June in your container garden

#1

How are things growing and doing in your container garden this month? Are you getting much to pick and eat yet?

Here in Newcastle it has been overcast a lot, persistently windy, very wet and cold at night. My French and runner beans that were recently put out are struggling (they hate the cold and the wind) and the tomatoes have rather stalled.

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These tomatoes are in good compost - they are just unhappy because of the cold, which I think makes it hard for them to get all the nutrients they need (hence the yellow leaves). Hopefully they’ll come round in warmer weather.

Better news is that most of the herbs are happy and healthy, and we are eating a lot of herby salads at the moment - add handfuls of mint, oregano, parsley, chives and tarragon.

Here is some oregano, savory, lemon verbena, hot lips salvia and lemon thyme.

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#2

Here in North County Dublin we are having what one friend describes as a pretty typical April. No sign of May and June yet. Lettuce and brassicas are very happy, as are broad beans, but the runner beans and French beans are just sitting looking miserable and cucumbers, courgettes and pumpkins are making make flowers as fast as they can on tiny plants, presumably in the hope there is a healthy female flower out there somewhere to pollinate. Which isn’t going to happen since all the pollinators have gone AWOL this year. Very noticeable out along the country hedgerows where not even the elder is setting fruit.

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#3

Here in southwestern Scotland i have been harvesting too much lettuce. The first straight and round courgettes and some peas and small broadbeans . I have harvested my Germidour garlic which is during in the rack. A reasonable harvest, some big ones and small ones. I also have harvested the Arran Pilot potatoes. Acceptable yield of 529 grams from 1 bucket. Also I have harvested my first 2 small Kohlrabi (green). My outdoor tomatoes are during the night and rain back indoors. Greenhouse tomatoes are doing ok. My Onions are starting to flop down so I could harvest them soon. Some of my winter squash is not growing much but others are fine. My field beans are not doing great. I had to sow some (indoors) and some of he earlier ones are starting to get yellow. My runner beans are slightly better.

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#4

In southwest British Columbia Canada, I’m struggling to grow in a variety of pots what I expected to grow in three large garden spaces I’d enriched over the past 7 years. Construction continues, dirt/mud/dust is everywhere around the house I rent. BUT, I have one blueberry plant with lots and lots of blueberries blueing up, I’ve snipped lots of chives and verbena, the peas and beans are running now that it’s warmer - 12C at night, 19-22C in the day. The tomatoes are hunched down - they want a much sunnier spot to grow in! They do have a dozen flowers so far but I’d expected better of them. Still, I’m relatively satisfied considering the limitations this year. Today it’s sunny with a bit of cloud, and this weekend there will finally be some rain - we’re overdue for rain. Cheers.

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#5

I have picked chards, spinach, ripple-grass, reddish, alfalfa and herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley). Very happy with that :smiley:. And my tomato plant is doing well. On the contrary I fear for my strawberries. They are infected by a fungus. I hope that not all my plants are infected. It was rainy weather and maybe I over watered them. When it became warmer some kind of moth found my spinach and chards but I already harvested a lot.The nasturtium also had a moth but I think it is growing well.
Today I have sown Tuscan kale (seeds from my sister). Probably not too late.
Here are some pics of my pots.

Oh, and I want to tell that the blue tits in the cavity wall have left the nest. It was not easy to see how successful the nest was but on 30 May it was quiet on the balcony. No more young bird sounds. And the adult birds were still around in the trees the days after. I hope some survived the magpies that were around frequently.

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#6

A mulch of wood chips helps to keep strawberries fungus free in my experience - and garden shreddings are even better if you happen to know anyone with a shredder and a hedge. Tuscan kale does fine sowed as late as the first week in August if there’s a warmish autumn. Haven’t tried it later than that. A late sowing seems to delay bolting. Problem with balcony gardening is always getting enough variety to keep the pests and diseases in balance and it sounds as though you are doing well with that

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#7

I grow in London. To start with the good bits, the strawberries are abundant and delicious. Ditto mangetout peas. I have harvested onions and garlic planted last autumn. Also picked redcurrants the other day and gooseberries are looking like they will be ready soon. More mixed, some beans have reached the top of the poles, but others are still struggling, don’t seem to be able to wind round the poles, or covered in aphids. But, tomatoes which are usually a triumph are thin and weedy and not growing, mixed salad leaves bolted in the dry spell, courgette and squash stems seem to have been gnawed at, stunting growth. That’s the thing with growing food, you can never be complacent and think you know it all!

