June 2008


July 08

May 08


Friday June 6th
After discovering that the sciarid had eaten half of the bean seeds I sowed last month, and the other half had rotted, I decided to go for plan B with some new seed. This time I just sowed one lot of runners, two lots of dwarf French and one lot of sweetcorn onto damp kitchen paper and put them in sealed takeaway boxes. Ha.

Monday June 9th
Potted up a load of the white-seeded French bean which had already sprouted, and all of the sweetcorn.

Tuesday June 10th
Potted on the runner beans and the black-seeded French. We´re doing quite well with this lot. French beans outside so the sciarid can´t get at them. It´s warm enough! Took photos of the mad chillies. The one on the left with chillies on is the Jalapeño; the Cherry Bomb is hidden at the back but just visible through the leaves! We did try one of these at the green stage and it was pretty much the same as a green pepper. Hopefully it will heat up a bit.


Wednesday June 11th
Got baby to bed before 7pm and realised I could get to the allotment to try and get the second cabbage bed ready, as well as get some garlic. Was a bit dull out but not raining, and I figured I could get 2-3 beds back into production. Argh - the grass is above knee-high! I´m glad I´ve now got my strimmer fueled up, though since it was a late evening I couldn´t really use it today. Dug up a monster accidental garlic (mmmm) and several not-too-small-either ones which had grown in a whole-bulb clump. I was halfway along the cabbage bed, weeding out speedwell and bindweed, when the phone went. How does one stop a baby crying? *sigh* Told Sir I´d be back as soon as I´d got the cover supports up, finished weeding the bed and put up the water piping with canes to stop them collapsing. Ran, and finally worked out the baby was only thirsty, but by then it was too late to go back up. Next time it´s the cabbages and the strimmer.

Saturday June 14th

Miracle day! I got up to the plots TWICE!

First trip (During morning nap) was with strimmer. Decided I was going to clear most of the paths, but it was a long job and I was quite glad when 10am got close and I had to run off to feed the baby. Lots more to do, but at least it looks more presentable. No photos - it was that bad I´m embarrassed!

Second trip about 3pm. Went up with the red cabbages at last, and got them into their bed ok. Covered them over with the enviromesh and so there´s now 9 plants in there, in a staggered pattern to give them a bit more room. One of the reds is a bit small still (the last to germinate) and one cabbage is the rogue green that grew instead of the expected red. Be quite fun to see if I can work out what kind of green it is when it´s a bit bigger, though I suspect a January King given the leaf colours. That leaves me seven plants. They won´t get as huge as the monsters of a couple of years ago - by this time, those were already a good foot across, where my current seedlings are just 6". Not grumbling - I should get decent-sized ones without having to leave them in the ground to crack and get woodlice because of storage hassles at home (ie they wouldn´t fit in the freezer!!).
Dug up some more accidental garlics, so at some point when they´ve dried off a bit, I will be cleaning them up for storage. Still got a heck of a lot to go, and I had a look at the `deliberate´ garlic bed while I was at it. Help. The stems are HUGE - at least a couple of cm across, and still very green, so I await the harvest of the bulbs with trepidation and optimism! These are the Thermidromes from the Organic Garden Catalogue that did so well for Chris last year.
Then had to bite the bullet and start doing things to the beds. First of all the shallots. Half wish I´d taken before and after pics here, because they were choked by bindweed and a silly number of teasel seedlings. Bindweed was just pulled out at the base - I know it´ll come back but right now, the shallots are clear and I can get the bindweed as it appears which will hopefully be a simpler job. The rest of the weeds met my nice sharp hoe... so there are now piles of foliage dotted about the plot. Need to go up with plastic bags and take them to the dump, as there´s an unholy mix of bindweed and my old nemesis speedwell, which can grow from immature seed even after being pulled up. After dealing with that bed, hoed a couple of others too, and pulled as many weeds as I could off to the piles, leaving the rest to dry in the sun. I am pretty sure teasels don´t regrow, but if they do, they´ll meet the hoe again. Had a go at the runner bean bed too, which seems to be 90% pot marigolds. Hoed off a lot of the marigolds ruthlessly but there´s still enough to attract bees. Just need to get the plants growing - even the second batch of seed at home is struggling, with one having had its leaves chopped off. Suspect a slug in the conservatory! The potted French beans aren´t too great either, with half a dozen having been snailed so yet more to plant. Sweetcorn is now between 1 and 4" high so I´ll keep those at home in the warm a while longer, given the forecast is still nice but cold.
Now have room for more plants :-)
Next time - the leek bed. Currently smothered in weeds, some which can´t easily be hoed so will go after them with the hand fork. Realised the time at 5.18pm and dashed off home for bathtime!

