New beginnings

first potato shoot

Things have finally started appearing on the plot. About time too.

The first early potatoes have started to come through.

carrot seedlings parsnip seedlings

Both the carrots and parsnips have germinated okay. I might actually get a fair crop of both for the first time. I usually get given one or the other by mother nature, but rarely both.

broad bean

The broad beans are very late starting this year, but hey, better late than never. After a couple of very harsh winters, I gave up sowing them in the autumn for an early start. But those who did the autumn sow last year are now being rewarded with flowering plants. Typical. I did attempt to start some in my cold frame, but I only succeeded in providing a tasty meal to a happy slug. At least I hope he was happy! I see the leaves are getting nibbled by the weevils already, I’m debating buying a biological control for them.

beetroot seedling

And finally the beetroot – alongside uninvited guest weed. I didn’t have much luck with the beetroot either last year (as well as carrots). I’m not sure why. Too wet maybe? A late cold snap in Spring? Pushed out by the mammoth parsnips next door? Quite possibly a combination of these. So I’m very glad to see these little fellows. They do well in a drought apparently, so I won’t water them, I don’t want oversized beets anyway, I’ll keep them well weeded and look for signs of wilting if it gets very hot, but my limited water supply will be better used elsewhere.

I also never bother to water carrots or parsnips for that matter. I water in the seed to start with, but then leave them to adapt to the conditions. They say that if you start watering, you have to keep on watering, as the plants come to rely on it. Though there are some plants that really do need it – legumes (beans and peas), sweetcorn, tomatoes, and cucurbits (squashes, cucumbers and courgettes). They are basically made of water. Some would argue the potatoes too, but I don’t and have had good harvests. Maybe not huge baking spuds, and maybe not as many as if you’d watered, but a fair enough harvest. We don’t have a standpipe available to us, so we only have rainwater collected in the butts, and it has to be used sparingly.

Bean poles

The bean poles are all in place ready and waiting for the beans, which I sowed a couple of weeks ago. But so far, no show, and I’m a bit worried they’re not going to. In which case, I’ll be using my local market plant stall to buy whatever I can get. It’s a bit frustrating as there are varieties which I love, and have been growing for the last few years, but hey it happens, and maybe it’s time to try something new. Silver linings etc.

Off to the lovely rainy Lake District next week.


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