by Matt Noyce, Head Gardener at Quarr Abbey
How fortunate we are to at last be experiencing some warm summery weather, in contrast to those turbulent earlier months of the year. Here’s hoping that the calming effect of the warm summer months washes over us all. What better way to unwind than in the garden – although that said, at Quarr Abbey there is always rather a lot to do…
Because of the cold, wet and windy start to the year many of us growers are well behind with our crops. It was heartbreaking to see the ground fallow for so long. Fortunately we have polytunnels to use for over-wintering crops and the glasshouse where we can at least get the seed sowing underway. These assets are sometimes overlooked but they should really be valued, maintained and used to their full potential all year round.
With seasonal wet and warm conditions comes lots of growth. The grass in particular may seem like it is growing before your eyes, so regular cutting is much more beneficial for your lawn than leaving it to get long and hacking it back all at once. Ornamental hedges will also be putting on a growth spurt so a gentle trim with the shears wouldn’t go amiss, but be careful not to disturb nesting birds.
Staking tall perennials to prevent wind damage, tying-in trailing plants and vegetables, loosening tree and shrub ties and weeding regularly are all tasks to be done right now.
Meanwhile, continue to sow leafy crops such as salads, spinach and chard. Successional crops such as carrots can be planted in small batches so as to avoid a ‘glut’ of any one crop. If you do end up with lots of spare produce it is worth considering making pickles, jams and chutneys.
Here in the Quarr Abbey jams and chutney room we make our own preserves from produce grown in our walled garden and this is available to purchase in our ever-popular farm shop. Produce grown in the summer months can then be enjoyed at any time of year.
There is so much to do over the next few months but do enjoy being outside, and always keep in mind the rewards of the summer harvest.
Pictures by Matt Noyce.