The other day, as I headed home, I stood at the foot of my allotment looking across the plot and realised that, yes, the months of hard graft are paying off. There are problems – my garlic look to have onion white rot, the horror – but summer will be full of veg and fruit if I complete some important tasks now.
Indeterminate vine tomatoes want to form branches, so pinching off these side shoots encourages flowers for more fruit. I tell myself I’ll water my tomatoes more consistently to stop them splitting, but I’ve never let a split tomato prevent me eating it.
Since I stopped cutting asparagus spears this month, they’re forming clouds of foliage to fuel next year’s crop – if I can keep them from blowing over. Canes at the end of each row with twine tied between, two thirds of the way up the plants, is enough to support from gusts. I need to squish asparagus beetles too, red and black critters that eat the leaves.
Buttery early potatoes, ‘Jazzy’ and ‘Pink Fir Apple’, I’ll harvest this weekend, pulling them from my no-dig ground to store in a cool, dry cupboard. In their place I’ll sow salad seeds following my new salad strategy: excess.
This year my garden design clients, Mike and Alice, gave me hazel bean poles and pea sticks – hard to find in London – so I can wigwam with the best of them. I grow beans in rows but if you’re short of space, I find a single wigwam of beans is enough for two people.
A second batch of homemade fertiliser will feed everything, using comfrey ‘Bocking 14’ leaves soaked for a month in a bucket of water to later dilute in a watering can (1:10 parts water). Meanwhile, hoeing continues… to remove the weeds that compete for nutrients.