Monthly Archives: May 2009

Blasted wind – again

Just when you think the weather is getting better – along comes another depression bringing wind and rain (starting yesterday). At least this time the wind is from the west so isn’t as cold, but nevertheless it’s not doing my beans any good. I’ve had to do more stringing to support the tall broad beans, and some of the french beans are being blown around so much I’ve considered staking them.  The only plus is the rain is saving me watering the plants outside.

So just when the tomatoes and courgettes etc. were thinking about getting a move on they are being held back again. We had temperatures of 24 degC on Monday and now it’s just about managing 10 degC – that’s British weather for you. It isn’t a surprise that the weather is such an important topic of conversation when you live through it…

Anyway, I’ve got the last courgette and cucumber into a growbag outside the greenhouse now, so that’s pretty much all the first lot of plants out now apart from one french bean.

Speaking of beans – the climbing beans are doing fairly well, but something has been giving their lower leaves a real going over – I suspect slugs but fortunately it isn’t too damaging to the plants as they are producing plenty of leaves further up.

Inside the greenhouse, the pots of basil are both showing seedlings now and it looks as if one pea is just appearing. I’ll have to get some more lettuce sown soon to make sure we have a continuous supply.

I forgot to mention that I’d planted some short rows of salad crops in section B, some rocket, lettuce and lambs lettuce so I’ll have to put some pigeon protection over them in the next few days before they start popping up. The sweetcorn close by are mostly thriving, apart from one which had been knocked over by something but I’ve staked it and it seems to be surviving.

Still, the weather is supposed to improve Friday and the weekend so we’ll see…

On the wildlife front – well too many pigeons attempting to infiltrate the garden but the CD scarers do seem to keep them away from the vital plants. No sign of the squirrel recently so I haven’t reset the trap yet. ‘Our’ male blackbird (or should it be ‘I am his human’ – it is his territory) is convinced that I am the source of food – whenever I work in the garden and move away from one area, he is down withing seconds to investigate the area I have just left – an takes little notice now if I walk near him. The blackbird chicks have fully fledged now (it looks as if only 2 survived) and still are hanging around annoying their parents and trying to be fed, though I suspect they will be encouraged to leave the area soon.

This is my 100th post (so the stats say)- amazing, and it’s proved useful to have the history of the last 3 years to look back on and check relative progress etc. So the discipline of blogging works for me as well as for my readers (over 20,000 views now).

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Some sunshine at last!

Yes the weather has finally relented and we have sunshine – well today at least. The forecast is ok for tomorrow but after that it looks like we might be back into showers.

Still the last couple of days have seen  some progress though. All the sweetcorn (24 plants) are planted out now – they are in the relatively shady area so we’ll see how they progress.

One row of broad beans is fully in flower now, and the second row just starting. The runner and climbing french beans are growing nicely – most of them are well up the mesh fence they are against. I’ve alos planted the french/dwarf beans between the flagstones. There are three more to put in as well – somewhere. The peas look fine – just starting to climb up the sticks.

The broccoli look a lot better now, and the curly kale seem fin also. The lettuce have started growing again now the weather has warmed up – soon will be ready for some harvesting. The rocket and mizumo are also nearly ready.

There are two courgettes and a cucumber plant planted outside – they seem to be fine. I’ve planted another cucumber plant into a pot (ex the currant bush that didn’t survive) and still have a courgette and cucumber to do something with…

The tomatos outside the greenhouse look fine, again looking better thanks to the warmer weather. The ones outside the kitchen are going to take a few days to pick up though. Two of them are quite weedy anyway (see below)….

Kitchen tomatoes

Kitchen tomatoes

Inside the greenhouse, it’s looking a bit emptier now – but I have filled some of the space up with a couple of pots of basil (just coming through now) and one of coriander. The lettuce left over from the tray full (the rest are planted out) and put in a pot are now big enough to be able to harvest. Today I put another 12 peas into pots ready to create a new row. The celery seedlings are coming on as well. There are now 4 pepper seedlings, but they won’t be ready to plant out for a couple of weeks though so may well not produce ripe peppers by the end of summer.

The tomatoes inside the greenhouse are already in bud and stand around 3ft (~ 1 metre) high (there are six of them).

On top of that I’ve cut a couple more sections of hedge (and with the scratches on my arms to prove it…)  However, there is, of course, more hedge to cut.

Just looking back at previous years, it looks like this year I’m a week or tow behind previous – and that we had poor weather for each May as well. So will things catch up – we have a predicted hot summer so maybe?

Just managed ahead of the rain

Well at last – again I just had the afternoon and I got changed – and amazingly it didn’t rain – so managed to cut hedges, and mow the lawn – then almost as if it knew the rain started. However, I did also manage to plant the tomatoes for under the kitchen window and another courgette. After that it absolutely chucked it down including hail for about 10 minutes – and I feared for the new plantings – but they seem to have survived.

Mind there is still more hedge to cut – and I’ve still got to get the first tray of sweetcorn to plant out, but the weather over the next few days doesn’t look too good…

The weather’s still messing me about

There I was getting changed ready to tackle the hedges, all keyed up after a fine morning and – well you can guess – it started to rain! and accompaanied by winds again. So I cleaned out the guinea pig instead.

Later, the weather did relent and I managed to plant the courgette, replace a broccoli plant that hadn’t made it (I blame the wind), and move a growbag to under the kitchen window ready for tomatos (which are already outside ‘acclimatised’).

beans_string2

Broad beans - plus supports

Just thought I’d put in a picture of the broad beans to show I’ve actually got the supports in. – the white bits are lumps of polystyren to stop me poking my eye out on the canes!

