end of June and they are also now producing lots of beans and I think they will carry on for a while.
- I bought and planted a couple of chard plants from B&Q at the end of June and they took ages to grow and I was wondering if anything was every going to happen but they’ve suddenly shot up in size so I’m hoping we’ll have lots of it to eat this winter.
- Cosmos – I started the seedlings waaaay back in May, did the pinching out, repotted them and finally planted them at the allotment in July once they had buds. They are doing well down there now and are producing lots of flowers. The bees absolutely love them.
- The yellow rose tree that I also inherited has been churning out the blooms. I’m not crazy about yellow flowers but I keep deadheading it and they keep coming back!
- And last but not least, the dahlias. The beautiful dahlias I’ve been so excited to see. I have been looking after them for about three months now, nurturing them from tubers (apart from a couple I bought as plants) and finally they started flowering on 25th July. The first one to arrive was Blanc y Verde and then Linda’s Baby and on 30th July, Henriette popped up. I think Labyrinth will be arriving in August…
- I had my first allotment guest. A friend of mine came round for allotment produce dinner (sausage and courgette rigatoni) and then came down to the allotment with me. He had a good nosey around, picked himself some courgettes and a I picked him a beetroot (my first one actually!) and of course we captured the evening with a few pics. I hope I get a few more visitors whilst the place is thriving.
- Garden – aside from the allotment, I’ve got lots blooming in the garden and courtyard pots. I’ve got some mini dahlias, lots of lavender, and roses. This year I bought a new rose at the start of the month, Joie de Vivre, which I absolutely love. I also got a hosta which I’m desperate to see grow and a hebe shrub which has the prettiest little white flowers.
- And the last July update is that I bought a greenhouse. I’ve been desperate for one but didn’t want to spend the money. I was so lucky to find one on Facebook Marketplace at an absolutely bargain price that was in perfect condition and came with a heater and two potting tables.I was even happier to see it was even the exact brand of greenhouse I would have chosen if I’d had the money for it. We decided to put it in a corner of the garden that’s hardly used except to put grass cuttings and other garden waste which was a bit of an eyesore so we had to clear it all first. It’s pretty bare now so I’m going to plant a hydrangea there in the hope it fills it with some nice colour and greenery. Tom started building the frame at the end of July and and I’m so excited to be able to get a head start on next summer’s growing in the autumn and spring.
Well that’s it for July’s news! Is there anything you’d like to know about the allotment or my garden that I can cover in the next blog? Either leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram.