Spuddy Tuesday….

I can’t name all my blog posts after non relevant Stones numbers, but I’m sure more dreadful puns will come.  

So, summer seems finally to have arrived, taken off it’s coat, and started a good long natter.  May trees are out in bloom and clouts have been cast all over the place.  I’m gardening in a skirt for starters.  

Quick inspection of the plot reveals that:

  • the potatoes appear to be thriving, so more earthing up (mounding up around the plants) has been done;
  • runner and French beans look good;
  • 2 of the weaker sweet corn seedlings have bought it;
  • using a nice felt tip on plastic labels isn’t practical.  I can’t read the labels on the rows of parsnips and carrots planted a week or so ago.  Fortunately I have pictures, so I can recreate (almost) the correct labelling for the root veg.  

As you can see I’ve splashed out and bought a growbag for the cherry tomatoes.  

These are in and looking good, hopefully 4 weeks in the mini greenhouse (a tiny plastic one!) will have got them off to a good start.  

The beans look pretty perky, a nice row, some pods already on the broad beans to replace the very early one I munched last week.   

The string support for asparagus is working, although the lines are not all strictly speaking parallel.  
I’ve fitted the proper tap to the  water butt; now I can store water rather than relying on help with a hose every now and then, and I’ve sourced a compost bin.  Not generated enough dead plant matter yet to warrant it, but it’s only a matter of time.  
And the brassica seedlings are coming up a treat.  Useful as I’ve finally laid bird protection over Brian (the blond hair now sadly obscured with green horticultural netting) as I’m going to pop them in on Monday.  I must also get the salad leaves in, no point considering them as an infill crop if I never get them into the ground.  

Enjoy the sun!

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An actual, genuine crop appears!

I can confirm the beans inside were very small, but tasty!  So pretty impressed by that.

I’ve installed a 100l water butt; however the tap is busted.   As a result I’ve had to rig up a temporary bung for the tap-hole using an old wine cork.  Strangely I seem to have a reasonable number lying around.  You may recall that ever since I bought the hose the rain has been much more prolific.  So I anticipate that actually getting a water butt probably means I should move onto digging out paddy fields.

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Asparagus looking much happier with visible means of support

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Think the yellowing means a deficiency.  Feeding time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s tasks have been: sowing brassica’s to fill Brian with more green stuff than I suspect he ever actually ate.  That means sowing purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cavolo de nero, and cauliflower into half seed trays and popping into the plastic greenhouse to get them going as strongly as possible.  And providing support to the asparagus, which wasn’t enjoying the delightful May breezes, alongside siting the water butt.

As for Mick, well, the spuds are looking very perky; so I’ve started to earth up (mound earth round the base of the plant).  They are too tiny at this point to really need it, but it’s supposed to protect the new tubers from the light (which makes them green), and helps with warmth and moisture (moisture trickles into the rows that you make to water the tubers, the steeper sides of the mounds capture the sun’s warmth better).  May just be to make the firtling easier when you come to harvest!

And it’s raining again – hence the blog update….

Starting to rock now …

Broad beans went in last week, and I’ve now (yesterday) tied them up a little better as the droop wasn’t too appealing.  Look strong ( if wonky), and the bees are clearly happy enough to pollinate.

Initial burst of courgettes has suffered a little from front, but most of leaves are fine.  Four more planted, and I’ve now built a wigwam for the runners.  Which, as you can see on the right, have stormed up since the weather turned warmer and moister.

Sweetcorn is now in as well.  Everything in this bed started at home in a small plastic greenhouse as I’m hoping that should give them the best possible start.  Theory that didn’t work with the sweet peas: planted 12, and only 3 seeds have come up.  So I’ve planted them along one of of my bean supports to encourage pollination (well, to add some colour too).

Eagle-eyed viewers will see I’m using the low tech string approach to the runners: train the beans up string tied to a cross- beam. If it’s good enough for Hampton Court, it’s good enough for me.  And if the sweet pea survivalists actually manage to put in any growth, I may experiment with string cordons too.

