July Joy!

Approaching high summer and the garden and plot are reaching their respective heights of floral beauty and productive potential. My favourite flower, the Dahlia, is now coming into full bloom and, in my opnion, you’d be hard pressed to beat this particular bloom for summer colour. The variety is ‘Shooting Star’, a lovely cream coloured semi cactus variety.

By stopping the plants a month ago I’ve had to wait longer for the first blooms but I’ve got much bushier and stronger plants which means more energy going into producing more buds and flowers. Dahlias are relatively easy to grow if you follow a few basic principles – they are hungry and thirsty plants – so a good feeding and watering regime is essential. My Dahlia bed sits on the remains of my winter chicken manure delivery, once the plants are established I mulch with whatever compost I have left over and lawn clippings to help moisture retention. Another essential task is staking; Dahlia’s can grow to large plants around 4-6 feet high with heavy blooms so early staking is a must – it can look a bit unsightly with canes and string everywhere but the plants will soon fill out and hide this. If you want larger blooms, perhaps for your local flower show, then you’ll need to disbud, a topic I covered in one of last year’s posts.

‘My Love’ is a smaller white flowered semi-catcus variety.

‘Kennemerland’ is the largest Dahlia I have, growing to 6 feet, with large yellow flowers.

On the plot there’s lots of jobs to do. The strawberries have finished now so the foliage has been cut back and any runners pegged in the soil to help the new plants establish. At last the leeks are in, pretty tiny plants at this stage but there’s plenty of time for them to bulk up before winter. More beetroot, rocket, lettuce, radish and spring onions have been sown. Along with some winter veg, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers. There’s always something to do on the veg plot!

And the veg is coming thick and fast now. I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m growing a golden variety of beetroot this year, Burpee’s Golden. And I forgot that I’m still growing the standard red variety up at my shared plot in the next village – they’re pretty good as well.

Back home there’s loads of broad beans and mangetout, it’s my first year growing mangetout and they’ll be a firm favourite on the plot from now on.

Hope you’re all having a good weekend!

Harvesting – Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Spring Onions, Tomatoes, Courgettes, Onions, Shallots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Potatoes, Broad Beans, Mangetout, Beetroot.

14 responses to “July Joy!

  1. It’s all looking pretty good – I think we are all in the same boat regarding produce – there aren’t enough meals in the day to cope with it all.

  2. Fabulous Dahlias Damo, but I think the veg is more attractive! I’m not a fan of Mangetout though – I find them too “squeaky”!

    • They are a bit squeaky aren’t they but we really like them raw or steamed. I’m still a veg grower with a few flowers thrown in!

      • Our dahlias are still small plants but as they are grown from seed this year I have no idea what colours etc they will be – if they ever flower I bet they’ll all be alike!

      • Great Dahlias – I think I need to feed mine more, the ones in pots are flowering but the ones in the ground are still quite small 😦 I am a fellow convert to mangetout, and want to grow lots more of it – and sugar snap peas – next year. Looking good! Just wish I knew why I can’t make a new comment and have to reply…

  3. Some lovely dahlias (missed the boat this year, despite earmarking the ones we wanted… next year!) and fantastic veg. I love this time of year!

    • Sue – I grew some from seeds last year and although they were small plants they threw up loads of lovely flowers. Best of luck with yours.

      hillwards – thanks very much, it’s a great time of year isn’t it, the garden and plot in full song.

  4. Nice beetroot; dodgy flowers!

    I am converted to beetroot. I’ve gone for Bolthardy and Burpees Golden. The leaves are like a cross between chard and spinach, which also works. I look at it this way: with every batch of leaves, I get a free beetroot!

    I’ve even put in a second sowing in old tin baths!

    • Hi Janet – not sure what’s happening with comments/replies sorry. Dahlias are hungry plants, mine are powered by well rotted chicken manure like most things in the garden/plot bar the root veg.

      Hi IG, I love beetroot and you can’t go wrong with your combination of varieties. I’m hoping to get a another sowing done in the next couple of weeks to crop through the Autumn.

      • I’m leaving this as a reply not a commnet because… well.. I seem to be an idiot and cna’t work out how to comment!

        Impressive dahlias although I msut admit they always remind me of the late Queen Mother’s hats (not neccessarily a good thing…)

  5. Hi Dawn, I seem to be having problems with the comments and replies recently, attempting to figure out why! I’ve never thought of Dahlias like that but I will from now on!!

  6. It’s looking, and sounding, good. At this time of year it seems we only have to blink and something else has appeared!

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