Tuesday 14 May 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

Dodging the April  May showers, I spent a large part of the weekend working in the garden. At this time of year it's necessary!

I have potted-up most of the rest of my tomato plants, just keeping a few in reserve in case of disasters. I now have 14 plants in big pots:

 My highest hopes for a good crop are vested in the ones I have put in those self-watering planters that my MIL gave me. Here you can see some of them with their water-tubes poking up:-

My first row of Broad Beans has grown to about 15 inches tall now, so I have put in place new support and protection arrangements - tall wooden stakes support a net to keep the wildlife off, and a pattern of soft string stretched between the stakes provides support. As the plants grow taller I'll add another couple of layers of string.

I picked the last of the PSB and removed the plants, so now I have two vacant raised beds, ready for my beans. One bed is going to have Runner Beans in it (14 plants), for which I have now erected this frame of 8-foot bamboo poles:

The other will have the climbing French Beans. Some of the Chicories that I cut without removing the roots have re-sprouted, so I have left them in place. I may be able to get a small crop of young leaves from them before I need to dig them up.

I have resisted the temptation to use these beds for growing salads, so the only place I could find in which to plant my Lettuce seedlings was this...!

Those are old plastic washing-up bowls with drainage holes drilled in them (the black tray in the centre is just the seed-tray from which I have transferred the lettuces). I have put four seedlings in each bowl. One has Green Oak Leaf:

And the other has Marvel of Four Seasons:

Meanwhile the recent rain has given the Asparagus a real boost. I have picked a second lot of 5 spears, but there are about 20 more visible now.

The Asparagus needs little attention at this stage. It's simply a question of judging the right moment to cut the spears. Keeping the bed free of weeds is desirable too, since it makes the spears easy to see.

This coming weekend I had been hoping to plant out some cucumbers - under cloches - but unless the weather improves dramatically I think this is now unlikely.


  1. I'd like some of those self watering planters, I think I may invest in some for next year. My broad bean plants are now sporting tiny beans, I'm looking forward to the first harvest.

  2. Hi Mark, I do hope it gets warmer for you. We have had such a weird spell of uncharacteristically hot weather here for the last 3 weeks. It has finally turned back to our normal temps with spots of rain. (Hand-watering this time of year was not in my plans.) This week I'll be filling up new raised beds full of soil and planting my toms and other warm weather veggies. It's time to get some major food production going! Cheers, Jenni

  3. It would good if the weather just improved a little wouldn't it? That's a veritable tomato jungle in the making you have there. And the bowls match.

  4. Now Mark why bother crossing the month out when mentioning showers. We are having our Great British summer don't you know. Very jealous of your asparagus mine has yet to make an appearance.

  5. I like these big terracotta pots in which you've planted the tomatoes, they look very nice.

    1. They are not actually terracotta - they are plastic - but they LOOK like terracotta, don't they?

  6. Your plants look like they are growing well despite the weather you have been having. I really could use a little of your rain. The little we did get last week helped, but we really need more.

  7. I use self watering pots for my courgettes,they work really well. I dare not put my tender stuff out, everything is having to wait just a bit longer.

  8. Your garden looks meticulous Mark...everything's so tidy. I bet you have the straightest runner beans on the block! ;D
    What a great use for the old washing bowls. Very clever.
    I also used to have those self watering pots when I lived back in the UK.
    I can't wait to have a go at growing my own Asparagus...especially when I hear that there's not much need for attention!
    My mother always used to say...'never cast a cloud till May's out' so maybe once May has finished you'll be into the real stuff...remember sun and warmth! Oh happy days ahead! :D

  9. Looks like your tomatoes have been practicing on the drill field! Everything looks healthy and tidy!

  10. Love the self watering planters Mark.
    What a thoughtful MIL.
    It's all looking good over in your garden. You'll need to get those tomato sauce recipes ready for a huge crop by the look of it!

  11. It's nice to find another tomato addict, I have nearly as many plants as you and have my fingers crossed for a bumper harvest this year. The rest of your vegetable garden is looking great, and I love those lettuces in the washing up bowls.


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