The eagle-eyed will also spot that the corn / runners are not doing the pucca 3 sisters thing with the beans growing up the sweetcorn.  As the beans are taller than the sweetcorn it didn’t seem practical … Learning for next year, get the sweetcorn off to an earlier start.

Meanwhile Mick is incapable of keeping out of the action, even during Keef’s better solos.  The chitted potatoes are poking through.  Whoop-de-do!

Sir Walter would be very proud

No sign yet of the carrots or parsnips, but I have popped in the beetroot that had germinated.

Next task is to populate Brian with brassicas.  Seed sowing into the plastic greenhouse, and then a fortnight later I hope to be planting out.  And I really must remember not to plant all at one go.  Half trays will be fine, different seeds each end.  Oh, and salad onions; to help protect the carrots when they come up.  It’s all go!

The planting continues apace …

Back to the plot this morning; and I’ve finally moved the broad beans, and courgettes into place.  They look a little floppy at the mo; so I’ve given them a rather good soaking.  Think they will need a little more staking.  Worryingly spotted a number of small holes in the leaves of the beans.  Something to keep an eye on.  

Also planted out 4 courgette plants; mindful that they ‘don’t like being transplanted’, and since two out of each set of 3 seedlings came up successfully, they are nestled together in little pairs.  I can’t be the only gardener who hates culling the smaller, weaker seedlings.

And finally; 4 onions, grown from seed (planted back end of January) at Hadlow.  Refugees from my ‘allium bed’ that has been converted to asparagus.

I’ll need to add some staking for the runner beans, and I’ll pop in a couple of sweet pea seedlings (the only one that actually germinated) to aid pollination.

Hope we get to see some sun soon!

Mick is filling up …

Couple of days of rain and …

Only a short post, but I’ve finally been able to sow carrots (trying Rainbow Mix & Yukon), and parsnips (Albion) into Mick – which is roots, toms & tubers.


I’m leaving the space at one end for beetroot: I have some seedlings hardening off in the back garden.Taking a look at my tomato seedlings; they are still pretty small.  Think that’s because I’ve gone for hardening them off outside already.  Might have been better off leaving them in the mini greenhouse.

I bought a new hose: it’s still raining ….

I have started planting …

Liming complete, along with a hopefully healthy dose of fertiliser to deal with the low potassium / phosphorous diagnosis from the RHS, and finally the bulk bag of top soil spread and raked over each bed.  I’m ready to plant.  And I’ve decided that one bed will be dedicated to asparagus; so the onions will have to make their own way alongside the peas & beans.  Slight re-draft of the planting planogram (plantogram?), but a plan has to adapt!

Charlie therefore has been manured for a second time; and the 2 packs of teeny-tiny asparagus crowns have been planted at the recommended spacing.

This has left me with a chunk of space at the end of Charlie: means I can deploy another lovely piece of horticultural terminology and claim I am catch-cropping (at least I think that’s it).  So salad leaves is the answer to the question of what I should plant in the top (or bottom) quarter of this bed.

This re-think means:

  • Mick is now roots & tubers;
  • Keef is peas, beans, corn & squashes;
  • Brian is brassicas;
  • Charlie is a 3 year commitment to asparagus.;
  • and I have 4 onion seedlings to pop in somewhere.

I also managed to get my first batch of potatoes in; having chitted them (left in the light for the eyes to sprout for a couple of weeks) first.  I’ve selected Nicola variety (I remembered the name from RHS Level 2 as being resistant to something nasty).  This leaves about 2/3 of space in Mick for the beetroot (I have around 6 healthy-looking seedlings pretty ready to go, and the rest will have carrots.

Next planting session should start to populate Keef.  And I need to think about protection from insects / bird-life.  Fortunately the construction or the bed frames should enable me to attach netting pretty easily as I can tack it to the stakes at each end.  Well, that’s the theory at least!