17th April, 2008

OK, so the blog starts today. It's mid-April and the veggie season is beginning. The weather has been quite cold so far and I have delayed sowing as a consequence. However, in the ground at the moment are:

Spring greens: this is the only vegetable I'm harvesting at the moment. But they taste wonderful stir-fried with some garlic and soy sauce. I may grow these again since they fill the empty ground overwinter. But I'm not growing any other brassicas (except for kohl rabi) as these aren't eaten by the family and they get attacked by cabbage white butterflies.

Onions: planted last October as sets, they are a Japanese but I can't recall the specific variety. They are about a foot tall now and coming on well.

Garlic: like the onions these were planted in October and were from 3 bulbs of the garlic I grew last year. The variety is Solent Wight which I bought from the Garlic Farm, http://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/index.asp

Spinach: I'm only growing this for the guinea pig to eat, although we have a bit now and then. It's very easy to grow in autumn and overwinter.

Here's a picture of the onions (foreground) and garlic with the spinach behind them.

Broad beans: I planted these in November in individual 3" pots and overwintered them in the greenhouse. The variety is the common overwintering kind, Aquadulce claudia, which I grew last year and had a good crop, still got some in the freezer! They have started to flower but they seem a little on the short side (probably due to the lack of organic stuff in my heavy clay soil).

Shallots: I planted these as sets in February when the ground was frozen! They are showing nice growth now.

Potatoes: Bought these from Thompson & Morgan. It's their blight resistant starter set of early and late maincrop. They were planted out early April after chitting. I've read it's not really necessary to chit maincrops and Gardener's World are conducting a little trial of this. But, if I'm storing them then they may as well be chitting I think.

Turnips: I did try sowing these earlier indoors on a windowsill, but they got very leggy so I discarded them and sowed afresh direct in the soil at the end of March; they are showing through now. I grew turnips last year in several batches and they were delicious especially mashed with carrots, even the kids liked them.

Carrots: I'm detemined to do better this year as the kids love carrots and you can't beat fresh carrots straight out of the ground. I did try to grow them in a bucket to avoid the carrot fly (they can't fly above 30cm) but it didn't work as I had used fresh compost and no roots developed. But this year the bucket soil is looking great (very rich and black) so fingers crossed. The bucket is for the maincrops, but I have sown early carrots (Adelaide F1 hybrid) direct into the soil and they are under plastic cloches. These have starting sprouting this week after I had nearly given up on them over 2 weeks ago.

Radish: these are so easy to grow as long as you don't let them dry out too much and then they bolt and get woody and too hot to the taste. I've just sown them beside the carrots and turnips successionally.

Asparagus: I've planted out some new crowns into a sunny bed. I did try them in a more shady area but growth was poor.

Fruit: I've got autumn raspberries which produced lots of fruit last year. Again something the kids can't get enough of. I also have summer raspberries (first year), a thornless blackberry, a redcurrant bush and a tayberry. Plus, three fruit trees; a plum tree (tasty fruit last year), pear (no fruit, I think it got rust disease but this year there is plenty of blossom) and an apple tree (Bramley cooker). I overpruned the Bramley a few year's back and not had much fruit consequently. Now I know how to prune it though there does seem to be much more fruiting spurs with blossom about to appear.

Nice new autumn raspberry growth!

Plum blossom

Rhubarb: second year crowns still establishing and I'm not sure whether to risk pulling a few stems. I also bought some more 1st year crowns.

Herbs and strawberry bed: The herbs were planted last year and grown mostly from seed. I have thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, chives, rosemary (grown from a cutting) and tarragon (Russian not the better tasting French variety) mint and horseradish.

Blueberries: 3 pots in ericaceous compost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff! I will be watching your progress with great interest.