This time of year is as good as it gets in the garden, I guess.
Regular maintenance jobs; grass cutting, dead heading and weeding are demanding of time while we’re trying to keep up with developing fruits and vegetable crops, not to mention sowing and planting for the months ahead.
It’s all go.
Early potatoes Foremost and Casablanca were lifted spot on for Newcastle Race Week, thanks to recent heavy showers and relatively warm conditions that gave them a late boost.
The foliage remains a healthy green and growth continues, but should the slightest sign of blight appear the tops will be removed immediately and the crop salvaged.
The best a fungicidal spray could ever achieve would be to contain the disease, but if you grow organically, as we try to, sprays are out.
It’s easy to spot the single plant that starts to wilt, closely followed by others.
If they remain, the leaves blacken and fall to the surface, spores enter the soil and potatoes are infected.
Given this ever present risk, some gardeners tend to grow only first early potatoes, which mature before spores of the pathogen head north on a July breeze.
It’s barely three weeks since we stopped picking asparagus spears, giving the plants a chance to build energy reserves for next year, and their tall fern-like foliage is already a visual spectacle.
All we need to do now is offer canes as support.
Vegetables such as this, which are both edible and ornamental, can add so much to a garden.
The globe artichoke, presently topped by large, spikey flower buds, which are ready for cooking, has similar entertainment value.
Don’t harvest them all, leave a few to flower and enjoy the sight of the bumblebees and butterflies using them as a bed and breakfast facility.