It is full steam ahead in the greenhouse right now – once the second lot of broad beans have put on a bit more growth they can go to the allotment and the dwarf beans will be planted at the feet of the sweet peas.
The coldframe is full of plants that are waiting for some available space in the garden.
I’ve sown pots of peas to harvest as peashoots while we wait for salads to grow larger.
Planting swiss chard in last year’s tomato grow bags has been a huge success. We’ve picked them in the greenhouse and now the bags are outside with still plenty of chard left to harvest.
Salads in gutter
The latest issue of Gardening Which includes trials carried out re-using growbags and potting compost. These achieved surprisingly good results provided there were no vine weevils present and the compost was given a boost with a slow release fertiliser, so I decided to follow their example. I added a smidgen of fish, blood and bone to growbags (previously home to tomatoes) and I’ve planted them up with rainbow chard, spinach and Russian kale. I will watch with interest. My other experiment involved the length of gutter which I clip on to the eye level greenhouse shelf . I use this in spring to germinate early peas out of reach of marauding mice. I had some surplus winter salad plants and, rather than composting them, I’ve planted them in the gutter and so far they seem to be doing rather well.
Reusing grow bags
In the greenhouse: As soon as the wind changes to a less chilly direction I can get on with moving more of the young plants out so that I can plant my tomato plants in their Grow Bags. The dahlia tubers are now sprouting. The strawberries that I kept under glass are now flowering so I have moved them outdoors where they can be pollinated.
Two days of proper rain may have blighted the Bank Holiday, but the garden loves it. A friend rang me up this morning and said “ I swear I can see the plants growing!” That certainly seems to be the case in the greenhouse – suddenly the tomatoes are romping up their supports and I can see the first flower trusses forming. The four grow bags I can fit into the border of my 6×4 greenhouse allow me to grow 12 plants. Last year, despite the poor weather, we were picking tomatoes for months. I’m experimenting with something new this year – spiral plant supports – £14.95 for 3 from Unwins. My usual method is to support the plants by winding them round string that is fastened to an overhead wire. The re-useable spiral plant supports, also known as Veggie Cages, have been used in America for a while and have just found there way over here. Apparently they are brilliant at supporting and containing the tomatoes. I will report the results.
The hungry gap is behind us and we are starting to eat regularly from the garden and the allotment. We’ve enjoyed our first broad beans, have regular pickings of asparagus off the allotment, daily pickings of cut-and-come-again lettuce and for the past week, there have been sufficient strawberries for a generous helping on the morning muesli. And all the fresh herbs really give everything such a lift – I don’t know whether the past winter’s weather is the reason, but the mint is super size.
Over the weekend I emptied the tulips out of their pots in the courtyard and replaced them with a mixture of herbs, French beans and dahlias. It is a real suntrap at this time of year and there is nothing our cat loves better than sunbathing on a newly planted pot – especially once it has been topped with Strulch (my favoured mulch – its brilliant). So, to protect the plants, I have created hazel-twig cages – attractive cat deterrents that also act as plant supports!
Sown in the greenhouse: Zinnias and Morning Glories in peat-free coir pellets. Both their seedlings will sulk in the cold and hate root disturbance, so it is a good idea to delay sowing until now or even later for good results. In a couple of weeks they can be planted out into the garden.
Sown in the coldframe: Carrots –the cold frame isn’t much used during the summer months so I’ve sown carrot seed and covered the frame with Enviromesh. This will keep the pesky root fly at bay. With our deep sandy soil we should be able to grow brilliant carrots, but we’ve yet to succeed here, or on the allotment. Fingers crossed.
Sown outside: Spinach – in partial shade in an old galvanised water tank next to the greenhouse. Spinach tends to run to seed if growing in full sun during the summer and raising it up should keep it free of slugs and snails.
On the allotment: A mixture of squash plants