Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Meet Brian!

We have a new helper on the farm, a rather snazzy dresser he is too, meet Brian.... we've been meaning to make a scarecrow for the last couple of years and have finally managed it, thanks to some free straw we got on freecycle.

Things are starting to look good on the plot now, we aren't picking much variety wise but things are looking good for a couple of weeks time.

So here's the latest update.

Bed 1:
On the left the sweetcorn are doing well and are about 18 inches high now. They all survived the transplant. I lost a blue pumpkin to the wind but had a replacement, it and the orange Halloween pumpkin are doing ok and slowly starting to spread. Same for the spaghetti and butternut squash.

On the right Brian is guarding my marrows and 4 courgettes. One courgette didn't look great after bring potted out but after a feed is starting to pick up. The cucumbers are nearly big enough to go in.

Bed 2:
At the back the 6 tomato plants are looking nice, they have some good solid stakes to support them. After all the rain I am just hoping the breeze and lower temperatures are keeping the blight at bay.
Also in here are 3 more courgettes and a line of lettuces I should be able to start picking soon. I lost a lettuce to something but I'm not exactly short at the moment so not too worried.

In the front I'm planning to give the asparagus another week or so before I let it grow out for the season, Its done well and has paid for the plot again this year (£32). All 4 crowns I put in last year have come up as well which I wasn't expecting. I'm cutting the salad bowl and lolo rosso leaves as I need them and they make a lovely salad. I have a second sowing of radish in here, the pigeons are finally leaving the beetroot alone and the multi tiered lettuce I plan to give away as growing salad are doing well. Spring onions however are eluding me again, well certainly in this bed.

Bed 3:
In the back are my second early Shetland Black spuds, and something is going wrong. The tops are dying off before they flower and some of the stalks can be pulled out of the ground. I had a dig around one of the plants but apart from red ants can't find anything wrong. It's not blight, doesn't look like blackleg and I can't find any cut worm. There are spuds there and cutting one open revealed it is small but healthy. I'm going to leave them and see what happens.The Oca are looking good and I've got more lettuces and radishes around them to use up the space.

At the front the parsnips still have bare patches but I've used all seeds trying to fill the gaps so they will have to take their chances. The Malbec carrots are looking a bit pale and the tops are wilted. They probably just need a feed but they could be a bit wet, which makes a high nitrogen liquid feed a bit risky.  The resistafly are looking good though. The main onions are starting to swell nicely, some of tops are a little bent from being under the tunnel but they don't seem to mind. The pickling onions are doing well and I've put out the leeks, all of which of survived.

Bed 4:
The arran pilots are flowering and the rain has really made them put on a spurt, I'm looking forward to those and will dig a plant as a trial next week. The Oca look good again, and there are yet more lettuces, a variety called amaze, a purple tipped little gem which I'm told are very nice.

In the front the brassicas are very good this year with no bug issues so far. The kohl robi are being cut now in the main cage to give the sprouts, kale and broccoli more room. It's the first I've grown kohl robi and it turns out they are lovely in a salad. In the cabbage cage the summer cabbages are starting heart up nicely. The winter ones look ok so far, they will get some more room once the summer ones are out.

Bed 5:
In the pea cage things are really starting to move. The Oregon are flowering and both varieties have needed tying back with string before they get tangled., and also so I can get to the beetroot at the back which are nearly ready. The broads have had very little black fly, partly helped by the bug gun, and should be ready for picking next week.

In the bean bed all varieties are doing well, some were nibbled but have recovered nicely, I'll be tying them to the poles and string soon. The lettuces around them look nice now and keep the weeds done.

Fruit Bed:
There's still a bit of work to  do here. I've netted the strawberry's so I'm finally getting more than the birds. A spare courgette has been plonked in here just to use the space.

I skip dived another load of decking wood to do the bed edges and I'll get round to it soon then build my raised strawberry section.

Happy gardening folks!!


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!!