Thursday, May 31, 2007
A neighbour gave me some broccoli plants which was very kind of him. My seed doesn't seem to have really done much, there are a few broccoli seedlings, about a centimetre high. So I will have to prepare a space for these seedlings, for now I have just heeled them into a corner, they are about 20 cm high and look good.
The lettuce is bolting! but it isn't even very filled out yet! So I have cut some, the curly endive is tough, I don't think I will bother with that again, but the romaine type looked better. I hope I can plant the rest of the beans this weekend, not only will it rid me of the dreaded tarpaulin hiding the weeds but it might fill the plot, if the sun ever comes out again. I will have a last go at the sunflowers because only 5 have actually grown. I wanted a dozen :-(
But when will the sun come out!! It is terribly frustrating as everything seems to be cold and stunted down on the lot !!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The garlic:The tomatoes/melon/squash:
The potato bin:The gooseberries:The strawberry patch:And an overall view:Ok it's still messy but it's my lovely garden and I hope it all tastes great!!! In the last one, you can see the tip of the composter, then the garlic, onions and spuds then the salad greens. There should be broccoli but it hasn't come up yet. The tarp hides the place where the beans will go and beyond that are the first beans and the sodding peas that aren't doing so well. The flower patch is at the other end. The sticks are the tomatoes and squash patch and you can just see a big bunch of self-seeded chives in the middle with purple flowers.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Anyway, there will be more strawbs to pick tomorrow, and maybe a lettuce. Quick update:
- Flowers: mixed: the sunflowers that took are doing well, I will try resowing some more I think, before it is too late. Some of teh seedlings seem to be flowers but I am loath to weed the flower beds in case I pull out the flowers. Nasturtiums are doing well, I am tempted to put them in various holes among the veg as they grow really quickly.
- Fruit: coming on swimmingly, tiny berries on gooseberries and good growth on the raspbs.
- Peas: No sign of the new ones, more bindweed seedlings springing up though.
- Beans: starting to look better, they are getting their true leaves. I will put more in this weekend.
- Tomatoes: Appreciating this week's warm spell, the Roma has its first fruit showing!
- Squashes/melons: Looking better. Think they were not too keen on the wet cold spell we had but they are alive so now it has heated up I am hoping they will start to grow better. Must give them some more compost on the weekend maybe. The gherkins are small but have a couple of flowers.
- Roots: Still my pathetic patch: parsnips doing OK and a few beets starting to look like real plants. There are carrot seedlings but they are small. The seed onions and fennel have come up though, good news.
- Spinach: I seem to be incapable of getting this to grow. Think I will give this a last go this weekend, maybe I need to net it? Otherwise I will give up for the moment I think.
- Radishes: Another failure, they stay small and then go hard. Maybe I need to pay them more attention, dig a deep bed with compost etc and try again?
- Potatoes; My success story so far. Flowers coming up on the main bed and in the potato bin.I might try and see if I can't get some early new potatoes out this weekend.
- Onion/garlic: Also fabulous. Now about 40 or 50 cm high, no flowers forming (which is what you want, because flowers sap the plant's bulb formation) and they are starting to turn colour which means that the bulbs are starting to mature. I think that the dry warm April really did the early crops a world of good, all the things planted in March are going great guns.
- Dig the last section in root veg and sow leek, brocoli and brussel sprout seeds in a seed bed. Try last ditch spinach effort.
- Plant final tomato batch. Give a compost dressing to the tomatoes if time.
- Dig the bean patch over (it is resting under cover so should be quicker that the other bits) and put in the main bean crop (greens and yellows).
- Net the gooseberry bushes and weed around them (there is a lot of grass and some bind weed).
Monday, May 21, 2007
I now want to buy a copy in French and force it on everyone I know as it is a must-read. (found out that in French it is called "Le Temps n'est rien" for those interested, it is also a recurring theme in the book, namely "Time is nothing").
Went down yesterday, had a tiny harvest!! Strawberries, two curly endive lettuces (tasty but very bitter, had to cut them they were ready to bolt) and some radishes.
Everything is pretty slow, as it has not been terribly warm. Some things obviously like the weather, especially the spuds - I have started to spot some flowers so soon we might be enjoying some new potatoes! The onion and garlic are very tall now, I hope they look decent underground? Also looking good are parsnips (yay!) the lemon balm (indestructible that one), the lettuce, the fruit bushes. I can see some broccoli seedlings but it is a bit slow. Carrots and beets have started but still small.
The peas are slightly better: readers will know that I am distressed by their crappiness. Yesterday I weeded them, dug and scraped around the patch, added a bucket of compost to the soil and sowed more peas, a row of sugarsnap and two rows of ordinary. With a bit of luck, they might do better than the others.
Weeded a lot all round the place, re sowed some radishes; spinach also wins a crappy award, it is barely through and seems very slow to me.
I set Biggest One to with the secateurs, his mission was to cut all the long grass tufts that were making the edges insightly, and he did quite a good job. Eventually we got caught be rain and hot footed it back home.
