CraftyMarie Growing in June 2016
June was the month of the strawberries and we really couldn't get enough. Strawberries are like the taste of an English summer. This was also the month of my first cucumber, first mangetout and the very start of the runner beans too. Come and view the roundup photos and highlights from this thriving time of year.
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June: The Month of Plump Juicy Strawberries
The Toscana Strawberry had gorgeous pink flowers in abundance. It was a heavy cropper too.
This was the first year for growing strawberries. We tried two types: Toscana and Elsanta. Both of them were grown in hanging baskets inside the polytunnel which seemed to suit them with the extra heat and also kept the slugs and birds from eating the fruits.
Toscana was beautiful to look at with these stunning pink flowers. It was a heavy cropper too. Taste wise it was a bit sour and much better mixed in a fruit bowl with other things like bananas to give them a sweeter taste. Often, they were a little dry in the middle.
Elsanta was our favourite strawberry to eat: plump, juicy and sweet.
Elsanta had white flowers which were pretty unremarkable but my goodness this is the best flavour of strawberry I've ever had. These were plump, juicy and sweet to eat. Unfortunately we did not have enough of these.
Next year we will be growing lots of Elsanta strawberries. I will also be repeating the process of growing strawberries in hanging baskets and containers undercover because it seemed to work very well in terms of keeping pests off.
Mangetout Oregon Sugar Pod: Excellent Grower
Mangetout was a vigorous grower and it was a struggle to keep up with all the picking.
I strated picking the mangetout in the second half of the month and, once I started picking, it cropped very heavily. I was picking more than we could eat for 4-5 weeks before the plants all succumbed to mildew and died. So I now have plenty in the freezer.
In hindsight, I would have grown these in succession and sowed a smaller amount in weekly or fortnightly intervals during the sowing season. Having planted 28 mangetout plants at the same time was not such a great idea.
I also found these very hard to pick. First, trying to see the green peas in the green foliage was a nightmare. Second, getting hold of ones located at the back was also difficult. Several times I assumed weird positions lying on the floor in order to pick these. Who knows what the neighbours thought!
We ate most of these steamed, lots in stir fries and some of the smaller ones just raw. They taste very nice as they are. Picked young, they are fab. But leave them to get fat and plump and they're horrid. So it is a case of picking very often - I was picking almost daily - in order to get them at their prime.
We Picked the First Runner Beans Near the End of the Month
Runner Beans: June was the calm before the storm!
At the start of the month, the runners had flowers but no sign of any beans. By the end of the month, we were picking handfuls of runner beans to eat. Once those tiny beans form, they grow very quickly.
The beans I chose to grow were St. George and I can highly recommend them. Not only do these look very pretty with the red and white flowers, they have been so easy to grow and the runners are top notch. They taste really good.
I've been picking these while on the smaller size, about 11 inches / 28 cm. This is a great size for eating while still in their prime. Once the pods start to fatten, they get tougher and not so good. We haven't had any stringy ones though.
The Squash Bed Could Do with Being Bigger
The new raised bed is quickly filling out with summer squash and marrows.
This is the first year of having raised beds to grow in. I don't know how but I persuaded hubby to give up a big section of the garden (which is small) for 3 raised beds. Before this I was just growing in containers. Some things are a little hard to grow in containers because of the size - and squash are one of those things.
Never having grown squash before, I had no idea on sizing. So I started out with way too many plants sowed first into 9cm pots and potted on until planting out late May to avoid any frosts.I packed 4 Mr Fothergill's Summer Sunburst squash into the front of the bed, then some courgettes (none of which survived) and 4 marrow Long Green Bush plants.
Luckily the summer squash and marrow both thrived despite being packed in here and put most of their growth on in June. I started eating these in July. The summer sunburst squash is not only delicious to eat with soft skins that need no peeling but they also look pretty and are easy to spot for picking. You just need a bit of room to grow them.
June is Also a Month for Roses
Beautiful Yellow Arthur Bell Rose
This was such a busy time that I had very little opportunity to stop and smell the roses! Usually I take a lot of photos of my roses but this year I was so busy keeping the vegetable garden in order that I had very few nice photos.
If you love yellow roses, take a look at my Arthur Bell rose page.
Next: Read Growing in July 2016
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