Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Catching up

I've not been adding blog posts recently, but that doesn't mean the plot isn't thriving, it is.  The weather has been decidedly cold in April, with frosts at night and cold, wet days. May has had a warm, sunny spell, but now is back to cold and surprisingly windy for this time of year. The weather is a mess.

The broad beans are thriving, with flowers on many of them. They are where I grew potatoes last year and I must have missed a few as potatoes are springing up around them. I'm going to try leaving both plants where possible and see what I can harvest.

I have planted out cabbages and broccoli, covered with a net and with some slug pellets around it. The slugs and snails are quite bad this year. Yesterday I added some calendulas, or pot marigolds, under the netting as companion planting. I'm sceptical about this, but I had a few left over from planting at home so I thought I'd try it. They are supposed to repel slugs but even if they don't they will look good.

I've planted out three butter nut squashes and they have been attacked by slugs. I have just sown three more seeds at home in case the squashes succumb to the slugs, though they would be a bit late.

Parsnips are doing very well. My usual way of germinating them and growing them on in paper tubes has worked, though a few perished in the cold - I think I planted them out a touch early.

My first batch of sweetcorn is out and has also been attacked by slugs. The second batch is hardening off. I hope the staggered planting will give a longer harvest - let's see what happens.

Onions are looking strong, asparagus is quite good, but not prolific, maybe it's too cold for it. The fruit bushes are laden with flowers and embryonic fruit. It could be a great year again. I've taken plenty of rhubarb and more is growing again.

Climbing beans are through in pots and will be ready to harden off soon. I have the canes set aside to build a frame for them.

Leeks are almost big enough to plant out. They are looking particularly good this year.

It's not all good news. I sowed some beetroot and spring onions. Both showed small signs of sprouting but now there is nothing at all. I'm going to sow some more along with some carrots which I hope do better than last year.

I've been keeping the weeds down quite well this year. Last year, about now, it started to get away from me and then it is much harder to deal with weeds, especially if the ground dries out. Using a hoe in damp, soft ground is quick and pretty effective.

One area where the weeds are rampant is in the new hedge between the plots and the field. The young hedge is being swamped with cleavers. I've cleared it from behind my plot but it's spreading again. I can't spray it as that would risk killing the young hedge, I'll just have to try harder.