Taking stock of what is still to be done:
- Dig up the bit under the tarpaulin and sow the green beans. If weather improves that could be on for next weekend.
- Plant some last tomatoes I have been given.
- Dig up the last bit next to the carrots and resow later carrots, beets, spinach.
- Dig a bed where I can grow the leek and sprout seedlings, indoors that has been a flop so I will try outside as was suggested to me by the allotments4all forum.
- Net the gooseberries which are starting to fruit. I think they are kind of offputting to birds, the fruit is almost invisible and they are very prickly. But need to net, don't want to lose any.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Popped into the garden centre to see if there was anything I could get to replace the dead plum tree that I tried planting (no go there) but everything was way too expensive, so I guess I will just fill that gap with something temporary, maybe some late spuds??? and try to get something in the autumn or just prepare the ground there for next spring and try something like a kiwi fruit plant or maybe a hazel nut??
but on the whole a gardening dead zone...
POST SCRIPTUM: I ended up filling the gap with some leftover tomatoes and the sweet peppers as I could not be bothered digging up the place where I had originally intended to put them.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Then I found two nice pallets outside work and I pulled them apart with a crowbar. I want to plank off a few bits of the lot that are in poor nick and try and improve the soil.
I am starting to wonder if my peas are doing poorly because they are getting the runoff down the main path from the top lots - since I don't know what the other gardeners put on their soil, maybe that is it? So I think I will seal off that area and put some compost on it and try another batch of peas. It isn't too late.
Had a sniff around when I took the straw and wood down there this evening. We will have some more strawberries this w'end, yippee, and I took a close look at the gooseberries, and there they were - the first tiny berries!! So cute. I was starting to think that they might not fruit this year.
In fact, this week has been cool and rainy and it seems to have done the place good, maybe it is me, but I even have the impression that the weeds are falling back. There are still a couple of bits that are disgraceful but on the whole I am pleased with things. The tomatoes seem to have resisted in the dreadful wind we have had this week and the melons and pumpkins are holding there own. Lettuce is growing nicely too. The first leaves on the courgettes seem to have been tattered a bit but there is a lot of new growth in the middle which is probably more important. The physalis has been a bit blown about by the wind but I am told that it is very hardy, so it will probably be OK.
Starting to finally see some seedling action!! Carrots, parsnips and beets are finally through, I am relieved! the spuds and alliums are doing great and even the broccoli seed has germinated, as have the new beans. I am thinking of starting a little square for some leeks, that I will grow from seed and transplant out later in the season. I have not given much though to the winter garden yet.
Of course the general feel of the place has not changed, there are lots of peripheral weeds and a few bits of tall grass here and there; I should probably attack that with the secateurs and try and make it at least presentable. But certainly it is nothing like what it looked like before my holidays so I have achieved that goal at least.
This weekend is set to be busy, but still veg oriented, we are visiting the farm where our organic veg box comes from! OH is going to be sick of the sight of veg soon. Still I would like to get in a couple of hours because I need to weed, plant some more tomatoes, dig over the site for the sweet peppers, sow some more spinach and peas and tidy up where I can using the pallet wood. And take some more pics! My mediocre photographic ability is catching up with me! But it would be great to show the plot as it is now, it has changed so much.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Unlike me, because after two solid days of digging and planting, all the muscles are on strike!
The paper that was suffocating the weeds is gone, replaced with 3 rows of pretty yellow butter beans, and a more esthetic tarpaulin to cover the section that I will plant in a couple of weeks with the next lot of dwarf beans.
The very weedy patch is 90% dug over and filled with tall wooden stakes and small tomato plants. At a farmers' fair I bought a "Noire de Crimée" tomato plant that gives red-black fruit. Another experiment. The gherkins and melons are in and the pumpkin patch just needs composting and is ready for the plants. Planted 3 chilli plants, and 2 Chinese Lanterns (physalis) next to the raspberries.
Everything has been weeded and the potatoes are mulched with a thick layer of straw.
New lettuces are in, and I re-sowed carrots and parsnips as the very first lot didn't work. But the more recent beets, carrots and parsnips are just showing their faces. There is a very grassy patch next to that that needs digging yet, but I am getting there.
Sowed broccoli and roquette. Sowed more sunflower, think a couple were pinched by birds!!
The strawberries already have berries! So Small Ones helped gather rocks to hold it down
and we strung netting over the bed to stop marauders. They ahd fun picking up baby potatoes as I dug over the tomato patch - the last occupant must have had spuds there in the past and they had come up in among the weeds and left some little gifts for us. I cooked them last night with a few chives from the garden and they were delicious.
And as a final touch this morning I went to the DIY place and bought 36 wooden pavers to lay out as a place to put our table and chairs. That section still has to be dug and flattened but I currently have some weed mulch and cardboard over it so with a bit of luck it won't be too hard to get it ready.
Piccies coming this weekend! I would like everything to grow overnight! even though I know that isn't very realistic!
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