Monday, July 14, 2008

Early summer 2008

Greenhouse:

The Builder has now almost finished glazing the greenhouse in the kitchen garden. He stopped only because he’s run out of glass and bits. He’s ordered some new pieces of Perspex (rather than glass) and more clips. He thinks that the reason the panes kept blowing out when Clarissa and Mike had it was because the workmen who erected it didn’t put enough glazing clips in. Two on each side, he thinks, are not enough to hold in a wind. He thought that three probably would hold but, just to be on the safe side, he’s put four. (Our garden can be Very Windy Indeed down a the bottom, when it is minded!)

We have bought a kiwi fruit vine to put in the greenhouse when it is finished. I was quite surprised to find them in the garden centre but am more than happy to have one. The Builder is going to put up a trellis for it to grow along. In the meantime, I have put the potato barrel in there, where it is properly glazed. I bought five seed potatoes for Christmas purposes. They were quite big so I’ve cut them in half and put the first lot in the barrel about half way up. As they grow, I’ll fill the barrel with more growing compost and plant the other half about three quarters of the way up. With luck, we’ll have fresh new potatoes for Christmas.

Kitchen Garden:

We have finished the peas in the first pea bed. The Builder has now dug that over. We’re going to scatter manure over it and then plant the pak choi and wong bok there. I’ve also started pulling out the broad beans in the first broad bean bed. I’m having to be careful, though. I put the last of the seeds in there to fill the gaps from the patchy autumn germination. Wouldn’t do to pull the new plants out.

The second lot of brassica plugs finally arrived. I’ve planted them between the broad beans along the fence, and between the long rows of peas and amongst the runner beans in the runner bean bed. They seem to be settling ok. We’ve got 15 each of Tundra savoy cabbage, Marcher cauliflower, Revenge Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli.

The zucchini plants are growing well. The pumpkins are also growing well. The cucumbers are trundling slowly along. But the melon plant is seriously sulking. I don’t know why. The melon plants o the allotment are sulking too, but not as loudly. I suppose it might be the seedlings rather than the conditions. Next year I want to see if we can grow miniature watermelons!

The amaranth and asparagus sees that I threw into a couple of spare bits of ground a few weeks ago have finally germinated.

We are eating peas, broad beans, carrots, a few courgettes and a couple of the Veronica broccoli while they were very tiny. They’re growing apace now and will be ready for eating as proper vegetables in a few weeks. Everything seems to be doing quite well and to have very much enjoyed the rain and sunshine of last week.

Orchard:

We are doing remarkably well for fruit. I am absolutely over run with strawberries – if there is only one member of the household who can eat strawberries, then a bumper year is a bit of a struggle! I’ve been giving them away by the punnet load! Alas, I don’t much like strawberry jam, I’m not hugely fussed by strawberry ice cream and I never make strawberry sauces, because The Builder can’t eat them. I shall just continue giving away what I can’t eat, I think. Maybe I should have a cull!

The gooseberry bushes have done quite well, given that they’re only small. We’re doing well for raspberries and cherries as well, though the morello cherry hasn’t been all that productive. There are apples on two of the apple trees and, I think, two plums on the plum tree! I’ve picked all the gooseberries and popped them in the freezer. Oh – and there are two new tayberry canes growing where The Builder dug up the tayberry last autumn. We’ll dig them up this autumn and move them over to the “fruit fence”.

Flower Garden:

Is verdant, over grown and in dire need of weeding – largely because of the extensive wheat crop that’s growing everywhere. Although, bearing in mind the doomsday predictions about the fate of commercially grown wheat – maybe we should encourage it?

Allotment:

We’ve now dug up the last of the ambos and Colin has given us a half trug load of rocket potatoes to try. They’re a first early too. Very nice, but I think I’ll stick with the ambos, which this year have been a huge success. Not a slug-bite or wireworm trace in any of them. I think that this week we might dig up the next lot (Arran Pilot). They’re beginning to go a bit yellow, and the conditions at the moment are perfect for potato blight. I really don’t want all the potatoes blight-struck. I especially do not want the tomatoes struck. Must get some more of that copper stuff to spray the tomatoes.

The Builder has dug the red onions I planted last autumn. It was more or less time, although we haven’t yet dug the white ones. But he did it yesterday because the red ones were beginning to rot. Colin says mildew. That would be an improvement on onion rot, which would be an unfortunate thing to find on the allotment. I am going to pull the garlic too. It’s beginning to die back. I suspect the onions have not much enjoyed the dry spring followed by the damp early summer. The spring planted plants seem quite chipper. So far.

The peas and the beans are doing well, as far as I can see. The soya bean seedlings I planted out last week have settled in and are beginning to grow nicely. I am hoping to get some fresh soya beans this year.

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