Monday, 26 May 2014

Garden Connect update.

The days are starting to get warmer, but with that (and a little rain), the weeds are all over the place. Turn your back for a moment and they are everywhere. So on Sunday, with it being a dry day, I spent the day weeding. An ideal time to give a little update on what is and isn't happening in the 'Garden Connect' bed.

Only one kale plant, but doing well.

Lemon cucumber has lasted a whole week at the allotment

Another nasturtium has come up

Golden sunrise tomatoes. Sorry, I've cheated a bit

The parsnips are going crazy

Spinach big and really small

Just one lettuce at the moment even though keep sowing more seeds

I'm finally getting some purple carrots

No worries with the onions

And finally, just two beetroots

You will notice that there are no french beans or sweet peppers. The French beans just don't seem to be growing, it doesn't matter what I do. The sweet peppers aren't quite ready to be planted out yet. I have taken no chances as regards the slugs, I have dotted the whole plot, not just the 'Garden Connect' bed. As a result, the courgettes are settling in, I have a row of carrots and beetroots which need to thin out, a row of leeks well established and strawberries are on their way.

This one's about the size of a ping pong ball 

I did clear most of the weeds on the plot and after four or five hours in the sunshine I also got a bit of sunburn on my arms. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

A bad and good day.

I have to start with an apology. It is all regarding my paper pots. I've just planted out my sweet corn sown in paper pots. It didn't quite work as well as it had for me in the past, and for this reason I have deleted the 'Paper pots' blog post. I have either missed something out in making them or I got lucky in the past. I do hope that if anyone has tried my method, they have better luck than I have. I am truly sorry.

So, bad day and good day. The bad day started of with the paper pot disaster. Not only did the paper pots not come out as they had done in the past, basically they didn't want to come out and when they finally did, it practically fell to bits, but also walking round to the allotment with a tray of seedlings, the little bit of wind we have had today bent the stems. But I carried on regardless. I don't hold out much hope for sweet corn this year what with the roots having been disturbed, I will just have to wait and see.

Now for a bit of good news, the courgette that was eaten by slugs two weeks ago has sprung back to life. Not only that, but another courgette seeds has popped up in the greenhouse and thinking that the first one was long gone, I took it with me to plant out. I also have some globe courgette coming up. I think I need to find some room for it all.

Now this may not really look like much but if you look closer, I have for the first time a proper row of carrots. You can also see a few slug trails, but these are the trails of dying slugs all thanks to the slug pellets. I think I counted about twenty dead slugs.

A mixture of good and bad regarding the lemon cucumber, the good is after I removed the slug eaten seedlings a few weeks ago, I resown some more which when I checked them earlier in the week where coming along fine. However, when I checked them this morning, yes you've guessed it, another slug had found its way in and started to eat the new seedlings. I caught him in the act and he didn't get to finish.

Things should be growing faster now that it is getting warmer and I'm looking forward to bringing some veg home soon. But until then, till next time and thanks for reading.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Bloody slugs.

I wanted to write a more strongly worded title, but that would have put my blog in a  more, 'Warning, Adult Content' category, due to the profanity I would like to use toward this pest.

Lemon cucumbers all gone.

On Friday there was a break in the weather and I went to look at what was happening in the greenhouse. The sweet corn are coming up nicely, at the second attempt, the Brussel sprouts have finally germinated and I have more cucumber seedling than I will have room for. All seems to be well in my growing world, I just needed to check the propergator where I have my lemon cucumbers. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, all 24 seedlings have been eaten, some, below soil level. I was a bit angry to say the least. It's not like I can nip down to the local shops to buy more of these seeds. I set about looking for the culprit, not holding out much hope, but there, in the lip of the propergator lid was the little bugger, snoozing after his hearty meal. His execution was swift and painless. I still have seedlings growing fit and well, and more seeds to sow.

What's left of the courgette.

They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place and that is very true. You see, it struck at the allotment. Last week I planted out a marrow, pumpkin and courgette. I took the procourtion to cover them with a cloche. That was no deterrent to a slug. I wouldn't have minded so much, but not only am I trying out an experiment with the courgettes, it was also the only one that grew out of the whole packet of seeds. I suppose as luck would have it, in the gardening magazine I buy, a packet of courgette seeds came as a freebie along with some others. They are the globe variety, Tondo di Piacenza, so it will be interesting to see what I get, if anything. I just have to make sure I have slug pellets at the ready.

Potatoes looking better.

It wasn't all bad news this week. Only a bit of weeding needed to be done. The potatoes have recovered from their touch of frost, the parsnips are soldiering on, as to are the onions and I am pretty sure I have some leeks coming along. Either that or some blades of grass growing right where I planted the leeks. I've also sown a row of swede today.

The poly tunnel I found a few weeks ago has been torn to ribbons this week, so I've put some netting over my 'Garden Connect' bed. Not much to report on this side of things this week. I was talking to a fellow 'Garden Connect' buddy, Suffikboi, this week regarding the lemon cucumber. We have put in a lot of effort so far sourcing them, sowing and generally looking after them as best we can. But what if we don't like the taste? He has tasted them and liked it. I'll just have to wait and see for myself. If not as he said, they could make unusual gifts. I could always put a slice in a Gin & Tonic. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Monday, 5 May 2014

All part of the learning process.

Who would have thought that I would encounter two different problems at opposite ends of scale. Let me elaborate. We have had unseasonally frosty nights lately which has affected the potatoes, but also during the day the sun has been out which has turned most of the peas to mush before the have germinated.

Caught by the frost

Mushy peas

Regarding the potatoes, I was told by a friend that if I cut off the frost affected leaves, the rest of the potato plant should be OK. They even gave me a pair of scissors, which was rather kind of them. As for the peas, with me using a sheet of perspex on top of the bin acting as a greenhouse, they have been cooked. It turns out that peas don't mind a bit of cold. So off with the perspex and on with the twigs to protect what has germinated from the birds. I have put some more peas in to fill in the gaps.

Sorry about the finger in this photo

A few members of the squash family were planted today, one courgette, one pumpkin and one marrow. The courgette was planted in a pit that I'd put kitchen scraps in. Courgettes are supposed to be greedy plants and just rotting waste is what they like. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. I've also resown a row of beetroots and I've put in a row of carrots. For the first time on my plot since I've had it, I've put down slug pellets. They have been put around the strawberry patch, brassicas bed, newly sown beetroot and carrots, and also around my Garden Connect bed.

Garden Connect

I haven't mentioned anything to do with Garden Connect for a while and I'm living up to my title. There are 'Downs' and 'Ups'. 

Of five seeds, just one has germinated.

Same story with the beetroots.

No worries with the onions.

I did have more lettuce seedlings growing, but the slugs got them.

Got one spinach doing ok.

As with the onions, the parsnips are fab.

The purple carrot seedlings have all disappeared, so they have been resown. At home, the French beans in the greenhouse haven't germinated, so I've tried them again. It's all part of the learning process. Till next time and thanks for reading.