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#8

Mange tout peas are about the only crop where I “cheat” and buy plants rather than sowing seeds because a couple of the chains usually have Carrouby de Moussane in trays of 12 which is enough to plant a couple of big pots - big enough to take big canes because it is a very tall variety. It has everything you want from a balcony plant - it grows a long way up but stays just within picking reach, the flowers are lovely - pink and white bicolour, the flavour is good, it holds very well without the plant stopping if you forget to pick for a few days (or even go on holiday), and stays tender, apart from strings along each edge, even when the peas are formed inside the pod. We’ve been known to cook the peas and pods for separate dishes without the plant coming to a halt. And yes, this year really seems to suit it - cool and wet summers are good for peas. With container tomatoes I alternate a general vegetable feed and tomato feed when we get a cool summer like this one has been until now - I’m guessing that in London until now you’ve had the sort of summer that is normal for me, north of Dublin. But judging from the forecast yours will be suffering from heat stroke by the end of the week and mine will have gone down with blight. Such is gardening. And yes, it’s a great strawberry summer

i kathryn

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#9

I’ve not grown that variety, but it sounds great. I also love the pretty pink flowers of some pea varieties.

#10

Thanks for the tips. I’m having a few days off from gardening, cycling round Anglesey, so nearer to you and further from the heat.

Best, Susan

#11

If only we could send you some rain from central Scotland…

#12

:rofl:

Plenty to spare, here, too.

Amazing the weather differences. It’s forecast to be 45 C in France this weekend, here in Newcastle the ‘heat wave’ will take us up to a heady 23 C… it might almost feel like summer!

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#13

Thanks for the tips, Kathryn!

#14

My main tomato plant has turned into quite a beast. I bought it as a grafted seedling and I think it’s got plans for world domination. My other (yellow pear shaped) tomato plant is also doing really well - lots of flowers and tiny tomatoes appearing already as are my hanging basket cherry toms. Courgette plants growing nice and big, both producing fruit but no male flowers :rage: so picking off baby courgettes before they rot and using in salads/roasting with garlic at the mo. Runner bean plants growing in a chimney pot are now 3 times the size in height and width than in the picture with plenty of flowers so expecting nice amounts of beans from them. Peppers appearing on my (very small still) sweet pepper plants, chilli seedlings still tiny and not doing much.




Both my young cucumber plants died - I don’t think i got the watering right - but since starting another one off indoors and then planting seperately outside in one of those ‘self watering’ pots from Wilko last week, this new one seems to be much more cheerful.

I am however, having a catastrophic time with strawberries.:sob: I have 2 lovely lush green plants (first year) in a pot that have never grown any flowers and are just producing lots of leaves and runners, and 4 (!) seperate lots of strawberry plants in hanging baskets have died. 2 lots I think I overwatered and the second 2 lots which appeared to be fine just woke up one morning, wilted and died the next day. Bah.

#15

Container growing is where grafted tomato plants really come into their own I think. I have a big polytunnel at home so have lots of tomato space, but for the balcony garden I tend for my son and his family (full time working parents, twins under two, zero free time) I plant a grafted one so the girls can pick their own in their own home. I’ve found Hanna the best cucumber on the balcony - it seems to produce one small ripe cucumber almost every day if you keep it fed and watered and give it a good compost to start off with. I’m in ireland and there’s a wonderful earthworm compost called Living Green which is absolutely superb for containers - pricey but worth it. I find all the nurserymen of my acquaintance are using it at home, whatever cheaper one they are using commercially. Don’t know if it’s available in the UK yet.

On the strawberry front, your plants may already have been past flowering time when you got them, and will fruit next year. Or they may be blind. With strawberries it is always worth either getting them from a specialist or getting runners off a friend’s really good plant, but recognising you won’t get fruit until next year. The only ones I haven’t killed in hanging baskets are alpines, but ordinary ones do well in a proper terracotta strawberry pot for me. That said I replant the one on the balcony every year from my own garden so I’m cheating. When they suddenly drop dead it’s often because vine weevil has got in and eaten the roots off. But there are also some catastrophic fungal diseases and the extra stress of containers makes it easier for them to get a hold. Your little veg garden looks lovely, it’s amazing how much you can eat from a tiny space

kathryn

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