Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Hot days

At last, some sunny weather! And the young plants like it, even if there needs to be a little watering of the transplanted seedlings.
I worked hard this weekend, the long Pentecost weekend, the last now before the summer holidays. I transplanted beetroot, leeks and the Chinese cabbage that was too close to the rhubarb to thrive. I hoed and weeded, sowed tarragon, and a strange herb called Porophyllum ruderale or Bolivian coriander which you add fresh to South American dishes. Could be a strange new plant! I also tidied all the edges, with pick and shovel, and lawn scissors, pushing the cut grass back onto the edges of the plot where possible. 2 wheelbarrows full of bindweed, dandelion, redshank, thistle and chickweed were pulled out. The rhubarb chard was pulled out, except one plant left to flower and produce seed. The turnips were also pulled out - there are some that have formed a root, while others have not. Most odd. There is lots of greenery which I will try to cook, rather than waste it.
Everything is now out, bar the Borlotti beans and continuing sowings of green beans.
I harvested strawberries (just a handful), a nice sweet lettuce, and a few herbs. I will try a get a few more new spuds out tonight.
And I finally found time to take some pictures! Pity I took them before my big weed out, but you get the idea.
Soon we will be eating the first peas! There are tiny pods popping out all over them:
The runner beans have started to pop out - some haven't worked so I need to sow a few more in the gaps. The seedlings are frighteningly big.... There are a few lettuce in the middle, to use up the excess space. This is now nicely weeded. On the left there will be the first dwarf French beans too.
The roses are beautiful, I will make a few bouquets. You can see here the rhubarb over the back, huge it is, and  the artichokes nearer the front. They all take up quite a bit of room now!

The tomato stakes are up. You can see on the right the peppers and aubergines. They hate going outside and sulk for a while especially as it has been chilly but now they are starting to pick up. The bushy white thing along the path is a coriander in flower. The insects love it.
The potato bed has rarely been so lush. The spring rain seems to agree with them. You can see in the foreground that I have started harvesting them.The onions are over the back there - they are very green and lush too. Aren't the irises pretty?
This is a more general view. I put up a windbreak for the tomatoes, dunno if it really helps but they seem to like it as they are growing well. The other plots around me are pretty tidy but I am pleased that I have everything planted out for the season now, even if it's still a little weedy. I will take a new pic this week showing the other side, where I have scraped out the edges and made it very clean and tidy. I need to master the art of the closeup pic so I can show the lavender that will soon be flowering, the rocket pods ready to give new seeds, the orange marigolds and the deep red roses.

Friday, May 25, 2012


First crops!

May and April were the wettest possible. But for some crops that is good news. I am already getting early potatoes! Small Belle de Fontenays, sweet and tender. Delicious. Took a few, I will leave the others another week or two to plump up! The maincrops are now huge, over 2 feet tall! I Bordeauxed them yesterday, as now the weather has become very hot. Came back with a little paper bag of spuds, an armful of rhubarb (now sliced and frozen) and the first lettuce, which was tender and delicious, if quite small. It was eaten in one go! Hopefully there will be another one ready on the weekend!
The tenders are sulking a little, the peppers and aubergines have lost some leaves, as the last two weeks have been terrible. This warm spell should do them the world of good. The tomatoes are however doing very well, and are now at least a foot tall.
I did a little work last weekend but end of year events keep interrupting the good intentions! Long weekend this weekend so I will get to it. Just weeding to be done really. The toms are staked, the peas need a little more support, the dahlias and garlic need weeding. Cucumbers must be planted too.
Leeks and beetroot need transplanting. Grass is getting long along the edges ( I'll hack it all off with a shovel and put it in a plastic bag to rot down.). I did weed the herb bed and cut grass all round it so it now looks beautiful. The hollyhock I planted there is big and strong and I am looking forward to its first flowers.
Runner beans are up! They grow so fast it's incredible! I will put in some willow sticks to help them get onto the teepee. I also have the Cobra beans to sow and the Borlottis to go in.
Pics this weekend, hopefully. It is looking so lush and gorgeous.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Absolutely knackered

That's what I was on Wednesday night after 7 hours spent on the plot. I really was starting to have twinges at the end and was hoping I wouldn't end up on a stretcher. Must remember to dump the rubbish progressively and not leave it all to the end when I am done in.
I did get a lot done though. I dug over the old compost heap, surrounded it with wooden planking and covered it with thick paper and black plastic. That will be the planting position for the young courgettes and cucumbers.
I sowed:

 I Put down a little black plastic to plant some of the peppers but was too knackered to do it for all of them. Will be interesting to see which do best. There are at least 12 pepper plants in and about 6 aubergines. I planted about 18 or 20 tomato plants, probably too close together but it's hard to tell when they are small. There are only 2 cherry variety this time, Sungold. The others are mostly beefheart type, greens, and salad tomatoes like Bloody Butcher. Digging over the tomato bed was hell, I had not covered it sufficiently. I dug out 2 wheelbarrows full of weeds.

 I dug over the bean bed (it had been covered so not too hard) and kept sowing runners: Enorma Elite and White Lady, and 2 rows of green beans, Fin de Bagnols and some Saxa. I still have to put in a row of Borlottis and the Cobra climbers but there is a bit of room left for those.

The spuds are massive with the rain we have been having, over 40cm high. They should get some bordeaux mixture this weekend.

 I was too tired to take pictures but I will try to do that this weekend. Not much left to do now:

Soon I will be harvesting strawberries, yum yum and hopefully some rocket. There are flowers on the peas but they are still growing. I am still some way from boxes of veggies but hopefully we are getting there.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


First tomatoes

With some reluctance, I planted the first tomatoes out yesterday. They were stagnating in their little pots and starting to be leggy. So 7 went out under plastic bottles or protected by a plastic windbreak. Today it is sunny and only breezy so I hope that I made the right decision. The weeds are taking over with glee, I managed to do a little hoeing but hopefully over next weekend, the long weekend, I will be able to tackle them head on. The rhubarb gave me 600g of thick stalks yesterday and I made 5 pots of rhubarb and gooseberry jam (from the freezer). yum yum. I hope that now the weather is warming up, the caulis and lettuces will pick up as they have taken OK but are not growing wildly. The potatoes are feral, the greenery is very lush with all the rain we have been having. Soon I will need to get out the Bordeaux mixture and do some blight prevention. The artichokes have recovered dramatically, all the plants are now 40 to 50 cm across with lots of new growth, hopefully the artichoke stalks will soon appear. I love this time of year, so rich in promise. And with the good weather I will be able to take new pictures this weekend.

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