It’s National Allotments Week! We asked gardening blogger and allotment enthusiast, Katie Lane, to share more of her top tips on how to get the best out of your garden at this time of year.
Summer is well and truly upon us and all of a sudden the allotment is brimming with lush greenery, bright flowers and I have courgettes coming out of my ears! Not only are the crops growing but so are the weeds and for some reason they always tend to grow quicker and taller which means you need to stay on top of them otherwise your garden turns into a jungle…
The broad beans which I sowed back in November have been busy producing beans all Spring, however they have now reached the end and need removing. This space won’t go to waste though as I like to sow a late crop of Dwarf French Beans for harvesting in September to October. Another crop that is being harvested are the early potatoes and these make way for a couple of rows of leeks and swiss chard. I hate seeing empty space on the allotment and because it’s so small I have to make use of the entire year and plan my crops around each other. I call this the second growing season and it’s worked beautifully in the past, providing me with harvests throughout Autumn and Winter which is perfect.
One major piece of advice I will give you is to remember to keep everything watered, especially tubs and containers. I tend to give the allotment a good soaking every other day during the hot periods and water my tubs every day. Believe me, your plants will reward you later on with plenty of healthy harvests and my squash plant in the trough is loving all the water right now.
The flowers on the allotment are looking beautiful right now and the bees and butterflies are loving them as much as I am. To make sure they keep blooming throughout the Summer just remember to deadhead them regularly, removing the older flower heads will make way for even more buds to appear which is never a bad thing. I dead headed my new dahlia plant to allow the new buds to get some sun and made a sweet little bouquet out of Verbena, Dill, Lavender, Yarrow and some old Poppy seed heads. A little piece of the allotment to take back home and grace the kitchen table for a few days.
Seeds to sow outside:
- Swiss Chard
- Runner Beans and French Beans
- Kohl Rabi
- Pak Choi
- Salad Leaves and Lettuce
- Green manure in late Summer
- Flower biennials such as Forget me not, Foxgloves, Sweet Williams and Wallflowers.
- Cut Lavender for drying and hang in a cool, dry place.
- Open greenhouse vents and windows during hot periods.
- Hoe weeds regularly, preferably in the morning so the suns heat can kill them off.
- Dead head flowers to prolong the blooming period.
- Make the last rhubarb harvests in July to allow the crown to gather energy for Winter.
- Peg down strawberry runners to produce new plants.
- Pick crops regularly and they will keep producing.
- Be vigilant for blight and remove any leaves affected immediately, burn or place in a black bag.
- Water regularly, especially containers.
- Order Autumn garden catalogues and plan for the Winter.
- Clean your ponds and remove any leaves or debris.
- Keep bird feeders topped up and leave out water for birds and bees, especially during hot periods.
Katie’s trusty gardening boots are Kendal GTX® in Chocolate. Earlier this year she put them through their paces while prepping her allotment in the Spring – see what she had to say about them here!
Katie Lane is a regular feature writer for the wonderful Lavender & Leeks blog which is an easy-to-follow online guide to gardening. Katie’s love of gardening grew from helping her Father on his allotment and has since moved on to owning her very own patch of land. Discover more about Katie and her dad’s gardening life on her blog here.
In her first blog, Katie showed us the essential Spring jobs every allotmenteer should be doing, read more here.