Monday, July 09, 2018

It's Coming Home!!

Hopefully football is coming home as I have England in the pub sweepstake, but whether it does or doesn't the veg finally is.. Looking back on previous years it seems to be a long time coming!

As you can see the courgette silly season is upon us. These plants were labelled as Long Green Bush 2 marrows, but after a heated argument with Heather and a quick Google I have to admit, they look more like courgettes, I'm assuming Zucchini, although I didn't plant any this year. Mental note to self, don't throw out seed packets just because they are empty!

The spuds are Charlottes, I haven't tried them yet but the report from people I gave them to is that they were very nice. We also have Foremost, I've had some of those and they are lovely. 

The radishes have stopped growing in this heat but a few turnips have come through so I'm using those in salads instead, they taste pretty similar. I've also been putting in matchstick cut golden beetroot which works very nicely. The salad bowl lettuces are still growing, one has bolted now but they should keep in salad despite the heat. 

I've tried sowing half a row of lettuce and radish in the little bit of shade offered by the asparagus bed, they still get in the evening but are protected from the worse of the midday sun. They are coming up so we'll see if it helps.

The other courgettes will be ready for harvesting soon, we won't let them get too big this year.

These are Black Beauty, a slight exaggeration as they are really dark green, this is the first one so I'll be trying it at the weekend.

The long yellow and green varieties are nearly there but so far none of the yellow scallops have fruited, only male flowers.  

This little beauty is the first of hopefully many cucumbers, a Marketmore. I also have Burpless Tasty Green but they were slightly behind, hopefully this means a staggered crop though. Love a home  grown cucumber.

Tomatoes are slowly producing trusses and starting to set. I replaced the canes with something stronger in readiness for a huge crop, fingers crossed.

The dwarf beans are just starting to set. The purple flowers are very pretty, these are Amethyst and were really good last so we're looking forward to these.

I've been planning ahead. I don't think we are heading for any kind of watering ban at the moment but just in case the council cuts us off I've filled up a 100 litre water butt which could last a week if used carefully on young plants only. There is no rain due for the next for the next couple of weeks still.  

Happy gardening folks

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

We have a parsnip!

Please note the use of the yes one has come up. To add insult to injury I don't think its from the replanted row but a disturb original sowing.

It started to look a bit curly in this hot weather so I decided it needed a little help!

Happy gardening folks!!

Monday, July 02, 2018

Inner City Gardening

I work in the city of London, not exactly an area with a lot of allotments or large gardens for growing veggies, you see the odd grow bag on a balcony but that's about it.

Last week I had to spend some time on another company site, the walk to which took me through the backstreets of Whitechapel and Shadwell on the way to Wapping.  

On a fairly busy road I passed a row of new town houses which don't appear to have any kind of garden and just a small paved yard at the front. This doesn't seem to have stopped the owners from growing their own veggies though, quite a range of pots and crops packed in there among the wheelie bins.

Proof that you don't need a massive space to produce your own food.

If you ever find yourself in Wapping I highly recommend the Captain Kid, Town of Ramsgate and the Prospect of Whitby down on the Thames path.

Cheers and happy gardening folks!!

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!!