So Monday was a sad day, last hands-on session of my RHS Practical course at Hadlow. It’s been really inspirational, well worth the hands on experience of pruning, propagating, sowing, digging, and the conversations with such a diverse group of gardeners. We have 2 trips out to consolidate the learning, and chat about gardens, but then I have to decide wether I can cope with the Level 3 Practical while also doing the L2 Planning and Maintenance course. This is the veg plot we planted tended over the past year
Lovely, isn’t it!
So, on the allotment this week I have finally harvested the broad beans, prodded, blanched, and frozen my crop. Fantising about broad bean and chorizo salad as the best use over the summer. BBQ anyone? Chopped down the tops and popping into the compost bin, and left the roots to do their thing with the nitrogen. At the other end from the broad beans the courgettes are beginning to swell, and the sweetcorn is thrusting through their prickly leaves. Lost one of the onions. The runner beans have been playing host to black aphids, so sprayed with soapy water. I have also planted dwarf French beans in the gaps.
In other news, I’m still baffled by the parsnip seedlings. Partly because by sowing in threes I have little groups of coriander-like leaves, rather than a neat row. However, I’ve also sown some at home in the mini greenhouse in toilet roll inners which should be easier to spot once planted out. Carrots are as carrots are, easier to spot so I’m anticipating the carrot white fly to make an appearance any day now! And you can see how the beetroot is finally swelling next door. Looking forward to roasting these, black pepper, rosemary, goats cheese sprinkled on top …
Brassicas are coming up, so I’ve sown a further set (purple sprouting, kale, cavalo-de-Nero, cauliflower romescue) are now propagating in the mini greenhouse, the lettuce (Little Gem) and rocket are coming up, and the potatoes are making flowers. Soon I’ll need to get my first firtling fingers ready …
And last week was very busy catching up with old friends. So, progress report:
Brian the brassica bed is planted and looking good. Two rows of Kale (one is Cavolo de Nero) which I’m looking forward to immensely, 1 row of cauliflower, 1 of Purple Sproating Broccoli, and a row of spring onions. Lifted out of the seed trays, and popped in with plenty of water. These have all been germinated in the mini greenhouse first.
Frankly I’m beginning to think this is the best idea, because I am struggling to spot the seedlings amongst the weedlings in the asparagus bed (Charlie).
Spot the carrot seedling! I can see fat hen, clover, and groundsel, but no sign at all of the parsnips, and only a very limited glimpse of something that might be a carrot seedling or two. So Mick got a thorough weeding.
Weather has been only sort of kind, wet and warm, but extremely windy. Good job the sweet corn is not that tall yet, and the bean support has survived thankfully.
Tasks for what is left of this week are to pop some more lettuce and rocket to infill Charlie the asparagus bed, start some more brassicas off, to follow the first batch, and to plant the butter nut squash seedling that are looking pretty healthy. Any views anyone on how soon I should be. Taking a look under the spuds for signs of tubers? They look promising; should I be waiting for flowers?
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.