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!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Home Front

I managed to get the cage netting finished one chilly evening this week, I hate working with that stretchy green stuff, I can never get it quite straight and even, there was a lot of swearing, but apart from that its been a bit windy and cold for my liking on the plot. Fingers crossed I get to tackle the to do list down there this weekend.

At home though the window sills and mini green house are looking most productive.

The summer cabbages and kohl robi are doing very nicely, these will get planted out as soon as the brassica bed is uncovered and the small brassica frame has its lid made and netted. The winter cabbage, sprouts and kale have been potted on into some lighter compost and seem to be liking it, putting on a little growth spurt.

The onions are just starting to bulk up at the base, they have had a feed and put on a spurt too. These have to stay in the cells until June once the first allium leaf miners risk has passed. The Paris Silverskin are just starting to germinate on the bedroom window sill.

My Oca tubers are now poking through in their large pots on the windows sill. They were chitted first but seemed to be taking a while to come up, so I dug down and uncovered the tips of the chits just in case I had planted them too deep. There are signs of the first leaves just sprouting I will level the soil again once they get a bit bigger.

I put a couple of early tomatoes in as an experiment with the grow lights and they seem to be doing ok, I haven't really put them under the lights in the end but have just left them in the outside greenhouse, small but not getting leggy.

The leeks are still very small but they haven't been in long so I'll let them off.

Not everything has gone to plan. The sunflowers only managed a 50% germination rate and the pumpkin on a stick were a complete no show. I've planted some more of both in a different compost so fingers crossed.

The main tomato and sweetcorn  crop to plant this weekend!

Happy gardening folks!

Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Great Outdoors

After 2 weeks away it was nice to get down the farm for a couple of Saturdays and make a start.

First a little house keeping, trimming all the grass paths, which only took 20 mins thanks to the raised beds, rather than the usual 2 hours, topping up the bark on the cross paths and a bit of weeding. 

Next was to plant the potatoes, as the pic shows they had got a bit carried away in the chitting department this year. They were under my bed as per usual so no idea why they went quite so mad, maybe I'm going soft and had the heating on more this year.

So that's the Arran Pilot and Shetland Black planted out. As a little experiment I planted the Arran Pilot 6 in one row, 5 in the next and 4 in the final, just to see how yields are affected. 

We are expecting a couple of cold nights so they are well earthed up.

Next was to plant out the broad beans, they have been out in a cold frame so are nicely hardened off. The farm can be a bit windy so they have string supports, it also has  lot of pigeons so CD bird scarers and finally slugs, so slugs pellets. Not much more I can do, they are on their own now.

I've put in 2 rows of parsnips and 2 rows of carrots and covered them with cloches to keep the temperature up and also to stop the rain capping over the soil. After last year I'm hoping for more than 2 parsnips!

I've built a pea cage for this year, without it the pigeons will eat more than me. I find covering things with nets that need removing for weeding and harvesting a time consuming pain in the preverbal. This one is high enough for me to stand in and I should be able to get 2 rows in there nicely.

I ran out of staples to finish the netting but I wasn't planning to plant the peas until next weekend anyway as we are due 3 days of rain this week. It's in the diary for next weekend.

As the first Saturday was nice and sunny a quick beer on the plot was called for.

Happy gardening folks!!