Monday 27 April 2020

Progress report - salad crops

The Premier salad crop in my garden is the tomato. My tomato plants are looking good and strong now, after spending quite a bit of time outdoors over the last couple of weeks. I'm thinking of transferring some of them to their final pots soon, after which it will no longer be possible to bring them indoors. However the weather forecast is predicting a spell of heavy rain over the next few days, so I'm going to leave this job to next weekend at least.

No salad is complete without Lettuce, is it? I planted 14 young Lettuces last week, taking a few each from two trays of seedlings I had been carefully nurturing. Each tray had LOADS of seedlings in it, but I don't really need huge numbers of Lettuce plants, so after taking out the ones I selected for planting, the others are already being used as "Baby Leaf Salad".

In this tray are "Lobjoit's Green Cos" and "Saxo".

This rather sparsely-populated tray was sown with an old salad mix - note the solitary Rocket plant!

Since successional sowing is the order of the day (to maintain a continuous supply) I also have some other, very much smaller Lettuce plants:

I don't know what variety those ones are. They are the only ones to appear from a handful of seeds from five fairly old packets, which I sowed more in hope than in expectation! Lettuce seeds evidently don't remain viable for ever. Still, in current circumstances I think it might be unwise to throw away ANY seeds, however old they are. I shall keep on sowing them in the hope that at least some of them will germinate.

Next up, Beetroot. My Beetroot so far has been a mixed success. I sowed a row consisting of 50 percent new seeds of "Crosby's Egyptian" and 50 percent "Boltardy" from last year. Normally I have no difficulties with Beetroot seed from the previous year, but this time the germination rate of "Boltardy" was very poor - maybe 20 percent? The "Crosby's Egyptian" germinated well though - probably 90 percent or more.

Beetroot "Crosby's Egyptian".

However, in my usual risk-avoiding fashion, I had taken the precaution of sowing some more Beetroot seeds of both varieties in small plastic pots, each pot containing 2 or 3 seeds in order to produce clumps of plants. These germinated well, so I have used them to fill in the spaces where the "Boltardy" has failed to show. The trouble is I didn't think to label the pots, so I have no idea which ones are which!

One of the pot-grown clumps. I think there are probably 3 plants there.

Flanking the row of Beetroot are a row of Radishes (again two different varieties - hedging my bets) and the clumps of Onions I planted out several weeks ago.

Radishes, Left; Beetroot, Centre; and Onions, Right.

The Radishes are nowhere near ready yet, but they look as if they will be OK.


Likewise, the Onions are a long way from maturity, but they are coming along quite nicely.

You'll notice that the onions are surrounded by some other small, broad-leaved plants. I believe these are Watercress seedlings, which have come in with the homemade compost. I did have some Watercress last year, from which I saved seeds, but I think the old plants which went into the compost-bin must have still had some seed-pods on them. This is a bonus for me, because we love Watercress, so I'll remove most of those little seedlings, but leave a few to mature.

I think these are Watercress seedlings

Another very important salad vegetable for us is the Cucumber. I can't show you any photos of cucumber plants yet though, because I have resolved not to sow them before the start of May. In previous years I have often found myself struggling to keep Cucumber plants alive and growing, because we always seem to get a cold wet spell just after I have planted mine! Last year I had a very good crop of the little tiny ones used for making cornichons (very small gherkins), so I'll be sowing some of those. The variety is called "Vorgebirgstrauben". I'll also have a few plants of the so-called "cocktail cucumber" type. They produce fruits about six inches long. The variety I have this time is "Delikatess". Both these and the gherkin-type ones are from Lidl. They sell quite a lot of more unusual varieties (to us in the UK, that is. They are probably common in Germany!), in small packs at sensible prices.

Finally for today, just a mention of my Rocket. I have a small number of plants (about 15??) in an 8-inch pot, which is enough to provide for our needs. Jane just about tolerates Rocket (in small quantities), but I like it better. I usually put just a few leaves in a mixed salad.


So, as you can see, I have plenty of salad crops "in the pipeline", but almost nothing at the cropping stage yet! Thank goodness for the peashoots...

1 comment:

  1. Such an interesting thing, watercress seedlings grow on your raised bed. Here, water cress only grow around the spring area with clean water.


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