Slow growing – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

This year, I planted out earlier than normal, and yet my veggies are really quite far behind. The weather has definitely been unhelpful over the past few weeks. Late April and May brought strong easterly winds, late frosts (that came and went early in the morning, before I was awake, but the damage is definitely visible now) and a long, dry spell. Temperatures at night were colder than normal, too. I should know, I went on several camping trips! So far, June has been very wet, damp and a bit humid, and it’s remained chilly. I think we’re averaging around 12-15c rather than 15-18c, which, to a vulnerable plant like the runner bean, is quite a significant difference.

The results in my own veg patch, and in others that I have seen, is slow/delayed growth, sad looking foliage and struggles to put roots down. I’m seeing this particularly in the following plants:

  • Beetroots – some of my plants are really struggling to put their roots down, and so not really growing at all.
  • Beans – all of my beans look terrible!! Yellow, brown and wilting leaves. They look so unhealthy, not at all the lush green climbing frenzy that I would normally be seeing around about now.
  • Squashes – I actually lost a few squashes to frost earlier in the year so I replanted some. However,  both the ones that were planted early and the ones that were planted more recently look awful, with very yellow leaves, white patches here and there and they have hardly grown in size at all. I’m particularly surprised that the ones I planted later (which were much bigger and healthier looking) have not even grown new leaves. They have just stayed the same size and started to turn yellow. I feel a bit sad about this…I really hope we get some warmth soon!
  • Sweetcorn – oh dear. Poor old sweetcorn. It is hating the cold temperatures!! The leaves are very yellowy/brown and, again, there is very little growth.
  • Tomatoes – mine are in a greenhouse, and so I thought they’d be ok. But even they are suffering from the cold, and they’re not making much progress at all.

It’s not all bad though. Some of the plants are looking great, and are really enjoying the weather!!

  • Broccoli, sprouts and kale are all doing really well, with lots of lovely green leaves, and getting to be quite a good size.
  • Potatoes – so far, so good. Fingers crossed they don’t get blight now though!
  • Peas & Broad Beans – these are all looking really healthy, and I’m relieved that the peas look so good as they struggled a bit with the wind and frost earlier on in the season.
  • Chard & Lettuces – they’re looking very happy indeed!
  • Wild Rocket – this is the best rocket I’ve ever grown. Normally my rocket bolts by now, or gets attacked by flea beetles. I think it’s really enjoying the cooler, wetter climate!

So, it’s a bit of a mixed season really. With luck, the weather will warm up soon and all the beans, squash, sweetcorn etc will make a bit of a comeback. Fingers crossed!