dimanche 18 mai 2014

Update in the veg Plot for May 2014

image Today has been the first day this year that I have enjoyed planting in the garden. It is sunny, but not too warm with some man made clouds due to early chemtrailing this morning. The plants I bought at the local plant fair two weeks ago have been in my mini greenhouse acclimatizing, and are now ready to plant. I started with my cucumber teepee, having changed its location in line with my normal crop rotation to benefit the soil. We have been gardening here for 13 years and as we are surrounded by cow farmers who reseed their pastures with hardy, fast growing rye grass and fling fertilizer about, it has been hard to fight this virulent grass which seems to take over the beds every year. We swing between a no dig, mulching method and digging with our antique mechanical digger! A total contrast, I know, the purists will be shocked, but the no dig method and raised beds could not cope with the crazy grass which has adventitious roots that run along underground sending up strong shoots everywhere!! So, while I still cover beds in cardboard, carpets and a heavy mulch in the growing season and winter, it is still usually necessary to dig at least some of the beds each year with the digger. A compromise because of local conditions. We did not really have a winter this year at all, very mild, only one occasion when the temperature dipped below freezing, minus 4 degrees C. Previous years we have had to battle with weeks of temperatures below minus 15 C!! So we have to be prepared for anything. Everything has been early this year, Spring, the migrating birds, bulbs and flowers over a month early. The sparrows are already on their second brood in the nest boxes and the Blue Tits are not far behind. I bought organic cucumber plants as usual at the plant fair and they were about 8 inches tall when I planted them around the base of the teepee this morning. I usually dig a hole, water in the hole, add some home made compost and plant the plants at a slight angle in towards the poles and string. I have more cucumber plants to go out but I left space around the teepee for a few sweet peas just to liven up the bottom of the garden. I then put in six of the 20 tomato plants I also bought at the organic supplier. I like colour on the plate for salads, so I have a mix of small yellow pear tomatoes, Green Tiger striped, cherry tomatoes, Delice du Jardin (a normal tomato!), a pineapple flavoured one, Crimea a nearly purple, large tomato and Andean Horn, a long pointed shape. I also have so e Brandy Wine tomatoes a friend sent me from the US. Quite a collection! The last thing I managed to do this morning before taking a break to write this was to put in a second row of Oregon sugar snap peas. The row I planted four weeks ago next to the new row are just starting to twirl onto the bushy sticks. The broad beans, planted 5 weeks ago are about 9 inches tall and looking strong. They needed to have the weeds scuffled out from between the rows. Spring has been quite damp with lots of rain, so all the grasses and weeds have been growing like mad around here. The bean frames and nets have all been repaired ready for the seeds to be planted. I did not rotate the position of these frames this year so we decided to change the soil, and dug out about a foot and replaced with a mix of soil and compost. We a,so reconnected all the hoses to automatically fill up the water barrels around the garden when we pump water from the well. The trees and flowers up at the house are all watered from the rain water collection barrels. So a good morning in the garden, and by the way the swarm of bees is still with us!

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