Monday, June 10, 2019

Planting Out

Now with the danger of overnight frosts gone, the young plants big enough to survive in the big bad world and the ground prepped it's time to the put plants out to take their chances.

Sounds simple doesn't it, dig a hole, stick the plant in, fill it up and water.....or is it?

I follow a 3 simple rules for planting out and thought I'd share them with you. They are quite simple, those that go in deep, those that in level and those that need a hill.

Those that can go deep:

By deep I mean putting them in the ground up to the first set of true leaves, not the baby leaves. These are plants that will put out extra roots from the stem, or those that need strong support such as brussels and sweetcorn.

It this category I put tomatoes, sweetcorn, sprouts, Kale, sprouting broccoli

Those that go in level:

These are plants that need the surface of the compost they were planted in to be at the same level as the ground soil, where planting them deeper could cause the plant to rot.

These are plants were the end product is swollen stem, such as onions, or very close to the ground such as cabbages and cauliflower.

Some say lettuces should be included here, but I've always planted them a little deeper to provide support.  

Those that need a hill:

Some plants don't like their leaves and stems getting wet. Not only can they not be planted deep, but water shouldn't be allowed to pool around them. This is the cucurbit and gourd family, mostly known as squashes.

These should be planted on a mound, pile up the earth, make a hole in the top, pop the plant in level with the surface. This can mean the root ball doesn't have much soil around it in the first couple of days so it's best to put a plant pot in so you can water near it.

I tend to dig a bigger shallow hole, make my mound in the middle and then water into the moat around it. The white pipe is instead of a plant pot

If you have a sloping plot then planting them at the top will stop the water pooling.

Hope this helps someone out

Happy gardening folks!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Slugs, Pigeons, Rabbits..................and Horses!

The last couple of years we've had mercifully few problems with slugs and our site doesn't really suffer with rabbits like the one up the road. Pigeons we most definitely have a problem with and peas or brassicas without netting don't stand much of a chance.

One thing you don't expect though is horses. There are some living in the field beside our site and of late they have been escaping to our side of the fence occasionally.

When I popped down to water last Wednesday the first thing I noticed were some holes in a dug but empty bed. As there was no soil flung about I wondered if someone had been nicking the topsoil by the bucket full, then I saw the unmistakable imprint of a horse shoe in the clay surface of the un-dug bed one.

It looks like the beast had had a wander round half the plot, including splitting my two rows of carrots into four! Not happy. Somehow he missed every parsnip that has germinated.

I looked up to see the horse merrily wandering around the far end of the site defying all attempts to catch it, or take its picture. Needless to say a complaint has gone into the council who were supposed to replace the fences in April.

At least I haven't put in many of my plants yet, the sweetcorn are due to go in this week, quite happy with these.

I'm glad I waited unlike some who lost more than a carrot or two. Very disheartening for new plot owners.

Happy gardening folks!!


Monday, May 13, 2019

So here's the plan.....

I like to try and stick to a crop rotation plan, there is usually a little tweak required every year, something doesn't come up, you get given something new or more than expected germinates so you think why not put it in. So here is this years plan. Having the cross paths splitting the beds does actually make things easier to manage.    

I'm pretty happy with things so far, I know there is a long way to go yet, so here's a run down of the progress so far. 

Bed 1

Nothing happening here, not even got the covers off yet. It just needs a little dig and its good to go but I have a good couple of weeks as some of the plants due to go in there haven't even come up yet. I'll probably add a couple of buckets of manure to the bits that was exposed over winter.

Bed 2

At the front the asparagus bed is getting into it's stride and if this keeps up it will effectively pay for the plot again this year.

The other half of the front bed if being used for quick growing crops such as lettuce, radish, turnip and beetroot. Once I get all the crops in other beds I'll mix them into the those and maybe use this space for something else. I'm thinking more ornamental this year. 

The back of the bed where the tomatoes and chillies will go has been dug and prepped ready.

Bed 3

I planted 24 stations of parsnips, with 4 seeds per station, so far 12 have come up, that's a 1/8th germination rate, don't you just love them! I've replanted the failed stations again.

The carrots are coming along nicely and onions seem to be enjoying life in the fleece tunnel which will continue for the next couple of weeks until the risk of allium leaf miner has passed..

At the back of the bed the Shetland Black potatoes are looking good and the space for the Oca plants is prepped.

Bed 4

The summer and winter cabbages are looking healthy in the small cage. Only 11 in total but how much cabbage can one man eat! In the big cage The kohl robi are started to swell, I've never grown these before so I'm watching them closely and the broccoli, sprouts and kale have settled into their new home quite nicely.

At the back are the arran pilot early spuds, some of which are a little behind but all showing now. There will be more oca in here once the danger of frost has passed.

Bed 5

The bean canes are up and the seeds are in. I've gone for the odd angle in the bed to make the best use of the space and put in different coloured varieties to make it look a little more interesting.

At the back of the bed the broad beans have plenty of flowers, but no pods yet, they are a dwarf variety so the wind hasn't ravaged them too badly this year. 

In the pea cage things are looking good, the germination rate has been very good, I thought about thinning them but I think I'll just leave it. The beetroot plugs I put in have taken nicely too.

Fruit Bed

I've finished clearing the old raspberries, weeds and herbs, dug it over and turfed the new paths. Once the turf takes I'll cut the edges and put in the boards. The strawberries have lots of flowers but no sign of and berries yet.

So that's where we are so far. As long as everything that is filling up all my window sills does its job we should have a lot more planting out to do soon.

Happy gardening folks!!


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Where did the sun go?

Over the Easter weekend I got quite the tan working on the plot, this weekend not so much...

The great weather gave me the opportunity to plant out the summer cabbages and kohl robi seedlings in the brassica cages,  the marigolds in the borders and the beetroot seedlings in the pea cage where the pesky pigeons can't get their beaks on them!

The carrots are up and the rows look good with no big gaps, the parsnips I'm not so sure about, something is coming up in places but I haven't been able to 100% identify them as parsnips yet. This makes the weeding a rather perilous affair.

I put in a half row of radishes, turnips, Tom Thumb lettuces, red spring onions, beetroot and a row each of the pea varieties in the new pea cage. The radishes took a record 4 days to appear!

At home I've planted tomatoes, sweetcorn and chard in pots and had a good germination rate. The tomatoes are on the windowsill where they can get a couple of extra hours of light under the grow lamps, no leggy specimens for me this year I hope! The sweetcorn and chard are outside in the green house.

This weekend I wanted to get the broccoli, winter cabbages, sprouts and kale out too but it's still windy here in Essex and we are due a couple of cold nights this week so I'll leave it for a few days yet.

The red/white onions are now getting a bit big for their cells I don't think leaving them in there until the start of June is a good idea. I have been holding off planting them out until then to avoid the first wave of allium leaf miner but as I don't think they can wait I have invested in a fleece tunnel to cover them instead. I was going to buy one anyway to cover the leaks in Sept/Oct when the second wave arrives. I just need to wait for the wind to drop  a bit more so the tunnel doesn't end up next door.

I've finally made a start on clearing the fruit bed as well. There is a lot of weed clearing to do but hopefully it won't take long to do.  

The first veg crop from this season is not the usual radish, but the asparagus which has just started to produce. I'll waiting to see if the new crowns I put in last year do anything, I suspect they won't and that's the case I'll try growing some from seed next year.

The spuds are starting to poke through now, not exactly where I think I planted them but I'll take it. I've been earthing them up as the overnight temps can still be a bit low.

Happy gardening folks!