Monday, June 19, 2006

Ups and Downs

Another photo update really although hopefully it won' turn into another essay like last time.
First up the potatoe saga. I planted these early in bins in the greenhouse hoping to steal a March and get nice new potatoes. Unfortunately I'm still learning on this one. As you can see the foliage had gone yellow, so I thought they were ready. There were sort of. They could have done with more water or another week or both. So I have 1lb 6oz of mixed Anya (we think) and the odd Maris Bard.
Next a quick run around the other bigs of the garden plot. First in the greenhouse. I've still got potatoes in the bins in the foreground, although they're getting to the "need to be harvested stage". After the first bin I've been watering them alot to try and swell the tubers so I get a decent crop.
In the right hand foreground corner are the tomatoes - all Alicante I think - we had a little problem with mixing up labels. If I'm lucky the Tumbler ended up in the hanging baskets. Next we have the six peppers, although I've only got 3 in at present. The others aren't big enough yet.
Lastly at the back and intent on taking over are the cucumbers, two per grow bag. We've had one cucumber off them already, and should get a load more this weekend.
Next the plot outside. The section upto the Pea enclosure is the new bit this year, and actually seems to be doing better than the piece I've been working for 5 years. Ho-Hum.Anyway, in the foreground we have sweetcorn interplanted with leeks. Next we have three rows of self-blanching celery. It should be planted more in a block, but thats the space I had left after the sweetcorn went in.
Normally in this sort of dry weather I'd be watering but with a hose pipe ban I'm saving all the water for the greenhouse and containers. Next we have the potatoes, Two rows of Maris Bard with a middle row of Red Duke of York.
One the container front, things are progressing. Starting with the 4 litre milk cartons, which I've had to secure with screws, the lettuce are going great guns, whilst the carrots are plodding a bit. I've a mixed planting in alternate containers of "White Carrots" and Early Nantes. It would appear that cutting the timber to exactly fit the handle space is critical. Whilst it's thick enough with the 4-litre bottles its not wide enough and they sag - hence the screw fixings.

On the 2-litre front I'm much happier.
The timber is both thick enough and wide enough and supports the bottles better. The lower row, with the established lettuces went in two weeks ago, 3 days after the 4-litre row, whilst the upper row only went in last Friday.

Elsewhere I'm giving containers a go for various things. I'm still trying to work out what works in window boxes, apart form lettuce which seems to grow anywhere. I've got beetroot in in at the moment - sorry no photo - but am not overly happy with it. Time will tell. In the mean time I've pressed all my large pots into service. The 3 deep 10" pots all have carrots in as does the big blue planter. The shallower 15" pots have beetroot, baby turnips, and something else. When it comes up I might know what it is.

Thats's about it for this time. I'll leave you with the first Lily flower of this year. Not bad for a 50p end-of-season pack at Wyevale 3 years ago.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Too little time

It's been a while since I've had time to write much. We're into show season and the last few weeks have seen a lot of Regia activity, something that will occupy the next two weekends.
I'm trying to keep up with things in the greenhouse, veg patch, and lottie, and just about succeeding - the cold weather slowing things down is helping. I should make it down the lottie tonight (Thursday) after work to get some more lettuce and chinease cabbage in - One Kilo as opposed to the China Blue already in.
This update is really about pictures of progress.

We'll start in the greenhouse with the potatoes. The photo on the left is the two big bins which were planted first with a mix of Anya and a few odd Maris Bard. The one on the right is the mixed Maris Bard/Anya bin planted about 3 weeks later and the Red Duke of York. By the looks of things these two will be ready first.

The potatoe bins are actually taking up most of the centre aisle in the greenhouse and as a result a couple of them have suffered a little as my wife and I go in and out. At the back of the greenhouse are the four cucumbers, this should be the hottest and most humid part. Next round will be the peppers - these will go in their bags next week.
Finally in the stretch to the door are the Tomatoes. I managed to get these in tonight so should now push on. I've also got a few tumbler which I'm going to try in the hanging baskets - all in an attempt to maximize growing space. The ones in the bags should all be Alicante - due to a mix up in labling they may not be.
Moving outside we have the sweetcorn which I interplant with leeks. You'll also notice my experiment with milk containers after seeing John's site dedicated to growing in this fashion. If I could remember the web address I'd link it in but I can't at the moment and I'm pushed for time. These have just been put up and are planted with a mix of lettuce (in the 2 litre containers) and carrots ( in the 4 litre containers).Next are the potatoes, three rows, the outer two being Maris Peer - 1st Early - and the middle Red Duke of York - another 1st Early. These all went in at the end of April so should be ready in about another 4 weeks.
Then its onto the pea cage. I had very poor germination so started a second batch in rootrainers in the greenhouse. I managed to get these planted Tuesday evening. You may also notice a block of China Blue in the foreground.

Lastly for the veg patch is the onions - which are doing ok and the miserable failure that is the rest of it - there's half a half row of parsnips, no scozenoza, a few spring onions, the odd bit of perpetual spinach, a dismal row of second sowing carrots, and 5 garlic out of 30 cloves planted.

Away from the plot propper is my carrot barrow. Its an old builders barrow that doesn't function as a barrow any longer. Last year I was successfull in growing carrots in it so am repeating this year again. Like last year I've sown Autumn King. The seedlings are about three weeks old.