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 …
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.
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!
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.