Monday, 27 May 2019

Two Out of Three Aint Bad

I don't always view the world through rose-tinted spectacles, but they do make the clouds look amazing.
This 3-day weekend has brought us some pretty good weather, very hot when the clouds moved aside - a bit hot for digging yesterday but today it was cooler with a strong wind. Finally another section of Plot7 is cleared, but look how dry it is. The threatened rain still isn't reaching Marsh Lane.
We've dug a trench for beans on Plot7 - I've sowed Gigantes (which seem to be like butter beans - to be eaten when the pods go brown) into pots in the polytunnel. And we'll also have Yard Long beans on that section. Jamie prepared a spot for our HAHA competition sunflowers there too - the trenches have some of our lovely home-made compost in them.
Behind the wheelbarrow in that photo is a curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) - I love the smell, we just occasionally get a whiff as we're walking by or working on the plot. It's not edible.
Jamie sowed our carrots - under the enviromesh - Eskimo and Early Nantes 5. And also a row of Albion parsnips; it would be nice to have a home-grown parsnip as we missed out last year.
The radish, spring onion and beetroot are growing quite happily in the small raised bed, now that I've covered them to stop the birds pecking at them. We have plenty more seeds in the polytunnel now too. Our Benchmaster Runners will go on Plot3 and they, along with Pickwick dwarf runners, have mostly germinated, along with kale, purple sprouting broccoli and chard.
The HAHA Plant Sale is on June 8th and after that we'll have room to set up our tomato plants and peppers in their grow bags. That empty hanging basket is going to have a tomato plant in it - a freebie from Wyvale Garden Centre.
The Wilko irises are looking lovely, especially when the sun shines on them.
And the one remaining quarter of Plot 7 is looking lovely but those poppies really do have to go! I need to plant sweetcorn there...
The Californian poppies are so beautiful though.
I've been disappointed to see that our shallots are producing flower heads - I snip them off as soon as I see them, but they'll stop the bulbs growing to their full potential. The same is true of garlic, but not so concerning - I may try eating the scapes - they're meant to be a delicacy. Apparently when they straighten out and grow upright, the garlic is ready to pick - I'll probably just rely on the leaves going brown as I normally do..
And the song title... well, there are three frogs in our pond! Two little ones and the big one, but I've not seen all three together yet.
 Meatloaf provides the video.. Oh, and today I took home my first harvest of salad leaves for my lunch - hooray, so it begins. Not only living on rhubarb :-)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Beautiful Ones

Our first poppy of the year has flowered - so intricate in close-up, but they also look good from a distance. We're expecting to have a mass of these quite soon as they are one of plants that has self-seeded rather madly.

And look who we saw in the pond at the weekend - a lovely little frog! I wonder if it's one of our tadpoles from last year.
And then, yesterday, we saw this big fella in there - the monster from the deep!!
We achieved quite a lot last weekend with two visits to the plot. We potted on all the begonias, grown from mini-plugs - thank goodness they're out of the flat at last! I planted out my mangetout, from their drainpipe - their roots had formed a thick mat so I could just slide the whole row out in one go.
We sowed some seeds... some in pots and others in the raised bed. The radish are up just 4 days later. I've had to net them because a big crow stomps round our plot and has pulled some other seedlings out.
We planted the last of our potatoes in bags - Dido, Estima, Foremost and Erika. We did a lot of weeding so Plot8 and Plot3 are looking a bit better.
The self-seeded nigella is everywhere, but so pretty that I'm leaving it to flower and will remove the plants before they spread another load of seeds.
The raspberry, which has done nothing for two years, actually has flowers on it this year. It's in a pot and the bees love it at the moment. It seems that heeding the instructions and severely cutting it back each year wasn't what it wanted after all.
Some things just seem to do better when left to their own devices. Look at this lovely Iris bud.
We have some (currently) healthy-looking broad beans - these are the over-Wintered plants which were severely snow-damaged, but it looks like we should get a couple of meals, if the blackfly steer clear for a bit longer...
I'm happy to say that last week one of my posts got a mention in the Thompson & Morgan Vegetarian Week 'Plot to Plate' post - the other recipes definitely provide some inspiration when we finally start harvesting...

We've had no rain to speak of, though it's been forecast, so we've been watering plenty and the warm days are encouraging plenty of growth - it's all looking rather beautiful, in some spots, hence the title, by Suede!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Eighth Day

I've been on leave for a week, we've been busy with other things but have also had time on the plot and achieved some stuff, though there's still plenty to do. We still have a few potatoes chitting at home - they're going into bags on the plot, at some point...Looks like an alien with his hands up "I come in peace".
We've had sunshine with some rain and the nights have threatened frost and also reached -1° so we've been fleecing and de-fleecing most mornings and evenings.We have plenty of weeds growing but have cleared areas and taken bagfuls home for the green bin.
But flowers are providing lovely bright spots. We have way too many of these Californian poppies, but they're so beautiful!
And the chives are all flowering so the bees are very happy.
We've potted on all the french marigolds and also some supervivum (houseleek) for the plant sale.
We've braved putting them outside under netting but we are fleecing them overnight if a frost is threatened - it's easier to deal with than in the greenhouse though and they need to toughen up...
The strawberries have so many flowers and tiny fruits forming that we don't want to risk them so they're fleeced each night too. So far they've kept their yellow centres so the frost hasn't got these..
But as well as protecting things and weeding we've been planting - broad beans are in...
Salad is planted in the raised bed with the onions.
And today I planted up a smaller raised bed with Boltardy beetroot, Red and White Salad Onions and Purple and Pink Asian radish. I spent some time yesterday digging out the masses of weeds in that part of the plot. I dug out another part of Plot7 on Bank Holiday Monday - here's a timelapse... you can see why it takes me a long time to dig... apart from having to pick roots (from the hedge) from almost every spadeful it does appear that I do quite a lot of chatting :-)
While I was doing that, Jamie was clearing a large area of Plot 3 and dug the runner bean trench.
It's nice that we're beginning to see areas which are free of weeds. And the beans are planted into pots in the greenhouse - Benchmaster and I have some Pickwick dwarf runner beans that another plotholder gave me.
Our rhubarb is growing monstrous and we've not eaten much of it yet, but did give some to a friend at work to make some rhubarb gin...
We had some torrential rain but no thunder. Anyway that sums up our last week and a bit, and so Hazel O'Connor provides the title track (it should be 9 days, but well, you know..!)