Back at home, planted up a lot of old cucurbit seeds and a few new ones too. Hopefully some will grow. They do like it hot, so even if I´d managed to get sown a month ago, I suspect that they´d be stunted by the cold spell forecast for the rest of June (especially the butternuts), so I think they´ll catch up those which are already out and in the ground in other plots. They are currently in the heated prop too. No cold nights for them, yet!

Saturday June 28th
Yippee - managed to get up to the plots again. Went up at 1.15pm as it took an hour longer than usual for a small, perpetually nosy boy to drop off to sleep, leaving me just 45mins before the next feed. Argh. Was armed with the fork, and went up determined to at least dig up the accidental potatoes and the garlic. The potatoes were interspersed with a lot of seeding Swiss Chard, and so the pile of haulms grew quite rapidly. Lots of the potatoes were really really small, so I figure they'll go in a potato salad intact! Supermarkets are currently charging a fortune for so-called ‘miniature new potatoes' so I should be up a few quid here, more so because of the accidental nature! I am not sure what variety they are - most had pink eyes and a kidney shape. According to last year's diary, I planted Royal Kidney, Charlotte and Red Dukes in that particular bed, as well as two Highland Burgundy Red and two Salad Blue. I've already found the burgundy reds - thought they were Red Dukes and dug up one accordingly! But I'm now forewarned and so I shall leave those plants in to bulk up a bit. I noted that on the old ‘firebox' bed, I'd planted Anya at the far end, so I shall have to see if there's anything obviously sprouting. There are a few Sarpo: some Mira, some Axona, and I've no idea which is which! But once weeded, I should get a crop. I am leaving that lot... supposed to have beetroot in that bed, but so far nothing's grown despite me chucking a pile of old seed on it.  Chatted to Chris as I dug - so am caught up on what's been going on. Ground like rock, so I hope it rains again soon.

Wish I'd done the garlic last week - half the foliage has gone! Once it goes, it goes very quickly. Dug the bed roughly over, though I suspect yet again, some bulbs have been left. But despite the possibly missed bulbs, I've still got a carrier bag full! Also dug up a couple of the deliberate Thermidrome garlics - wow. I was expecting whoppers and I wasn't disappointed! They might be ok for the show...

The kicker which took me over my 45mins was the raspberries. Had quite a lot ready for picking (and a few that had already been pinched by birds) so zeroed in on those and picked a tubful. Got home at 2.20pm to find small boy had just woken up. Perfect timing!

Monday June 30th
Miracle - twice in one week. Admittedly I had asked Chris to phone me when she was up there and nag me to go up... Got little man to sleep at 8pm (an hour late yet again) and spent the next hour and a half weeding and getting the runner bean poles into position. So many pot marigolds in that bed! Scared myself at the number of weeds still, but there's a lot fewer in the potatoes. Sow thistles were having a field day. Not any more! Earthed the plants up a bit too, since I'd at last found where the swan-neck hoe was hiding. Cabbages are doing well, especially the minicoles as they've not been fleabeetled this year thanks to the Enviromesh. Least it meant that once I did get them planted, they didn't then get checked.

Next time - the leek bed, which is truly horrendous at the moment. And I really need to get my poor leeks in...



July 08

May 08