A garden is a green space filled with flowers, trees, and vegetables. It may be organic or non-organic.
Vegetable gardens that grow near trees often struggle to get enough sunlight. Try thinning out the tree canopy to allow for more dappled sunlight. Also, plant crops that can tolerate shade (like lettuces).
Finally, official. We’re past the start of meteorological summer. The solstice in a few weeks. The longest day on the 21st. Time for any garden covers to come off. For allotments in full swing.
Currants and berries should start to ripen this month. Any first early potatoes to start to be lifted. The days of perfect summer plates.
It should be safe to plant out tender tomatoes, squashes (Kala brought me home Thai pumpkin seed, some ‘Big purple corn’, ‘bamboo leaf, kang kong’, exotic packets perhaps too pretty to sow). Some other corn and squashes are sown in deep trays. Sunflowers and courgettes in soil. The high summer crops of long sunlight.
I am in a battle of will and wits with – I think – a blackbird. Though there are more of them than me. The two-leaf baby beans which survive slugs and snails are pulled and cast on the ground, corpses of hope. I have built a stockade of short sticks around them. Unready to admit defeat.
Our poppies have burst, the spring bulbs have been pulled, the calendula are spreading like cabbages. The fennel is high. The crimson broad beans are in flower. It’s easy to love the high days of the gardening year.
A quick quiet word then on predators: keep a close eye for caterpillars (check for eggs on the underside of leaves), carrot flies, every slug and snail. Pay attention. Remember, too, with any sweet corn – plant in blocks to aid pollination from male to female flowers.
Soft herbs can be sown and resown, basil can go out. Trim mint for summer drinks and new potatoes. Try to remember to keep them all well watered.
Our allotment site recently gathered for a group tidy-up and barbecue. There are plans for open days. There may be food and drink, the first salad leaves to take home. Midsummer merriment.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com