Tag Archives: courgettes

Planting out…finally! #Gdnbloggers

You can also find the video here.

It is the Whitsun Bank holiday, the end of May Bank holiday, and this means planting out. The tomatoes and squashes that have been hardening off the last week or so have now been moved to the plot and plugged in. There are two varieties of tomatoes, roma and marmande, and a quite a few different varieties squashes. I think I have most of the courgettes and marrows, with Mum having butternuts and trailing ones.  All of the plants are in raised beds as I have had more success this way.  There is also a raised bed that has incredible sweetcorn with squashes nestled amongst it.

Aside from the tomatoes and squashes, I had bought some chard and spinach. These were plugged into the open ground, and it was a case of “Punam, plant your chard in straight rows.” Well, the rows are a bit wonky, and there also some wiry leeks placed into the ground as well.

Beyond this, I have also broken with tradition and direct sown runner beans and climbing french beans. Ordinarily, I would try to sow them at home and in modules. However, this year the at home germination rate has been dire. This therefore is something of an experiment, with seeds being sunk into the soil which in some places is rather heavy clay.

I would have direct some further chard and spinach-I have some chard, that in true trekkie fashion, is Vulcan chard-and would look pretty and be rather useful.

 

This is the first time that I am planting and sowing chard and spinach on the plot. I realise that these are going to need a lot watering; without being watered, and if they get too hot, the plants wilt and will also bolt. I am concerned about this, especially as Mama F has been known to leave minutes after having had breakfast to go water her spinach and chard.  I had thought that these were simple, something tells me that this isn’t quite the case!

Tomorrow, is another day and the plan is to continue with the plot. There are beds to be cleared and weeds to be pulled up.  The vulcan chard remains to be sown, and this will be the next thing to be done.

Weathering the strangeness

June has arrived, and it has been rather strange in it’s infancy. The weather hasn’t exactly been the best, confused and entirely erratic. We have had rather nice windows, punctuated by cold and chilly days reminiscent of early autumn.

With that, I have been looking at the tomatoes and squashes that were transplanted prior to the end of May bank holiday. (I was adventuring, and more on that later) Ordinarily, squashes grow like triffids; they are rapid, hungry and likely to take over the patch of ground into which they have been sunk. Looking at them though, they do rather look a little developmentally delayed. Perhaps it is early, perhaps I am overestimating them; but they should have started to get a wiggle on. I suspect that the inclement and inconsistent weather has some what confused them.

There are factions of the plot that are doing well, that are resisting the variance in the weather. Waking up from a slumber, the grapevines have started to send out leaves and bulk up on their frame. Small clusters of flowers and fruit have been spotted, and indicates that the vines are so far quite happy. Even the currant bushes are starting to flower and flourish, and look as though they have been strung with green pearls.

June, July and August generally involve garlic being harvested. In spite of the horrid weather, the Marshalls Heritage seed garlic appears to be romping away. It is a little wind burned, which given the windy nature of the site is not all that unusual. The foliage is still lush, green and is now nearly a metre high; it looks rather robust. It may be some time yet before the foliage starts to die back and become raffia like.

 

Unseasonable, but to sow anyway

This rather erratic weather does nothing to improve an already low level of allotmenteering mojo. Already feeling as though I am behind, hearing the hail come down as you return from the allotment  is not exactly encouraging or inspiring. Today was pencilled in as the opportunity to take stock and sow an assortment of seeds. With the frost window in Birmingham open til the end of May, I made the decision to sow squashes. These grow quickly, require potting on if they become too large to soon and will eventually need hardening off before being plugged into the raised beds on the plot.

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The squashes that have been sown are largely summer squashes. We have traditional green courgettes and a marrow, as well as patty pan, yellow scallop, a round variety and another that is white a green but also a space ship sort. The seeds have been sown into pellets, and will sit inside to germinate. What I have yet to sow are winter squashes such as pumpkins and butternut squashes. I am likely to either cheat or sow the seeds in the coming week or so. There are seeds saved from a couple of winter squashes that I will look into sowing again. There has always been a pumpkin on the plot, the plot would not be the same without a bruno.  Whilst I am not a big fan of marrows, my mum is; so that is why I have sown some. I am likely to share the seeds sown with her, so they aren’t all for me!

