Saturday, 25 July 2015

Fruit fest

There was loads of fruit to pick today, blackcurrants, raspberries and now gooseberries too. More mangetouts too. There are a few French beans forming and the sweetcorn are beginning to show some tassels for the pollen to fall onto.

All of us plot holders got a letter to remind us to tidy out plots and keep them free from weeds. I would prefer that if a plot holder is not dealing well with their plot that someone from the parish council contacted them to find out if there is a problem. Sending a letter vaguely threatening eviction seems a pompous way to behave, but that's what I would expect from the parish council.

I will put extra effort into weeding, I would be very sad to lose my plot.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Fruit and a bug

The hot spell has been followed by warm weather with some rain at times - ideal for growing. The broad beans have all come on well with loads of swollen pods. I picked loads of pods today, most will now be frozen for later in the year. The raspberries are producing lovely berries while the blackcurrants are better than ever. Gooseberries are just ripening and in a couple of days there will be a glut of them too. I've made some great blackcurrant jam and frozen lots of extra berries too.

I've dug some of the potatoes, and they are really good, but not that many tubers on each plant. The French beans are still behind, with no pods and only a couple of flowers. The sweetcorn is short and stubby, with the start of male flowers showing, but no cobs yet. I hope there is still some pollen when the cobs need it. Onions look good with no flowers, but they are not turning yet, so they seem a bit late to me. The manges touts have already been prolific with much more to come. It looks like the cold May and June has played a big part this year.

On the next plot Louise discovered a bug of some kind on her blackcurrants, I only managed one decent picture of it. I have no real idea what it is. At first glance it looked like a ladybird, but there's no obvious head or legs. I wondered if it is a shield bug, but again the shape is wrong. It could be a scale insect, but it's a bit big and a bit thick. I wonder if it's the young stage of something.  So I'm puzzled. Louise found three on one of her blackcurrant bushes, I hope they're not harmful.

Edit: I'm reliably informed that it is a ladybird pupa, so beneficial not harmful at all (Thanks Jerry).

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Hot stuff

There's the beginning of a heat wave just now. I popped up to see how things are coping and all seems well so far, indeed heat is just what sweetcorn and squashes need, so they are picking up nicely.

The peas are looking good too. The plants are big and strong and flowers are appearing all over the stems. A few have developed into pods.

The flowers are colourful and the pods are very pale green. They taste great.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Taking their time

The plot is looking good, but not everything is flourishing. The things that need a bit of warmth like sweetcorn, squashes and French beans are all struggling because it has been too cold and too windy. In the last couple of days the temperature has risen, but the wind has still been strong. I think the sweetcorn will survive, but it's always a race to see if it has time to ripen before the summer is over. I hope so.

One the other hand some things are doing well. The first buds of potato flowers are showing, broad beans are much stronger with flowers on them. Spinach is almost ready for a first pick, all the brassicas are looking strong and the peas are growing fast. The new sowing of peas are all showing too.

I sowed some extra French beans beside the existing ones, one of which has perished completely. I hope the extra plants will give me a decent crop which looks unlikely from what I have already.

A bit of work with a hoe and the weeds are largely under control. I think it's time to get the leeks out now.

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.