19th May, 2008

It was not quite so warm this weekend and now I'm worried that there will be a late frost because I planted out tomatoes, runner beans, courgettes and more sweetcorn, all of which don't take kindly to freezing temperatures. The courgettes are protected by plastic domes which are really squirrel protectors for bird feeders.

The protectors didn't really work as the squirrels managed to climb up from underneath the domes, but they do make great mini-cloches. The runner beans are behind the domes, I place 2 plants per pole.

Tomatoes outside. They'll be grown as cordons hence the bamboo canes. Notice how the soil has dried up and formed big hard lumps. Underneath though it was still quite moist. In front of the toms are a short row of radish and then a full row of turnips and then some more radish.

Having bought some multi-purpose compost at the weekend I mixed it 50:50 with the loam made from turf and used it to plant up the tomatoes into large buckets in the greenhouse. You can also see how well the early potatoes are growing in the buckets.

A new lot of dwarf beans and some more lettuce were sown into modules along with butternut squash seeds in a 5" pot all in the greenhouse. The peppers, chillis and aubergines were potted on into individual 3" pots.

To make room, the snapdragons trays (coming on nicely) were put out in the cold frame.

I planted out the coriander in the herb bed. Also in the herb bed are the strawberries which are producing lots of flowers now.

I've pretty much filled the beds now, there will be just enough room for the beetroot and parsnips but I'm not really sure where the leeks will go. The only spot is where the spinach, garlic and overwintering onions are. The spinach is bolting so that can be pulled up soon and the garlic/onions I hope may be harvested before the leeks can be sown. It's not ideal to put in leeks after onions but I may not have a choice.

Not long for harvest?

The squash will have to be planted in the only corner left behind a pampass grass, one of the concessions to retaining some non-edible plants in the garden. But maybe even its days are numbered? Oh and I just remembered the dwarf beans, where will they go? I feel a liitle bit more turf will have to be removed, I only need enough for 2 or 3 more rows.

I'm still experimenting with how much to plant in the beds; it depends on how much gets eaten by the family. I'd rather grow a lot of what we like. I may have overdone it with the potatoes as these have used a lot more ground than I had anticipated. But they are coming on nicely and also help loosen the soil up.

I always planned to grow a lot of sweetcorn as this was very popular last year and plenty of onions/garlic (we haven't bought onions or garlic for a year now). But maybe I have grown too many broad beans.

Some more radish and spring greens were eaten last weekend. The next veg I suspect will be the broad beans. There are still some in the freezer from last year, not a popular veg for the kids but my wife and I have them with cous cous from a Madur Jafrey recipe. I must search out some other meals from Recipezaar, a very useful website to find interesting ways to cook your fresh veggies.

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