Squashes have generally been quite straight forward. Sowing and growing Cucumbers on the other hand, has been somewhat of a challenge for.In the past, I have sown quite a few, but slowly, one by one, by April they will have keeled over in a cold snap. April has so far been fairly horrible in terms of weather, so I am somewhat glad to have made a late decision to sow cucumber seeds. Swing is a new variety, have not sown that before. Whereas I have previously sown marketmore and crystal lemon. The latter have cropped, and produce a lovely round and yellow fruit that does actually have a lemony taste to it.

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The previous sowing  of beans was something of a disaster. I think it was just too cold and damp in the poly tunnel; so I making a second sowing and keeping at home. The hope that this will encourage a better level of germination, seedlings will be more robust and once hardened off, these can be planted out on the the plot. The varieties sown are scarlet emperor runner bean; a favourite and previously a very good cropper. The climbing french bean variety is blue lake, and this has also been very abundant.

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Sowing seeds is always somewhat therapeutic. I’ve now ran out of pellets, so the beans and cucumbers are being sunk into soil proper. I did give the compost a brief window to warm up, and then it was moisten with warm water. Otherwise there is an increased chance of rotting if everything is very cold and damp.

You can see the youtube version here.

There are a whole host of different seedlings that now require observation. The observation does happen to be carried out by mum, and is communicated to me along the lines of “Punam, shall I water your tomatoes, they look a bit sad.” Half of the time, she is right, but I do try and make sure that they aren’t over water. The tomatoes and chillies are actually still under fleece during the night time for now. There have been a few nights were where the temperatures were significantly under 10 degrees celsius. So I have been a little wary in leaving the seedlings exposed.

You can see the youtube version here.

tomatoflowering

When I hear the words “Punam, your tomatoes look a bit sad” I do tend to check, and see what Mum is suggesting. There are some varieties, such as ‘Cream Sausage’ that do look a little bit sad as they are quite feathery in appearance. These, I can look at double check that they are still with us. What you don’t expect, quite so soon, is a flower.  A bright yellow one at that. The label appears to have disappeared for the one in the picture, so I can’t determine what variety it is. The plant doesn’t look unhappy, but sending out a flower means that it is either too happy, or a bit stressed out. I will keep a closer eye on the plants and make a decision as to what to do next. It is most likely that it requires potting on, but I am going to hold fire with that for now. The plan is to plant the tomatoes in the open ground of the allotment. Last years experiment of having them all in the poly tunnel wasn’t very successful; and by and large, all the previous success has come from tomatoes being outside. Plants will need hardening off, and I hope that can be done in the coming month or so.

Bonanza Bountiful

The last month or so, has meant that a suspension of major play. Whilst an eye has been kept on the plot, and things watered; there has no been the windows of opportunity to have some major undertakings. This week, however, was a turning point. With the weather here in Blighty becoming brighter and more summery; the plot has seen a bloom of bounty occurring. There are of course weeds, that is to be expected. In some places though, the weeds are as thick as they are high. So this will form the basis of the much of the work done over the summer. I would not want to be in the same position as I was this time last year when the whole plot was carpeted top to bottom with weeds.

What we have seen, is a bounty and a booming one. The warmth and the light as caused something of a surge.

Potatoes and Cauliflowers makes for Aloo gobi. The cauliflowers were from Aunty tish, white excel. I believe. To date, we have had two healthy shaped and sized specimens. Mother was excited enough harvest and text me a picture. I was at a concert at the time!  That was the first. The second, was harvested for Aunty Indra. But it was not alone. No, it came with orla new potatos. We had already harvested a dozen or so, that Ma curried with some snowball turnips and ruby swedes. These were beautiful potatos, really very creamy and I found them to have a distinct salted flavour. As though they were ready salted crisps. There are kestral potatoes to take up, in the next stage of harvesting. All the potatoes in the raised beds are currently flowering. Well behind, are cara and sante potatoes. These are however, in open ground. Must harvest the third, and also have broccoli to come home too.

