Friday is fertilling day surely?

 

Well, I’ve finally fertilled – the potatoes that is – and you can see the results of my initial groping about in the allotment bed above.  Alongside 2 of the largest courgettes I’ve ever seen, which clearly are basic actual marrows, and my fav veggie so far, more beetroot.

I’ve harvested 2 potato plants so far; and I’m aiming to harvest the rest over the next dew weeks.  I’ve a question however for my more experienced readers.   I thought the seed potato – the one that was chitted and then planted – would end up withered and exhausted.  But as each of the potato plants I’ve harvested so far have had a brown potato along with the little gathering of pale, blond, new looking potatoes I’d like to ask – is this the original seed potato???

The beetroot have been great; so much so that while harvesting this little load I’ve also planted out some more seedlings, hoping for a further harvest before autumn really sets in.  The weather has been really hot, and really dry, so much so that the tomatoes have suffered – quite a few crisped off leaves despite a regular session with the watering can.

The other beds are looking good: beans and sweetcorn competing to fill up not only the bed, but the air-space above it.  The sweet-peas that I planted just because …. are adding a nice touch of colour at the end of bean alley, and the netting has proved very successful at keeping pigeons off the brassicas.  I’ve also planted out some swede seedlings, and another set of PSB / cauliflowers / Kale.  But the onions seem to be hiding ….  I think next year I need a dedicated allium bed.

Now – it’s finally raining – so I’m off to watch some tennis!  Here’s the cooked result of the marrow / courgatte tasting.

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Getting my harvest head on…

Somewhere under the leaves are lots of courgettes!
Well, the heat of the last week has paid dividends; and I’m stuck into harvesting courgettes in good order.  I’ve gone for Tristar, so I’m getting pale green, yellow, and classic dark green fruits.  Seems an abundance of pale green at the mo, and as the experienced squash fans will know, if you leave them any time they grow from courgette to blimp, just as your back is turned. 

Also managed to start picking the rocket, so I’ve planted more to keep me fed this summer,  and the beetroots.  Roasted, with rocket (!) and some squishy goats cheese I think.  Everything is coming up big time.  Just to show you, here are two pictures: the kale etc 2 weeks ago:

And here they are yesterday. Amazing, and one of the reasons I’m really enjoying this.  

The tomatoes have made similar progress, so I’ve pinched out as many side shoots as I can find (love the smell of tomato plants, let alone the taste of tomatoes), and as recommended I’m trying to keep off the potatoes (now flowering), until the requisite 90 days have passed.  It’s worse than the 2 weeks wait!  

Harvesting, sowing, tending

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.  

Courgettes swelling, sweetcorn doing its thing

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 …

It’s voting day…

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).  

Place your cross where you think the parsnip seedling is hiding!

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?  

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!

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!

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.