Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Planting out

The spell of warm weather we have had has brought my plants on a lot quicker than I expected. Often we get cold wet and windy weather in April - but not this year! Many of my plants have become too big to remain in their little pots and seed trays, so I have had done a lot of planting-out over the last few days.

Here is my Marrow ("Bush Baby") in its new home.

This big tub (filled mostly with home-made compost) is half of an old plastic compost-bin. It is open at the base for improved drainage, but as you can see, it provides a depth of about 50cm for the Marrow to grow in. I'm prepared for the worst too: if there seems to be a danger of frosts or very low night-time temperatures, I will protect the plant with a big plastic bell cloche - like this:-

The long-awaited planting-up of the Cucumber bin has also taken place! I have put two Cucumber plants ("Marketmore") in this tub, and I will be training them to climb left and right over the wooden support frame I constructed.

I have put out some Lettuces into their final growing places. There are six each of "Little Gem", "Webbs Wonderful" and "Fristina". They will be joined in due course by six of "Batavian Red", but those are still too small for planting out.

In the background, further down the same raised bed, you might just be able to see three Red Cabbage plants ("Marner Langerrot") and a couple of rows of Radishes - the white Japanese or Mooli type, and the long red Italian Ravanello type "Candela di Fuoco".

Here is a pic of the same bed from the other end. Clumps of Perpetual Spinach and Swiss Chard in the foreground, then two rows of radishes, then three Red Cabbage, then the lettuces in the distance. I think this is what you call "a mixed planting"!  [Ali: sorry that the rows are not dead straight. My excuse is that Mr.Fox re-arranged them for me. :)]

The flexible green plastic hoops are now covered with netting, by the way.

 In the next bed, the red Beetroot are mostly looking OK.

However something has eaten away the stems of some of them, just above ground level. Their foliage is still surprisingly perky, but I don't expect them to survive.

The golden Beetroot (sown later, without the benefit of a cloche) is still tiny, and its germination rate was not very good so there are a few gaps.

In my usual way, I have re-sown with a few more beetroot seeds in pots, as an "insurance policy". Even if I don't need them for filling gaps, I can always use their foliage as a salad ingredient...


  1. Your garden is coming along wonderfully!! You just reminded me that while I was in London, I picked up a gardening magazine to read on the train and it came with free seed packets. One of the seeds was the Mooli Japanese radish. I should plant them and see how they do here.

  2. You have such a great variety of everything. Looking good! I just recently heard about bell-cloches. Very nifty, are they easy to find?

  3. Anya; I bought my cloches from my local garden centre. They are plastic, not glass of course, but I consider them good value at £10 for 3. You can probably get them for less on the internet.

  4. It's like visiting another country (well, I suppose it is). You're about a month ahead of us, even my neighbours at the allotment site who have sown earlier than I have. Much to look forward to.

  5. Ooo I have things nibbling away at my seedings too, gosh it's frustrating. The marrow in the first picture, what is that exactly? The leaves are turned away from the camera and I can't quite see the shape - are they a pumpkin type vegetable?

    And yes, not straight lines have been noted. Mr Fox indeed.


  6. Looks great. I know you are so glad to finally being able to get them planted out.

  7. Mark, do you ever sow directly into the soil? I'm new at this veggie gardening thing :)

  8. All looks really good Mark. I'm heading up to the plot later to plant out some lettuces, just hope they don't get munched out of existence, think I will keep some back to grow in tubs in the garden, more convenient and I can keep them slug and snail free...

  9. Jenni: Yes, I sow lots of things directly into the soil (though I often have to protect them against fox damage!). The things I sow in pots and seed-trays are mostly the frost-tender ones that need, or may need, protection from the elements. Sowing in pots also means you can get things started a few weeks before a piece of ground actually becomes vacant.

  10. Ali; Re the Marrow - it's like a giant courgette. Usually one plant produces only a few fruit (maybe 3?), but they can get pretty big. The variety I am growing is called "Bush Baby", which is a small one, bred specially for small gardens. For more info see my post of 16 Aug 2010 called "Cucurbits".

  11. Your garden is coming along beautifully, Mark! I planted Little Gem romaine lettuce this year and it is doing so well! Sorry about your beetroot :/ But I like your idea of an insurance policy planting. You should have a wonderful garden this year!

  12. I am having the same problem as well with the beetroot. Cucumber seedlings will grow very fast as the weather warm up!

  13. It is looking good Mr Willis. I am enjoying watching your garden unfold. i only began following you at the end of last summer so to see your spring garden is exciting.

  14. Looks like cutworm damage to stems. Put an inch or two collar of cardboard - paper towel or toilet paper holder works. Push into soil and your problem will go away. They'll probably recover but not do as well.


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