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Garlic and Shallots

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Been a busy day today, trying to get the various garlic and shallots up. Most of one bed has been cleared, but there is still a harvest remaining. There is quite a variance in the size of the different crops. The shallots are really quite small in their clumps, but a vast improvement on the crop from last year. Half a dozen clumps compared to three or for last year. The garlic, is the most interesting. Some of the beautiful pink bulbs are huge! Easily as big as my fist. There are also those that are tiny, no bigger than say a onion set. These are also the ones more difficult to dig out. I daresay, that this is weather variable, and a dependent on when they were sown. I have yet dig up any onions. A disappointment, as hundreds were sown. Garlic is now sat drying with the dry weather; the foliage will be chopped shortly.

Beans and peas are a sticky point. There are broadbeans, with their flowers following you around the plot as though they were eyes. But no beans and peas, in that there is one runner bean plant, and one pea. My fault, as I haven’t paid as close attention to them as I could have.

Courgettes and marrows are getting altogether exciting.

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Really must get around to harvesting them. The foliage is ever expanding, with leaves now being as big as dinner plates. The summer squashes are certainly doing well, though the like so patty pan and yellow scallop are somewhat behind. Have yet to see any sweet dumpling, or cobnut and any of the pumpkins.

Roses

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Chillies and peppers

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That would be Nigel, he is on a roll.

With Moolis and radishes, I have established, that I don’t like them. Dad likes radishes, so he had a few of those. The moolis, however, have been a challenger. And have bolted faster than a prized horse. Rather than chopping them down, have kept them for the seed pods. These can be curried or eaten as a snack.

Swedes and Turnips have been going well. Lots of foliage, and small half tennis ball sized fruits that Ma curried. Tasted quite nice these.

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There are loads of weeds, and cabbages to be sunk at some point. I am rather sick of lobbing caterpillars too. One of the broccoli plants was completely obliterated by the little critters. I will be constructing further raised beds. The level of success, is in my mind, a product of raised beds. A good part of today was spent collecting bags of grass to fill them with.

Things are most definitely looking up!

Yours in anticipation.

Horticultural Hobbit

Captivated

I swear that the sweet peppers in my classroom and be chillies in fact, are getting bigger by the day. There really is a tangible difference; in the height. Leaves are fanned out, basking in the day light. I don’t think it matters so much about the heat. The sweet peppers are standing to attention. Their stems becoming thicker and more robust. On both the Spanish mammoth and the purple beauty, there are small, tight flower buds forming. Loaded with promise. To think that they can get to a meter high. That would be as big the the window, then.

The purple rainbow chilli is equally illustrious looking. It is also fanned out. Compared to the pepper, the plants are some what dainty. But the number of flower buds is far greater than the majesty of the sweet peppers great broad leaves. The leaves are smaller, neater. Tinged with a shade or two, smudged purple. Little white fluffy flowers are just waiting.

We go from little fluffy, to big fluffy. The lipstick in the Wendy is blooming. The one flower, is larger than the dainty ones on the purple rainbow. Bigger, fluffier and you can’t miss it.

The chillies that were sat outside, have been brought back into the Wendy. Attacked savagely by slimers- I has to pick one up and lob it from the pot-they are going to be looked after. Cue blue pellets of doom. The chillies in the Wendy all need feeding, some form of acceleration. Compared to the ones in the classroom- the classroom ones are the top set-the contents of the Wendy are very, very, diminutive. The ones in the classroom do, however, get fed with the tomato feed almost religiously.

Moving again, from white fluffy, to bright, beautiful yellow. A bright, splash, of quilled yellow. That is the one single solitary flower, from the astia courgette. The courgette itself is no bigger than say my finger or thumb. But the flower is beautiful. Already, compared to last year, a courgette success.

