Wednesday, 27 May 2015

More peas please

I sowed another row of peas this morning so the crop will hopefully be staggered. A bit of weeding to keep up with their non-stop advance and then cut a crop of asparagus for lunch.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

All out

The plot is looking great, but I've not got around to writing a blog post, so here's a catch up.

I have planted out and sown lots of stuff and all is doing well. I thought I'd run through the plot with both the permanent and annual stuff and comment on them. At the back the raspberries are almost coming into flower. The cuttings of black currants and gooseberries are doing well, both with a small number of swelling fruits on them. One bramble from Norman has taken (the other died) and it's leaves are growing well. Rhubarb is prolific and I've taken loads. The potatoes are coming through nicely. The main gooseberries and black currants are smothered in small fruits.

I've planted out the French beans which are alive but not liking the shock of being out yet. Beside the French beans I have a short double row of savoy cabbages which look small but good. Beetroot has sprouted and looks good, but the spring onions next to it don't seem to have sprouted. I may need to sow some more. The lettuces and spinach is going well. They both really need thinning but I need a warm dry day for that. A double row of autumn broccoli is looking strong. After the gap for the leeks, which are still in the greenhouse, there are the peas which the packet claim could grow to 2 metres. They are all growing well, but so far they are only short like any other kind of pea. I think the packet may have been wrong. I will sow another row this week to spread the harvest.

Squash with a new leaf
At the other side of the plot are the carrots grown from plugs. The wind has been strong and has blown down the fleece fence to keep the carrot fly out more than once. The flapping fleece has damaged some of the carrots but most look good. The broad beans look very strong. They have some side shoots but no flowers yet. I planted out some sweetcorn in a block and next to that some purple-sprouting broccoli given to me by Louise in the next plot. That looks strong. Next to the sweetcorn there is a rather large bed with three small butter nut squash plants in it. I expect them to fill the bed, but we'll see. They are putting out new leaves and look healthy. I grew them from saved seed from a squash given to me, so I hope they do well.

The onions look great. I've taken more care with weeding between the rows this year and they seem to be benefiting. Lastly the asparagus is doing really well. No sign of the asparagus beetle this year, though it is on other peoples' plots now. I've taken lots of spears and lots more are showing.

There has been plenty of rain, but strong winds, cool days yet no frost. Things are going well.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Peas and beans

The French beans at home have germinated, and they quickly grew to be 10cm tall. I can't put them out for a few weeks yet as frost would kill them, so I need to slow them down. I'll find a cool corner for them for a while.

At the plot, some peas have appeared. I stuck some hazel sticks in a pea canes and some of them have buds that have opened too. If any have rooted then when the peas are done I'll move them to near the hedge at the north end of the plot to grow as hazel trees. They will add to the shelter from the north wind and might have hazel nuts in a few years.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Rain over the radio

I've just finished potting up the leeks from a seed tray where they were sown into small, soft pots. Sitting in the conservatory, listening to the radio over the sound of rain pattering, and sometimes battering, on the roof is pleasant enough, but add the wafted scent of leeks makes it even better.

I now have all the first batch of plants either sown in the ground, as plugs or in pots so things are progressing well and having more rain than was forecast helps too.

I think the purple-sprouting broccoli is nearly done and will need digging up this week. It is occupying some of the space I plan to use for sweetcorn and squashes and there's not a great hurry for them yet. Frosts are still easily possible which would kill both of them.

The local weather forecaster warns in his latest blog that a warm dry April often leads to a wet summer. He ought to know better - any forecast more than a few days out is just a guess, or in the case of tabloid newspapers, a dubious way to boost sales.

Spring harvests

I popped up to plot 18 to get check everything was OK. The air was much colder than for the past week or so. A chill wind was blowing and there was a hint of rain in the air. I picked some purple sprouting broccoli and decided that there was enough asparagus to take the first cut of that. Still no sign of the peas, but beetroot shoots are breaking through. My watering has worked there at least. 

At home I had to rush out to rescue the washing as a heavy shower broke. I'm happy to see some rain, with more forecast over the next few days. The asparagus made a wonderful lunch with some eggs. The sweet stems, quickly steamed, were delicious and something to relish every year at this time.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Seeds sown

The weather has been hot (for April) and dry. The ground is very dry and warm so sowing any seeds will be warm, but need a lot of water to germinate. Today I sowed lettuce, spring onions and spinach. The carrots from a plug all look good, the broad beans are pushing through the ground with most of them showing. The peas and beetroot are not yet showing.

At home the leeks are ready for potting up, the sweetcorn has almost all sprouted, the French beans are not showing yet and two of the squashes are just appearing.

I've had to water the young plants a lot and water is going to be an issue soon. The forecast was for rain on Friday, but now that may not be until Sunday and may not be very much. It seems a shame to want this warm weather to end, but a night of steady rain would be very welcome.

Friday, 17 April 2015


Norman, who has the next plot to mine, has a fruit cage. In it he has thornless brambles amongst other fruit bushes. Some people would call brambles blackberries. He offered to layer some of the stems and give any off shoots to anyone interested. I took him up on his offer and took two such stems. One looks really good and one not so good.

I've dug over a spot in my fruit area. I knocked in two posts and strung some wire between the posts. I planted the stems and carefully tied in the stems to help support them so as not to put any strain on the young roots. A good glug of water followed and I hope I'll have some new bramble plants for the future.

Overall the plot looks good, but it is very dry with no real rain in the past couple of weeks. The forecast looks dry for the rest of April, so watering will be needed again soon. I think a good soak for everything in the ground is looking essential in the next few days.