JUNE 2010

21st June. Fine weather didn’t last. It’s been challenging to say the least over the past couple of weeks. However, returning from 24 hours away made me get down and sort things out in the polytunnel. Finally I’ve lifted nearly all the spinach which is 4ft tall yet not running to seed, just producing smaller and smaller leaves. And the last of the pak choi. Only 1 BIG lettuce left (though the pot lettuces continue to provide daily salads) I’m a few weeks away from getting the next lot of pak choi and spinach ready for eating – impossible to predict successional sowing in such varient weather conditions. However, we are eating brocolli and cabbage leaves as spring greens and the flowers of the courgette plants are coming on. The suger snap peas are ripening nicely, a smattering in a salad every other day or so. The asparagus peas are showing red flowers but little sign of actual PEAS.  The beans both inside and out are still slow, I’m starting to feed them more often. The tomato plants have just started to set and I’m feeding them now too AND I PRICKED OUT THE SIDE SHOOTS for the first time in my life I’m determined to treat my tomato plants PROPERLY and see if it pays off.  The courgettes are about a week away from making a meal’s worth I reckon. I’ve planted a few more chinese leaves out and am on the second lot of mizuma. Rocket and radishes had the same successional vaguaries fate as the salad crop, but some will be ready soon.  There’s PLENTY to eat every day, it’s just that you there’s not always the variety one would like, more like themed weeks.  But since I’m only growing stuff I like (apart from the brussel sprouts which are receiving no attention at all!) it doesn’t matter that much.  There’s a certain amount of slug damage and I had to resort to slug pellets when the eggshells ran out, but there’s still plenty of leavage for us to eat and not too many young seedlings have been damaged.  The broccoli has lots of prolific leaves but no real heads, similarly with the cauliflowers. 

Outside buttercups have taken over most of the garden areas.  The potatoes seem to be coming on okay – not as much rain as last year so hopefully they’ll fare better.  The raised bed crops are doing okay but much slower than the polytunnel – so this attempt at successional may work – they should be ready once the indoor brassicas have finished. 

The onions and garlic don’t look too great but they’ve had wind, stampeding dogs and falling netting to deal with so  I don’t really expect too much. But they don’t even tempt me into using as spring onions at the moment. Maybe in a couple of weeks time.

There’s not been enough of a summer for the outdoor plants to really recover. Bamboos still looking weak despite regular nettle juice feeding. Magnolia, biloba have leaves but not much else. The orchard had blossom but it seemed to be before the bees came out so I’m not sure w’ll actually get a crop off any of the trees this year -certainly I can’t see even the smallest of fruits on them yet.  The perils of having NO SPRING followed by NO SUMMER even up to the end of June. I can’t blame any of the plants because I haven’t wanted to be outside in this weather. They promise us better weather in the coming week and the rest of the country seems to be basking in sunshine but we are condemned to loads of clouds, persistent drizzle when its humid and gale force winds when it’s not. Not encouraging for growing things really. We’d certainly be lost without the polytunnel – at least with it we can have 2 vegetable based meals a day every day.

3rd June. Some fine weather at last. And long hours of sunlight (up to 21 hours) means that things are really starting to grow.  The polytunnel is full. I just have to plant the last of the squash and the courgettes. I’m going to have to put the courgettes in amongst the spinach which overwintered as it’s still producing wildly. Some will inevitably have to be sacrificed.

I put out some beans and peast today. One pot of borlotti, one of french beans and one of mange touts and two of asparagus peas. They won’t fare as well outside, but I put a range of growth levels out and the same remain inside so there should be as long a season as possible. The Yin Yang have proved a great disappointment. Of all the sowings only one plant has survived.  Nice beans shame about the growing.  Tasted some of the asparagus pea shoots yesterday, they are really nice and do taste a lot like asparagus. I’m looking forward to the peas themselves. The first sign of a purplish flower has emerged in contrast to the white flower of the mange tout.

Have sowed some more pak choi and radishes and lettuce crop AND I found a load of seeds loose in my trouser pocket (no idea which pack they came from) so I sowed them too. We’ll see what comes up. 

Outside things are much slower to take off. But the potatoes are doing well. Earthing them up is ajoke, they burst out again in a day or so. And I’m not sure about the grass mulch idea. It’s easier than using earth that’s for sure, but will it leave the soil unbalanced at the end of the day? Or will I have grass seed in my compost? Again, only time will tell.

I picked the first rhubarb stems today. I wish I’d planted more last year and I seem to have missed them for this year, but I really must get some more and have a decent sized patch going for the future.

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