The Potting Bench Diaries – 15th June 2022

What I’m Doing This Week: This week has been a proper week of trying to enjoy the garden as much as we can while the sun shines. I don’t know about you, but this time of year is one of my favourites – the weather is getting warmer and the garden is growing and changing every single day. There has been lots going on here this week and I hope that’s the same for you where you are too. Three really exciting things happened in our garden over the last 7 days and I’ll tell you all about them now.

Our sweet peas have shot up and the first blooms are here! Now that they’ve started flowering they won’t stop for months on end, which means we’ll be enjoying their sweet scent throughout the house for ages. The first to bloom were a variety called ‘The Blues Mix’ and they’ve got a wonderful dark purple hue which almost shimmers in the light.

If this is your first time growing sweet peas, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, once yours are flowering then there are two top bits of advice that I can give you for the best blooms you’ll ever have. When they’re in the ground they’ll benefit from a good feed every few weeks to maximise the flowers you’ll get – you can use a special flower feed but tomato feed does a fantastic job too. They’re such hungry plants and will reward you for giving them what they need. The other tip is to pick, pick, pick, pick, pick – pick flowers as soon as you see them and once again, this will help encourage more growth. If you do both of these then you’ll be filling more vases than you’ve got!

All four of our dahlias are putting on good growth too and they *seem* slug free for now – famous last words I’m sure! I’ve been out a few nights over the last week and havent found a single slug because of the protections we’ve got in place. The three in the borders look good but the Bishop Of York that I’ve got in a pot is doing the best out of them all. Not only are they all growing well but the Bishop has got its first buds!

Someone asked me on Instagram, what they should do with buds when they appear on Dahlias, and I had no idea so put up a story and thankfully you all knew what to do. It appears that if you’d like a fuller and bushier plant then leave them on, but if you’re after long stems and bigger flowers then snip of any ‘side buds’ to get these results. Who knew!!

And finally, and the most excitingly for me – we harvested the first crop of our first early potatoes last week and my god are they delicious! We might have taken these out slightly early and I think they could have done with a little while longer but I’m happy with them anyway.

Had to ask my wife to take a photo of me with the crop, like a proud parent! We have done potatoes before, but not for a long time and not this well. These were all grown in bags and we’ll definitely be doing them like this again. It makes earthing up so much easier and is a great for way to grow them in any sized space. Can’t wait to harvest the next lot soon!

In other news…? Episode 11 of Tales From The Potting Bench is now live and available to listen to (tap the photo below to listen).

This episode features RHS Wisley’s Curator and Gardener’s Question Time panelist Matthew Pottage. Matthew talks about how his own garden inspires his latest book How To Garden When You Rent and why being the youngest ever RHS garden curator matters to him.

That’s it from me, have a great week and I’ll be back next week with more.

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