Three whole days of sunshine over a bank holiday? I’ll take that thanks very much! It felt like we were back in winter last week, I had to heat my office on Friday (despite wearing a jumper), and then the most glorious weekend. Not hot, just perfect.
As suspected, in my absence the plot had been generally taken over by grass and weeds, and was in desperate need of weeding from top to bottom. But after a few hours of grafting with me working the top half (the better half, it has to be said) and my other half working the bottom half, we soon had nature firmly back under control.
At the bottom of the above picture is the autumn planted garlic (Provence Wight), which has been given a top dressing of grass clippings as a mulch. The very tips of the leaves are starting to yellow, but that’s pretty normal by this time of year, they should be ready to harvest in 4 or 5 weeks time, depending on the weather. So far, no rust which is good, maybe the longer winter was good for something!
Fifteen tomato plants (Tamina) have been planted out (five little tripods of canes for support to tie them to as they grow). Fingers crossed I don’t get blight this year. Under the plastic cloches (top of picture) are 2 courgette plants, one green and one yellow variety. The sweetcorn will be planted in a square block formation just above them. I also planted out my sweet peas along the sunny side of my A frame of bamboo canes. The climbing french beans will go along the other side once they’re big enough.
Broad beans, beetroot and spring onions are all growing well, as are the carrots (under the fleece tunnel) and parsnips. All of which have been weeded (mainly by hand to get in between the seedlings) and the root crops thinned. A back breaking, pain staking , fiddly job, but worth it.
And this is how the bottom half is looking so far. More garlic (spring planted, forget the variety) and onions (a mixture of different varieties and colours).
My first early potatoes, Winston, coming through a bit patchy, but never mind.
The raspberries have been put back in their place, after creeping out on either side. It’s incredible just how far the stems will travel underground.
And the rest is still to be dug over. This will eventually be beds for leeks, broccoli and squashes, probably in that order. I also have 7 spare tomato plants which I’ll add down the far end if space allows, and maybe a row of spinach.
At the very bottom of the plot (after 4 rows of maincrop potatoes) are the strawberries and fruit trees and bushes. The strawberries have been covered up to protect them from birds, and I’ve also given each plant a little mulch of a product called ‘Slug Gone’ wool pellets. The trouble with the black weed fabric is that the slugs love to hide just under it, where they sit just waiting for my lovely strawberries to fatten and ripen. It means they are perfectly placed to nip out for a tasty meal at just the right moment without having to travel far, and the birds can’t get to them either, perfect. I’m dubious whether these wool pellets will help, we’ll see.
And finally, tiny plums on my plum tree. I’m so happy. There aren’t many, but I’ll take what I can get! That’s the very nature of growing your own. Don’t worry about what fails, just be very grateful and glad for what you do get, and try again next year with a bit more wisdom under your belt.