Sunday, 27 July 2008

A perfect summer's weekend

This weekend was fantastically hot with some really heavy rain on Sunday morning which removed the need to do any watering. Actually the hot, wet conditions are making everything grow at an incredible rate, as you can see in the picture the squash plants, which are planted between the sweetcorn, have started there mission to cover the plot. Last year I grew 5 squash and pumpkin plants in the garden and spent most of the summer trying to keep them to the confines of the raised bed so this year I am going to leave them to their own devices as much as possible. So far there are about 4 visible fruits but it is fairly hard to identify the plant from the stem so I'm not sure if they are the Baby bear pumpkins or the Crown Prince squash.

After a few close encounters with a pair of pheasants it occurred to me that I would have to net the raspberries if I actually wanted to eat any of them. Thanks to Wilko and a few garden canes I now have a temporary fruit cage, visible in the pic behind the sweetpeas, this should keep the birds out until fruiting finishes and then I have great plans for a real fruit cage... Also of note this week I ate the first 2 raspberries! I am now anxiously awaiting a real crop.

It has been a while since there was a full plot pic so I thought I would finish this post off with one. As you can see it is still fairly weedy but not as bad as in previous months. On the bottom left you can see the asparagus which is growing well, behind that is the netted raspberries followed by the sweatpeas and runner beans. Just beyond the oil drum there are the potatoes and also my new tarp (hopefully that will stop the nettles), and right at the back is the sweetcorn (visible only to those of you with good eyesight).

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Modest? Moi?

The weeds are taking over the allotment and I am spending hours cutting them down to keep the grumpy neighbour happy but it has occurred to me that my planting plan for this year was far too modest. Last year I had just 4 raised beds in the garden and they were rammed full for most of the year, this year I have the same beds plus the allotment and I only growing slightly more. In fact I am struggling to keep the raised beds full, let along get the allotment planted up.

More poor planning on my behalf means there is very little to harvest at the moment, most the salad has bolted and successional sowings have failed to produce anything worthwhile, the potatoes are doing fantastically well but the peas have yet to pod and I was very late with my runner beans so they are still playing catch-up. Next year I intend to fill up the allotment and my stomach with lots more fruit, early raspberries are high on the list, along with a few more varieties of peas and beans, loads more carrots and more winter veg.

In the meantime I have just sowed some more cabbage, beetroot, lettuce and some very late carrots to hopefully fill things out a bit.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Sweetcorn update

The sweetcorn I planted out in May is doing amazingly well, due to the plot being flat and exposed I was worried they might be damaged by the wind so staked them but after just a few weeks they were strong enough to support themselves. Yesterday I went down and saw that several of the bigger plants are already forming cobs! I have 16 plants growing so if the sun continues it looks like I could be in for a bit of a glut, not bad considering these are from my 10p seeds!

Elsewhere the tomatoes are forming at amazing speed, I am having to nip out the side-shoots every couple of days. I think I was looking in the wrong direction and have missed a few which are now whole new branches, so I have left them, hopefully they won't shade the tomatoes too much.

Potatoes are cropping well, we got another bag of Charlottes and there is still a row and a half of plants left to dig. I'm not sure how the maincrops are getting on, they are in flower but I had a gentle feel under them and couldn't find any potatoes, I guess it is a wait and see situation. No sign of any blight yet which is very good news.