Friday 16 May 2014

Plot progress

This is an update on progress in my veggie-garden...

My Broad Beans survived the strong winds last weekend with only minor damage. The top of one of the plants was snapped off, and all the plants are now leaning over at an acute angle:

The mixed row of "Witkiem Manita" and "Aquadulce" is just coming into flower now.

The other row is of "Stereo", a variety new to me. It is a short variety, which has masses of plain white flowers (so hopefully also masses of pods).

The flowers are beginning to die off, so maybe the pods will start forming now...

The First Early potatoes have grown huge. The appearance of flowers is normally an indication that tubers are starting to form, but there is no sign of any yet. 

This next photo is of "Nicola", one of my Maincrop varieties. Still quite small, but looking very healthy.

"Pink Fir Apple", my other Maincrop one, has only just broken the surface of the compost. This will be the latest variety to mature, probably in late August.

The Lettuces from the Czech Republic are very fine specimens - so good-looking that I may be relucant to harvest them!
Lettuces "Devin" (L) and "Cervanek" (R)

Lettuce "Devin"

The Carrots and Parsnips are growing OK in the big Woodblocx raised bed. You may remember that I had to re-sow the Carrots and one variety of Parsnip. The second sowing is looking much more enthusiastic. I think the poor germination first time must have been due to the weather conditions - probably too dry.

The miniature Carrots in the big wooden planter outside the kitchen window are steaming ahead. This area gets afternoon and evening sun, which they really enjoy. I'm wondering now whether I made the hoops for the Carrot Root Fly protection tall enough.

The Leeks are gradually putting on weight. I have read that it is best to transplant them when they reach the diameter of a pencil, so they have a way to go yet.

Having experienced problems with some of the compost I have used this year, I have been feeding these plants with general-purpose plant food to ensure that they don't run out of nutrients in those little pots.

The Brussels Sprouts are (though I say it myself) perfect specimens.

The nematodes I applied have so far kept the Cabbage Root fly in check. No casualties up till now (fingers crossed).

But... I notice that the first Butterfly eggs have begun to appear, so although the plants are still small, I shall be thinking about netting them soon.

The only thing that I am seriously worried about is the Cucumbers ("Iznik F1"). Most of the lower leaves went very pale - almost translucent - and then shivelled up. I'm not sure why. It happened when they were indoors before planting out, so it is probably not weather-related. Could it be the poor compost again?

Now that the plants are outside in big pots of decent compost they look better and they will probably survive, though I am not expecting great things of them.

The Runner Beans and climbing French Beans have settled in and are beginning to grow now, despite having one or two leaves browned at the edges by last weekend's wind. You can tell when a Runner Bean is happy -  it puts its "arms" up, like this:-

When it is stressed - too hot, too cold, thirsty, etc - its "arms" go down, giving it a sort of hunched-up look, just like a human being wrapping its arms around itself!

So, all things considered, the veg garden is looking promising. Certainly full of potential!


  1. I love how much you've got going on, so many things to look forward to!

  2. You are well on with everything. Do you get weevil damage on peas and broad beans? By the way I thought the label said pea which I thought strange.

  3. Oh no, not butterfly eggs already. I've never known leeks get to the stage of being as thick as a pencil before being planted out, even though just about every text book gives this same advice. Everything's looking great, there'll be lots of things to harvest soon.

  4. It looks like the garden is doing very well. I know there have been a few setbacks like the cukes and the carrots. But what garden doesn't have its setbacks? Everything else looks so nice. My fava beans will need to be staked soon. Well not really staked but supported. Our winds will blow them down too.

  5. So many delicious edible plants growing in your garden at the moment.

  6. You can take care of pest eggs with heavy duty tape. In America we call it duct tape. Just wrap some around your hand, sticky side out, and remove any eggs or pests you come across. Works great without harming the plants and targets the bad bugs.

  7. your plants look great more advanced than mine.I decided to give up on carrots today, they germerated then vanished. I spent the day potting on various sunny days.

  8. Loved you last photo, I know my runner beans are happy now.

  9. Everything (except the cucumbers) looks healthy. Looks like you will be busy the rest of the month.

  10. Regarding the broad beans...Mark..will you watch to see if the ones topped off have less aphids then the others (assuming you might have aphids). I read just recently that if you top the broad beans they won't have aphids. can't believe everything you read SMILE. But thought I would ask. Great photos as usual.

    1. Bren, it was only one of my BBs that got broken by the wind. Normally I do nip out the tips anyway, but to be honest I am not convinced that it has any effect on the blackfly population. If you take out the top out, the blackfly just move further down the plant! This year, 50% of my BBs are the "Stereo" type, which is very short, so I may not pinch them out at all.

  11. Hi Mark, I've been following your blog for a while now and I just want to say thanks. I've been learning a great deal from your blog's archives. Your detailed pictures and descriptions are invaluable, thank you so much for your effort and your kindness for sharing your experiences, good or bad (I believe we learn so much more when things actually go wrong in the garden). I'm a beginner gardener and there's only so much you can learn from books; your blog in other hand shows step-by-step of what I should expect or look for, it's really useful. Thanks once again.

    1. Hi Marcia; Thank you for your lovely comments. I'm glad you have been able to learn a few things from what I write. I find that writing about what I do in the garden helps me to do things better too - usually more accurately, leading to greater success. But all gardeners have failures as well as successes, so I think we should be honest and admit them.


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