Needless to say it is sunny, calm and fine now – but I’ve got to go out…..

I bet it’s fine tomorrow – just because I’m probably going to be out most of the day – harumph, grumble, grumble.

Weather still crummy but managed to get things done

The weather is still showery and rather more anoyingly is windy which makes it a bit dicey planting things out. However, in a burst of activity at the weekend I managed to get the beans strung/supported and the peas sticks in. One row of beans are well in flower now and are obviously a dwarf variety but I can’t remember which….

Also, I planted out the curly kale, or at least most of them, in the location where the spinach should have come up. It was obvious that the spinach beet seedlings were being attacked, probably by pigeons, so another set  of CD bird scarers have been put in – as there are over the broccoli rows.

I’ve now put three tomatos are in a growbag outside the greenhouse – though the weather meant they didn’t look too happy for the first couple of days.

I’ve put one of the courgettes out ready for planting, but again wit the wind today it wouldn’t have been a good idea – looks better tomorrow. The others aren’t far behind either.

The sweetcorn are now just about big enough to start planting out. About four pepper seedlings are through now and the celery seedlings are looking good.

I planted some basil in large pots – which is where I intend them to stay for now.

Two or three tomato plants remain and they will go into a growbag for under the kitchen window.

The pressing demand now is to get the hedges cut though, not really sensible while it is windy and showery, and the grass needs growing – though again it will have to wait until there is some dry weather….

Meanwhile, putting out the squirrel trap the other day (yes another squirrel has moved in) just led to our hedgehog being trapped again (he? must really like peanuts) so I need to try another spot.

More is growing – weather variable

The last post got as far as a draft then never really finished off. I’ll try and precis what has happened and what the current situation is in this – I’ll add some photos if the weather allows it…

Well, speaking of the weather, we did have about a week or so of fairly good weather after the last post – and I did get more done, but the last week has been showery and for several days we had a cold east wind which didn’t help the garden much.

So what’s the situation you may ask? Starting with the crops already in:

The broad beans are coming up fine and in dire need of some support now. In one row there are several plants in flower, even though they aren’t very high yet.

The lettuce and other salad crops are growing – though the weather has slowed them down. Some carrots have appeared by the greenhouse and one of the two pak-choi seedlings has disappeared… The spare lettuce plants not planted out I’ve put into a large pot in the greenhouse as they will be producing leaves for use pretty soon.

I have plated out two rows of broccoli seedlings – they are still struggling to get going properly thanks to the weather and several plants looked pretty sick to start off with, but now look a bit better, though the picture below doesnt really illustrate this

broccoli1

Broccoli seedlings

When I finally took the cloche off what would have been a row of spinach & spinach beet only one set of seedling had appeared – the ? spinach beet ones. However, I have some  curly kale seedlings in the greenhouse to plant out in that area.

The peas as usual for me didn’t all come up – about half the ‘full’ peas and maybe two-thirds of the mangetout. Foreseeing htis I’d sown 8 mangetout peas in pots in the greenhous and I’ve planted those out in the gaps. All seem to be coming on ok.

Three climbing french beans are planted out now, and three runner beans are acclimatised outside ready to go in. The other plants in the greenhouse are ready to go outside as well.

Below you can see the broad beans – climbing beans are planted against the fence beyond then and the peas are this side of the beans.

Peas and Beans

Peas and Beans

The fruit bushes are mostly ok – though one of the blueberry bushes seems to have popped its clogs – all the leaves have dropped off. One of the currant bushes (beside the one that never started) looks unwell at the moment but might recover.

In the greenhouse:

Six tomato plants (mostly small olive type) are in growbags now and one growbag is ready outside for some more – I need to get a couple more soon.

tomatos_greenhouse1

Tomatos in greenhouse

The courgette and cucumber seedlings are almost big enough to go out – I’ve prepared some ‘pockets’ of compost and fertiliser ready for them to go in.

Almost all the sweetcorn seeds came up and will soon be ready to go out. The two that didn’t I planted new seeds to replace and they have just popped up.

Some celery seedlings have just appeared, and some peppers have just appeared at last –  bit late I fancy but we’ll see.

Some french bean seedlings are just about ready enough to go out as well.

I’ll sort out the names and add photos maybe tomorrow..

The weather is set to be variable for the next week – and the hedges now virtually all need cutting which is going to be tricky to fit in!

Some Seeds Growin’ and Some Aint

This post written 5th May – not finished

Well we’ve had mixed weather since the last blog – showery, some sun and a couple of days with pretty constant rain. ‘Good growing weather’ my grandad would have said.

It’s a mixed bag though in terms of what’s coming up and what’s not. The broad beasn are doing pretty well – some of them are in flower already. They are going to need the ususal supports of canes and string soon as well. The peas planted nearby though are another story, I’ve never had a really sucsessful planting of peas.  If you look back you’ll see that there were two varieties sown, half a row of each. The mangetout type has produced about half the expected plants, and the ‘full pea’ variety only two or three seedlings have appeared. Meanwhile anticipating this, I had planted a few mangetout in pots in the greenhouse – and all of those have just come up. Don’t ask me why the outside plantings are always so poor – I’ve no idea.

Close by the rows of rocket & mustard have come up nicely, but of the ‘lambs lettuce’ planted between there isn’t a sign…

Over to the area near the greenhouse – a row of pak-choi type lettuce has produced two seedlings – and spaced well apart – so I don’t have to thin them out!