June is the best of times. The days are long and there’s enough daylight to go to the allotment even after dinner. There are extravagant peonies to pick for the vase and first strawberries to cherish. There are crisp lettuces and sweet sugar peas.
All our raised beds are planted and mulched which reduces the amount of work significantly. Mulch protects the soil from harsh weather, prevents evaporation and weed growth. As soon as something is harvested, another vegetable is sown or planted. For example, after harvested broad beans, I plant leeks. The leeks need lots of nitrogen and because broad beans are nitrogen fixers, if you leave there roots in the ground, the leeks will benefit from the extra nutrition.
Some vegetables are better sown after the longest day, so that they do not bolt prematurely, e.g. Fennel and cichories.
At the back of our plot I am creating a small edible forest. We have planted most of our fruit trees there that we moved from our old plot (apples, pears, hawthorn, persimmon) and interplanted them with a diverse mixture of multi-use plants. There are plants that provide nectar for bees or attract beneficial insects, fix nitrogen or provide mulch. So far the trees seem to be doing well, all have survived the move and one of the apples even has small fruits for the first time this year. I hope the diversity of the understory will make for a healthy eco-system.
In our home garden, the conifer hedge has been removed (hurrah) and the neighbors made a new fence against which we can plant new edibles.I am excited about the possibilities of having a few more square meters to fill. Planting against fences and walls is one of the best ways to make the most of limited space in urban gardens and we already have many berries (red and yellow raspberries, loganberry, Japanese wineberry, black raspberry and Siberian kiwi) growing against the fence on the other side. So far we spread compost from one of our compost bins along the fence to improve the soil and aim to plant in the autumn.
I also grow lots of edibles in containers by the back door, herbs to have at hand, also salad and strawberries. Edibles can be as pretty as ornamental plants and you can eat them, too!
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