Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Rolling along

A garden never stands still; there is always something happening, some changes, however small, occur every day. You sow seeds, you plant seedlings, you weed and water them; you harvest the crop, you dig up the old plants and replace them... (Repeat).

My Broad Beans are mostly gone now. The first row has been cut down to just a few inches above soil level:

I have left the stumps in the ground for now. Their roots will be laced with nodules that fix Nitrogen in the soil, where it will be appreciated by the crops that follows on - in my case Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

The Longpods of my second row of BBs are still producing pods, so I can't prepare this bed for the PSB just yet. Overall, my two rows of BBs (24 plants in total) have so far yielded about 3.5kgs of pods, with maybe 500g still to come. I am satisfied with that, especially as I have seen several bloggers reporting a poor year for Broad Beans.

My interest is now turning to the cucurbits. The "Defender F1" courgette plant is already huge:

The first flower on this plant to open was a female, and due to lack of male flowers it didn't get fertilised and therefore didn't develop beyond about two inches in length. Now however, the plant is producing flowers of both sexes, and I think the first viable fruits are developing. Once they get going these things grow very rapidly, so I think this will be my next harvestable crop.

Courgette "Defender F1"

The two cucumber plants in the same tub as the courgette are growing quickly, and I keep tying them in to the bamboo canes at intervals of six inches or so. The "Passandra" plant has about 5 or 6 little fruits forming already, but so far "Diva" has none (playing the Prima Donna role, some might say...)

Cucumber "Passandra"

The "Boltardy" beetroot are beginning to bulk-up, though I can't yet see any that are big enough to pick. Despite the name, Boltardy is not entirely immune to bolting, and I am making sure I water them often so that they are not put under stress. With only a few plants, I can ill afford to lose even a couple!

Beetroot "Boltardy"

Another crop on its way out is my little pot of peas, grown for the shoots. I have picked shoots from these few plants three times, but they have now managed to get ahead of me and produce some flowers so their days as a salad ingredient are at an end. I think I'll leave them to set some pods now - even half a dozen would be nice to have, wouldn't they? (I'm fairly certain they would not make it as far as the kitchen though).

Talking of salads, let me just mention for the record that over the past weekend I sowed seeds for more lettuce, rocket and cress, plus a few Radicchio ("Rossa di Verona") and a row of "Misticanza" which is an Italian version of Mesclun - a mixture of lettuces, chicory, radicchio etc. It makes sense to sow salad crops little and often throughout the Summer so that you always have enough without having too many. Several of my lettuces bolted during the very hot weather we had last week, so my stock is considerably depleted. Fortunately this didn't happen to my "Warpath" ones. This is a crisphead variety like a very compact "Iceberg", especially suited to small gardens like mine.

Lettuce "Warpath"

My onions are looking a right mess, but then I think this is probably normal for onions. They still have lots of upright green leaves, so I judge that they are not yet ready for harvesting.

Some of them are bulbing-up quite nicely too.

They are not all like that though, and I think my first attempt at growing onions is going to be like the proverbial curate's egg - good in parts!

The last thing I want to mention today is tomatoes. My plants are setting tons of fruit now. Some years I get a few very sparsely-populated trusses, but this year seems to be better than average. Here are a couple of examples. First, "Maskotka". The (4) plants in the wooden planter are covered in fruit and flowers:

None of the fruit are ripe yet, but there are loads like this, so it won't be long, I think.

This is "Sungold". The plant has already set 3 trusses and more are forming. Each truss has about 20 fruit, with more appearing at the tips.

Lastly, "Marmande" also looking very promising. Fortunately the distortion caused by the weedkiller in the compost has not been severe this time and the plants seem to have "grown through it".

PLEASE will the blight stay away this year?


  1. We are just starting on our broad beans which recovered well from the earlier battering by dales and are remarkably upright. Robin Hood are just starting yo flower.

  2. There are 'Patio' varieties of seeds for courgettes, pumpkins & aubergines that produce fairly normal sized, tasty fruits on much reduced sized plants (& much smaller leaves) suitable for growing in pots or small beds.

    1. Yes, I have tried some of them. I once had a marrow called "Bush Baby" and a Butternut Squash called "Butter Bush".

  3. Onions look fine, and they always look worse for the year at this point. Tomatoes are looking fantastic. I am also hoping for relief from the blight this year, and so far, so good. Which I could grow beets like that but the wild rabbits simply will not allow it. Hang in there with the Diva, it should reward you.


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