Yesterday, mama H took a knife to the mustard and harvested it as saag. Harvested and frozen for dad’s
Dinner. Talking of radishes, he is being supplied with radishes as they come. I don’t personally like them; but he’s not complaining.

There is broccoli and also some white excel cauliflowers. The cauliflowers have been netted; but alas some stupid birdy has chomped on bits of the broccoli. So these were covered today.

Not bad for the moment.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Casting a clout

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The fleece is off! Not quite June, by 24 hours, but let’s go!

Mama H and I took a walk down, bits and pieces tucked under our arms. All of the squashes were uncovered as were the cucumbers, sweetcorn and the one tomato that was down there. Mama H huffed and puffed at me; taking off the fleece there. Whilst I was planting out broadband and dwarf French beans, Pops came by. As you do. With two big bags of grass clippings. These were then tucked around the potato foliage. Looking a big ugly, if I might add. Pops pottered around too. Surveying, it’s a Dad thing. I haven’t put the leeks out yet.

Avalon and sweet dumpling have taken a hit. Big leaves eaten. There are smaller, leaves starting to come through. The sweetcorn is 3×3 with yellow scallop and patty pans dotted in between. Looking a bit windburned actually. This years ghost rider has rallied, it looked a bit ropey last week. Womble-wonder which courgette that is-is looking a bit on the petite size; whilst Astia looks all right. Baby marrow is similar.

Cucumbers didn’t look too bad. A couple of crispy leaves. Four of the second sized tomatoes were planted out.

Planted out some Cherokee trail of tears. With the runner beans looking a bit scruffy; not sure if they will actually survive.

Cauliflowers and kale didn’t look too bad in their beds. Having raised beds is certainly making a difference. I’m not quite sure what Mama H is going to do with all her fenugreek and spinach. It does all look very green.

There was a moment of hilariousness. Mama H picked up a big fat black slug, and launched it; screaming at the top of her lungs that I had a big fat slug. It didn’t land far. I then picked it up after and I’m afraid to say; it was euthanised by being slung against a wooden fence. Don’t think it felt a thing.

Not a bad start, eh?

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Burgeoning

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Have made something of a transition, in shuffling things around onto the window sill.

The cucumbers and the squashes have been brought home and placed into the four tier blowaway. I don’t think that in the time that I have had it; it has ever been this full. The contents is getting bigger and bigger; and need hardening off. Am bit fearful actually, for the cucumbers. Might throw a bit of fleece over things tonight as they have been sat in a semi warm classroom. If they don’t make it through the night, that will be a problem.

We almost have a block of sweetcorn. Just waiting on a few more to germinate for security. I witnessed yesterday. The leaves of the sweetcorn transpiring. I have clearly over watered them! It was a wow moment that you had to be there for.

Another batch of runners have been sown. As have loads of petite poise and kelevdon wonder pea. Handful of caulis have been sown too.

Will update further soon!

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Germinate, germinate: Triffids arise

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This morning I was met with a very green looking unheated propagator. We have germination. Not just your average germination either, but that of would be triffids.

In the prop, the following have risen:
Femspot, marketmore and crystal lemon cucumbers
Yellow scallop
Cobnut
Two Avalon
Patty Pan
Ghostrider and Astia-sort of.
Sunburst and giant sunflowers

They are beautiful and green, standing there all proud. They will be in need of hardening off over time. Though I might send them out under cloches before long.

There are lots of sunflowers, that will also need to feel the sun on their faces.

The race for chillies and bells has ended. No more now to be expected. There are 22 babies, I think, sat on the window sill. That is more than enough to be getting on with; they will be staying there indefinitely and will be potted on accordingly.

I have to say that the purple ones are coming on rather strongly. I will have to identify properly later on which ones are which exactly.

Always nice to see the rise of the a triffids. Unless they keel over before the morning….

Yours on anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit