Sunday, August 03, 2008

Early Harvests

This is another of those posts I was going to make 2 weeks ago and never go around to - despite having for several years a round tuit. The pictures are of the Sunningdale plot as it was then; 2 weeks can be a very long time at this time of year.
Since then The onion and garlic bed, back left 1st picture has been completely cleared, except for the few parsnips, and resown with a variety of seed. If I can remember correctly there is 1 row turnips, 3 rows of carrots (different varieties), and sown this weekend 1 row Japanese radish - hope these don't bolt like then did in the spring, and 1 row aliens - sorry Kohl Rabi.
To the left of this you can see where I had made a start on the next raised bed, which when completed will given me six to long beds to rotate crops around. I have now completed the first 4' section and need some more timber before I can continue. I've also started the Asparagus bed, which again is now waiting on timber before I can continue.
The second picture shows the bean and pea line, a bit sparse when the picture was taken but is now more heavily populated by both. In the first section I have scarlet emperor and a mix of Hurst Greenshaft and my heritage Duke of Albany. The second section did have some Kelvadon Wonder, but to my mind I only wonder why they didn't do anything other than fatten a few slugs. Behind them are my Painted Lady, now reaching the point where I'm prepared to pick them to eat; I wanted to ensure I have enough seed for next year without having to buy any. I pursuing the same course with my heritage Daniels Defiance in our front garden, except they're not growing as well an they may end up as just a seed supply this year.
The Bracknell plot has yielded the last of its purple tee-pee, and these have now been replaced with a fresh batch of plants - about 18 days from sowing to planting out. I've also got enough seed off the few remaining beans for about 20 plants next year. I've left the barlotti variety in to finish fattening the remaining pods.
It has also completed the yield of both this years onions, a poor result from the Red Baron, and nearly as bad from the Sturon, but no sign of white rot in the areas I treated with Armatillox. I'm reserving judgment until next year, after this year's over-wintering crop are harvested, before ratifying (or not) their claims that its an effective treatment for white rot - other than not growing any member of the allium family in the ground for 20 years.
The ground vacated by the onions has been used to absorb some of the second batch of French beans and to provide homes for a few straggly cauliflowers that I didn't have space for earlier, and a batch of swede and Chinese cabbage.
In the garden I've been harvesting both container grown and soil grown potatoes. The container grown Vales Emerald seem to be a match for the other container grown varieties in terms of yield but aren't anything special as far as taste goes and are really only useful as a mashed potato - the slightest fraction of over-cooking and they split all over the shop. I've also harvested one line of the Estima from teh Sunningdale plot. They yielded about 1/3 of what I expected and showed signs of drought, despite the ground being sufficiently wet to have sustained them for another month or so until their proper harvesting time. The rate at which they went over suggested a blight attack, but the lack of rot in the halums below ground doesn't bear this out. The fact that all four rows (Estima, Estima, Charlottes, International Kidney) all went over at the same time leaves me a little puzzled. I've also harvested about 8ft of both the latter and again the yields are way down on what I would expect.
Where I've taken the potatoes out in the garden I've used part of the space to so a 6ft row of mangetout. It was old seed and I wasn't expecting much - I'd had germination problems earlier in the year in root trainers, so was very much surprised to see a massed row of pea shoot heads on Saturday morning - even more surprising since they were only sown last Sunday evening.
Things in the greenhouse have been mixed. Our cucumbers are now getting into the swing of things and we're about to become buried under massed cucumbers; despite almost having lost one plant which I've had to cut back to half its previous size. The only thing I can think of is that it got too hot and dehydrated at the beginning of the week, as after its trim and a feed it seems to have perked up again.
The other strange thing is that it appears to be the only plant affected. The tomatoes continue to set small green tomatoes which point blankly refuse to ripen, and the melons are setting fruit, well some at least and more than last year - we have 3 baby melons now, yes 3!
Both the outdoor cucumbers and tomatoes appear to be mimicing the melons - loads of flowers and no set fruit. Perhaps it's the lack of bees. Its been strangely quite this year and even the massed bank of budlia around us have been strangely quiet.
Anyway the last picture is the onion crop on the Sunningdale plot - all I have to do is try and remember which variety I planted where.