My Grow-your-own garden June update: Growing and eating

FINALLY. Things have started to happen in our garden. Vegetables are growing – and I’ve actually eaten some of the produce from our plot woo! And there’s even been a harvest of our autumn crop. Here’s my monthly garden update for June…

After such a slow start to this year’s veggie plot compared to last year, I was starting to think that we’d missed the boat for enjoying a bountiful kitchen garden this year. Tiny seedlings seemed to take ages to grow in the mini greenhouse and we couldn’t plant them out in the garden until at least a month later than we did last year.

It’s just been so wet and cold and windy. But enough of that negativity – because now it’s warm and sunny, with a little rain here and there to keep the plot nicely watered so everything looks a lush green. Everything’s getting rather bushy – actually, we could probably do with thinning out those carrots and beetroot, so that’s a job for the weekend!

We’ve eaten spinach and kale almost every day and they’re still as bushy as ever – I’m convinced that as soon as you’ve finished picking and turn your back, the plants immediately unfurl a load more equally large leaves! It turns out that I’m a massive fan of spinach fresh in salads rather than cooked, so we pile the leaves into wraps and sandwiches – yum!

After that snow in February that completely covered my strawberries, I thought we had lost the lot. However, those Cambridge strawberries are a hardy bunch and, thankfully, they survived the snow and frost to bloom beautifully this month. We’ve netted them by bending some old stakes into an arch and pulling the net taut with bungee ropes around the base of the planter, which seems to have done the trick. In fact, they’re doing so well that we’ve consistently had a couple of strawberries ripening every day, which is just perfect for our breakfast.

This is the first time I’ve ever grown strawberries in my garden but I’m so pleased with the results and now I’m wondering why we never did it before! The strawberry plants are even putting out runners so I’ll be potting those up to create more plants for next year. It’s so exciting to see them multiply, not least because those strawberry plants are freeeee!

Another new crop for me is potatoes. We didn’t manage to grow any last year but this year I’ve decided to make use of our big pots to plant 2/3 potatoes in each. My thinking was that, when we turn out each pot, it will probably contain about one supermarket bag’s worth of potatoes. Which is just the right amount for us to eat without them going rotten in the cupboard.

I think we’ll probably be able to start tipping out some new potatoes soon and then we’ll be able to keep turning out the pots of pots whenever we need some. SO much better than having to go to the supermarket, eh? If anyone has any tips for storing potatoes when we harvest them, please let me know as I’ve never done it before. I suppose I could always cook and freeze them but it would be handy to know if there’s a way to store them ‘fresh’.

One final thing I’m really excited about is that the courgettes are so close to being ready to eat. I’ve grown a new-to-me yellow variety this year, along with our usual green and round courgettes from last year. I remember yellow courgettes being a particular favourite of mine as a child so I can’t wait to try them – maybe even later this week!

The beans and tomatoes still aren’t huge but at least they’re in the raised beds now and are making progress up their canes and strings. Plus, we’ve got little cucumbers and gem lettuce to plant out so that’s my job for this weekend.

By the way, we’ve expanded our veggie plot somewhat by adding some no-dig beds in the front garden. I’ve taken some photos so I’ll be sure to share a step-by-step video on my blog next month, showing you how to build a no-dig veggie patch for yourself. Visit my YouTube channel in July or sign up for my newsletter for a reminder by email – thanks! 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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