Since I have been away from the plot this weekend, Ma has been digging over the cabbage patch. It was slightly full of weeds, that Ma was a little affronted by, and also about to keel over. So, sending me the occasional match report, Ma took the cabbage cage on. And she did what is a cracking job. The weeds are gone. I should probably water the contents of the cage though, it does look a bit depressed.
We are finally seeing some progress with the the poly tunnel potatoes. The warm spring weather has somewhat spurred them on, and the poly tunnel does get rather warm. It was easily 30 degrees this morning when I went to water the chillies. The soil does look rather arid, now I think about it. You’ll have to excuse the spiked leaves, I had forgotten my gloves to pull them out. And trust me, those critters are vicious. Sting lasts for days.
At least half a dozen of the spuds have sprouted and growing. These were sunk mid February, two months exactly. But, as they are sat in clay and the weather is only just turning, they have taken a really long time to get a wiggle on. When they were in open ground outside, I harvested when the flowers had bloomed. Will need to work out when to harvest these as the conditions are a little different.
I have been some what worried as I wander around the plot, that there was something of a delay with the blossom. There seemed to be blossom everywhere, but my little corner of the universe. So I made something of a close inspection today, to see if there was anything growing. The braeburn, worcester pairmaine and falstaff apple trees have started to send out leaves and blossom. But what really took me by surprise was the presence of plum and pear blossom. The concorde pear tree has blossomed previously, but then lost all it’s blooms. The victoria plum even fruited once, three years ago, but nothing since. Whilst I feel somewhat alarmist, I’m not holding out too much hope this early.
With having hope, I had somewhat lost it with the rochester peach tree. Unlike the Moor park apricot, a recent addition, the rochester peach looks a pale, skeletal thing, about to snap in half. I looked down, thinking that I perhaps needed to weed around the base. A single solitary shoot protruding from the bark. Al is not, perhaps, lost. In comparison, the moor park apricot is slowly waking and sending out green shoots.
Blueberries were watered today, with saved rain water. Not looking so bad, sending out buds and flowers. We might end up with fruit yet.
I have been trying to wait, and now sow squashes. Mainly as the grow quickly, but also because we still get a frost until the end of May. So any seedlings would be fairly big by then, and would also have to be hardened off. In the past, some of the varieties that I have grown have been brilliant, others less so. I have also had the misfortune of some being eaten by slimers. This is why, I have sown a varied and large variety.
The Varieties as follows:
Ghost rider pumpkin
Marina Di Chioggia
Honey Bear Squash
Striato Di Napoli
Tondo di Piacenza
Tiger Cross marrow
Bush baby marrow
There are loads, and normally, one, maybe two plants would be sufficient for a family. I have been known to give away courgettes to friends, family, colleagues, anyone who I knew didn’t mind fresh veg. There is the risk, that I will be over run. I am sure that they will be used, given to a good home, or meet their ends in a chutney of some kind.
Ghost rider pumpkins make an appearance, I have sown these previously, and also saved their seeds. Patty pan and yellow scallop were a really good variety that was sown a couple of years ago.
Yes, there are lots and lots. I have sown one or two of each variety. Seeds have been put into the pellets-I know not all folks uses these, but I don’t like getting told of by the parents for having soil all over the house-on their edges. Apparently this stops them rotting, not so sure, so testing this. Covered with a propogator lid and left in a warm place. I have also sown some tongue of fire climbing beans. Think these are borlotti beans. As well as some experimental painted lady running beans. Ma has been champing at the bit to sow running beans directly, but I have been trying to dissuade not to sow directly as these get eaten by the clay so early.
All that remains to be seen now is whether any of these triffids germinate.
The night before last, we had a horrible frost. Yesterday morning, I was cursing the elements having to scrape a thick sheet of harsh frost of the car before going to work. Naturally, my thoughts hit upon the chillies that I situated into the poly tunnel the afternoon before.
This morning, having worried about them all day, I went to see if they were alive.
And they were.
I had fleeced them, in the same way that the tomatoes are covered.
You can see in the top left corner of the photograph, the fleece is there. This was tented over the four pots as a protective measure. Having scraped off the ice on the car, I was worried that these things had been zapped to within an inch of their so far very short lives.
And then there is this
This is the purple haze cayenne that I bought from sea spring seeds at the edible garden show last month. That tiny little bud in the middle, that’s a flower. There a couple more tiny ones waiting to develop. That’s if the blasted Aphids don’t kill it off. Also, this is a very small plant still, I’m not too sure if it is supposed to be sending out flower buds. Perhaps it’s a bit comfortable in the 12cm pot.
The habaneros were sat in 7cm pots, and whilst they have started to pick up; some of them were trying to escape their pots. So they have all now been re-potted into 12cm pots. I think for all the chillies on the sills, this is probably their last temporary pot before they get their proper pots in the poly tunnel. The hope being, that they make it through the next six weeks and into the summer.
We had a horrible frost the night before last, and I was worried that the babies in the 4 tier blowaway may have experienced jack frost’s kiss of death. They were however, nestled beneath two layers of fleece and had warm water bottles to keep them company. The picture above, doesn’t particularly do them justice. I was waiting for the wind to stop batting them around as a gust had come past. Most of them, are reasonably tall, but not gangly. I suspect they may actually need potting up, so that they can stretch that bit more. I might however, wait them out for the rest of the month, and then move them into the poly tunnel. That is if the Red Duke of York potatoes that currently occupy it have decided to come up and out. There are also some chillies already in there, that for now, have also survived the frost.
As you are aware, I have sown sunflowers to see if these impact on the mental health of teachers. At this stage, my sunflowers aren’t doing too badly. I did worry when we had the horrible frost the night before last. They are still there, I had to check today!
Getting taller, they are chomping at the bit. I don’t think it will be long before I have to transplant them onto the plot. I did sow some additional ones about a week ago, and as they are quick growers, three babies were already potted up. I am hoping that the one sat by the window, does revive. It was in danger of snapping and keeling over. Perhaps when it is a bit more sure footed, it will return to it’s class mates.