Slow painting

Friday, 13 July 2012

Dodging showers



I heard on a TV weather forecast this week that Edinburgh has only had 1.5 hours of sunshine so far this July.  It certainly feels like it.  We have almost given up expecting anything of this summer.  Getting any work done at the allotment has been a struggle:  June is always a busy month for us, and this year with the end of our daughter's schooldays it's been especially hectic.  But constant rain, particularly at weekends, has held us back even more.

The arrival of an order of brassica plants this week from Delfland Nurseries meant that rain or not we had to get to the plot at the weekend.  I expected that the soil would be waterlogged, but wasn't prepared for the depth to which my foot sank into the soil when I stepped on to the strawberry bed.  Actually it wasn't so much soil as liquid mud.


Still, a few strawberries had ripened despite the lack of sun.




A very kind work colleague who keeps horses supplied me with several leaves of hay to spread around my strawberries.  It was fun getting the hay home on the busOf course I now realise after reading Monty Don's 'Ivington Diaries' that it would have been smart to put organic slug pellets down before I spread the hay.  So I may have created a snug home for slugs and snails, but at least the berries are raised off the soil mud.



Ideally we would have  moved the netting cage that is over the broad beans, peas and French beans, but the chances of being able to fix the poles in the liquid mud made us abandon that idea.  A floating fleece protection against pigeon attach was the best we could do, but we'll have to loosen it as soon as we can.  We're away from Edinburgh at the moment, so the plants will have to survive until next weekend.  Two types of sprouting broccoli, calabrese, two types of kale, spring cabbage and winter cauliflower.  Planting into liquid mud was a horrendous experience.  I'm not sure what the plants will make of it.  All instructions to 'firm the plants well into the soil, drawing it up round the stem' had to go by the board as I inserted them into the mud as best I could.
 


Otherwise, not a lot is happening.  One of the garlic varieties has rust.  The shallots, seen behind it, are rather thin and weedy and I can only hope for some sun to plump them up.
 

The broad beans, alas, are what we call 'couped' (pronounced 'cow'pd') in Scots, i.e. fallen over.  They were supported by twine, but since I only had metal poles to hand (ex-children's climbing frame) the twine has slid down the metal with the pressure of the bean stalks.  We had no time on Sunday to put things to rights, so this may be another casualty of weather and lack of time.  The beans on the lower part of the stalks are forming well, but higher up the pods have all shrivelled away into little black remnants.  Advice please, from any experienced broad bean growers!
 

For the moment we are up on Speyside, where conditions are pretty much the same as in Edinburgh.  Perhaps slightly drier, as there hasn't been the absolutely constant rain we've had, but everything in the garden is very backward and shrunk in on itself.  I have the left overs from my brassica order up with me to plant out in my Dad's garden.  The soil here is lighter, since it's on a river plain and was once good arable land rather than inner city goodness-knows-what.  It will be interesting to compare the fortunes of the two brassica plantings.

14 comments:

Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

I think low light levels this summer isn't helping anything or encouraging the pollinators to come out and get busy. At least we have soil and not the mud that you are suffering so maybe we should count our blessings.

Mark Willis said...

Oh dear, what a dismal tale! Time to invest in a polytunnel, methinks...

Oakland Daily Photo said...

All these trials with dreary weather would deflate anyone's gardening spirit. Then you find some ripe strawberries growing and you think,"hmm, maybe not all is lost." Hope dawns anew, even if the sun doesn't.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

The weather this year has been amazing. Here in Lewis we haven't had more than a couple of mm of rain for the past TWO months.... We're having to water everything in the veg plot. It's not warm, but plenty of sunshine. Just incredible.... and then, you folks are having the total opposite.
It's so disheartening when the weather scuppers your plans for the veg, isn't it ... :(
...just a constant battle, I guess
A x

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

At least we are not alone up here with our slug eaten garden and falling over beans. We do have ludicrous numbers of lettuce though! I think the slugs have passed on to my cutting garden and all the tasty things emerging from my greenhouse.

Why I garden... said...

Sounds like you've some of the worse growing conditions this year. Not much sun and lots of rain in NI too but not as bad as Scotland. We had gorgeous sun on Thurs and Fri - two whole days! Fingers crossed the weather improves soon.

L. D. Burgus said...

I have been noticing the bloggers near you are all tired from the rain. We are at the opposite side of this with too much heat and no rain. We have pop up showers that have been a blessing but the whole state isn't getting it. It is still drought here for some time.

Jo said...

What a year, at least it can only get better next year. Well done for sticking at it though, most of the plots on our site aren't being worked this year, their owners must have given in.

Kris said...

Oh, that I could box up some of our obsessive heat and drought and wing it to you! You have the backside of our weather coin and neither one of us is enjoying our gardens this summer. Hang in there.

Peggy said...

Same story down here in S. Ireland but we have got a couple of days warmth and sunshine now for however long it will last.Gardening disasters occurring weekly!We had to pull all of our onions as they had begun to rot but have managed to save a lot of them evenif they are on the smaller side.Hope springs eternal!

Stitches said...

Sounds like a compelety miserable situation. I sure wish we could send you some of our hot temp's to dry up your wet soil. It was a 105 here today and we have not any measureable rain for 30 days. Needless, to say we are in a drought. The forecast is for several mores days of above 100 degrees, yikes, I'm really getting tired of it. I'm sending sunshine your way today.

Andrea said...

Oh my goodness Summer and only 1.5 hours of sunshine !!!! Ok I'm not going to whinge about the rain were having cause it is in fact Winter!!
I hope your plants survive the mud and you survive the challenge.....

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Hmm, your summer weather pattern seems to be the complete opposite of ours in the US. So many farmers suffered heavy losses because of the drought. I can't imagine how you planted anything in the mud as you described! I'll bet your Wellies and gardening gloves were a mess! I hope you will have some fruit for your labor when harvest time comes.

Elettra said...

serenity and joy to you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, a hug Elettra