Monday, June 25, 2018

Half a salad...

The weekend before we went away I managed to get a solid 9 hours in on the farm, and another 3 this weekend. Things are starting to look a lot more organised down there and now we have a bit produce to show for it at last, although with the longest day of the year gone I can't help thinking things still have a bit of catching up to do.

Here's where we are at the moment:

Bed One:
Tomatoes, cape gooseberries, Halloween pumpkins and courgettes are in this bed now. I've added the white plastic pipe to get water down to the roots. The toms have cane stakes for now but I'll  be replacing them with something more substantial soon. Last year several canes broke under the weight when the trusses got heavy.

Given the total failure of all my tomato plants at home I had to raid the local garden centre, so nothing too exciting this year, Alicante, Shirley, Moneymaker and some cherry toms, but I did find a Tigerella which we've never had before and it has the first set tom.

Heather potted up a couple of what she thought were winter eating pumpkins that self seeded in her compost bin so they have gone in too, however I now suspect they are in fact more courgettes and a sneaky way of getting more after I drew the line at 10 plants!! We do have our first tiny yellow courgette, silly season is upon us!

In the rest of the bed the salads are doing well, we are picking Salad Bowl and Tom Thumb lettuce, radishes, beetroot and chard now

Bed Two:
This sad looking patch of earth should be full of parsnips and carrots by now, but despite me pampering the area with sieved compost last year the seeds don't seem to have appreciated my efforts and only half a row of carrots came up. No parsnips and nothing from the carrot seed tape. I've replanted the parsnips and will do the carrots when I get some more seed.

Last year fennel was my best germinating seed, this year about half came up so I've sowed to fill in the gaps. The turnips are growing very slowly too but the shallots look OK.

There should be leeks in here too but I forgot about them up on Heather's balcony, I'll transplant them this week and dig up the random potato that is in the way.

The asparagus season is over now and it's being left to recharge. It was a good year and if you worked out what you would have paid for the amount we picked in the market, it paid the rent for the plot and then some. The 4 new crowns I put in haven't come up yet though. I bought a couple of bags of manure and covered the whole bed, topping it up to the top of the border, every year it drops a little.

Bed Three:
I've finally put the door on the brassica cage, helped by power tools running off the generator, not a bad job if I do say so myself.

The brassica seedlings at home were about as good as the tomatoes so the garden centre provided greyhound cabbages, some sprouts and curly kale. No PSB for us this year! A couple of cabbages haven't survived the transplant though.

The potatoes are flowering but we do have an issue with the main crop. Mosaic virus is showing on the leaves and the plants seem rather stunted. The Foremost and Charlotte's look ok though. I haven't dug any up yet. The virus isn't like blight so they will be left in, I won't be using last years left overs again though.

Finally the marrow and spaghetti squash are doing well and we have the first marrow set now.

Bed Four:
The beans are doing well, despite the best efforts of  the black fly which are even on the runners this year. We've picked a good carrier bag of broads so far and there are plenty more still on the plants. Some the plants have suffered from the black fly but the crop looks pretty reasonable this year.

The dwarf, runner and climbing beans are starting to climb the supports, the gaps have been replanted. No flowers yet but I don't think it will be too long.

The peas are now producing nicely, but picking them is a real pain under the pigeon netting, at 6'1 I don't fit under there very easily! They are a good size and nice and sweet, but I'm sure we are missing some as they are difficult to reach though. The second row is coming on but no flowers yet. 

Next year we need something similar to the brassica cage to grow them in. By the way, I hate pigeons!

This bed now has its boarder in place. It was a very wide bed so has been narrowed to the new 8'6 standard. This involved stripping the 19ft turf path and moving it over 18 inches. It was a lot of work and some people looked at me funny as I was doing it, I also made a hole in the hand with the lawn edger I was using to do it.

Bed Five:
Only half of this bed is currently planted. There are 25 sweetcorn, 3 courgettes and 5 cucumbers.

The sweetcorn all seem to have survived planting out and are growing on nicely, like the courgettes that are looking a lot greener now. There seems to have been an issue with the compost this year, it didn't provide enough nutrients for the plants and they all went in looking a bit sickly.

Strangely the Marketmore cucumbers did a lot better than the Burpless Tasty Green in the same compost. Hopefully this means that as the BTG's catch up I'll have a staggered crop.

I still have to dig over the area where the path was before I moved it, I have tried but it's ground that hasn't been touched in at least 15 years and with the lack of rain is too solid. I'm watering it in the hope of softening it to dig which I need to do before I can do the border on this bed.

Some time was spent Saturday just having a good clean up. All the buckets of weeds, rubbish, old wood etc were removed from the plot and the last of the plastic covers removed to generally tidy the place up.

Happy gardening Folks!!


Sue Garrett said...

Martyn used the technique of watering a very hard bed of soil in order to dig it last week. We used copious amounts of water and then covered the bed with weed control fabric to slow down any evaporation. Then he dug it the day after. When he dug it it stayed in large lumps so then he used his tiller to beat the lumps down. It seemed to work but then again this was a bed and hadn’t been used as a path.

Daisy Debs said...

No rain here for a couple of months now ....very difficult isn't it ? I like your idea of the plastic tubes....I'll be on the look out for some of that ..I have used old plastic milk bottles in the past ,but now I buy milk in cartons .... I wonder how long cartons would last ?
Anyway ...your veg garden is looking good ! Debbie :)

Dicky said...

Hi Sue
I might cover it, I didn't think of that... There is a guy here who has taken on a plot, I saw him filling his wheelbarrow at the taps and tipping it out all over!

Hi Debs
My next door neighbour is a plumber and was having a clear out, I skip