Sunday, 25 July 2010

The first cucumbers

The hot weather has made germination very difficult so despite the plot being much clearer than in previous years I have far fewer crops growing. It looks like I'm going to have to try again and then keep my fingers crossed if I'm going to see any swede, pak choi or endive this year.

I have lots of healthy plants sitting in pots at home but it seems to shock them when they get planted out at the allotment; I think it must be the increased heat and strong wind which causes the problems. The courgettes have finally found their feet, hopefully I'll be picking my first 'Black Beauty' next weekend and the squash are starting to stretch out and produce flowers, maybe they'll decide to take on the weedy patch which is growing next to them and save me a job. 8 of the aubergine plants are planted out and I have another 6 waiting at home, this is my first year of growing aubergines so I'm not sure how this is going to turn out but it feels like I'm running very late!

On the plus side the cucumbers are making up for everything! This is a new one for me but my four 'Wautoma' plants are all growing very happily and today I picked my first two cucumbers, I think they'll join the 'Reine des Glaces' lettuce to make a homegrown salad; I just wish there were some tomatoes to join it! Interestingly the plant I kept in the cold frame the longest and which got planted out last has produced the first fruits so it just goes to show that you should wait until the plants are ready and the conditions are good before planting out.

Now that we are almost at August it's time to start thinking about winter crops, I'm going to sow some more cabbages and lots more kale ready to plant out in a couple of months, if you're very lucky late sowings will miss the cabbage whites whilst still having enough warm weather to establish before winter really sets in.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Journeys, fruit and the first potatoes

The last few weeks have been very hectic; we have spent 2 weekends away visiting friends and family, I have been training for and then running in several races and then the rest of the time I have been flopped from the heat! Luckily I have managed to fit in a few morning visits to the allotment to keep things ticking along.

This year there has been a bumper crop of berries, first with the strawberries and now with the raspberries. Today I picked the first of the gooseberries, hopefully the rest will be ready soon, and also a glut of blackcurrants from just from 1 shrub. Strangely I have some raspberries growing under the apple tree and about 4 metres away from the actual raspberry bed, I have no idea how they got there but they seem happy enough and are fruiting already; I just wish I had cut the nettles back before I started picking the fruits!

The potatoes are flowering which is a relief after the poor chitting and then the late frosts, we enjoyed a few of the Charlottes last night but they were a little small. The peas were delicious but a little sparse and are already nearing their end; I grew Karina with were very early and then 2nd Early which did lengthen the picking season a little but from reading your blogs it seems this just wasn't the year of the pea.

I have followed Toby Buckland's advice regarding sweetcorn and them into modules a month apart, sadly the 2nd batch were planted out just as the weather started to get really hot but also when there was a very cold wind so they decided to give up the ghost. The first batch are now about a foot tall and look very sturdy, and I actually have quite a few plants anyway because Toby also said that sweetcorn is quite happy growing close together so you can sow 2 seeds to a module, I hope he's right.