The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Harvest of the Year

It was spinach picking day today - flower buds had appeared over the last few days with the warmer temperatures. I had been taking a few leaves most days for the last couple of weeks, along with the rocket which has now bolted. Fresh sowings of both were made last week. So I have pulled one row out completely and have experimented as per my RHS veggie-book-bible, and cut the other row back to about an inch above the ground to see if they re-sprout. I may have left it too late. I made a spinach, onion and cheese omelette for tea tonight, a few leaves are in the fridge and should keep for a couple of days and the rest (about 250 grammes) have been put in the freezer.

My dwarf beans are indeed dwarf having hardly made it up to the netting I have provided them. However, on inspection this morning there appear to be flower buds so hopefully beans will follow. I seem to be a voyeur of insects mating lately - not sure what these are (zoom in on photo) but they did not seem at all concerned with the intrusion of my camera.

The two tomato plants I bought at Paxton now have some tiny tomatoes on them and more flowers. I need to stake them up now. I don't know whether they will ripen outside - may be another use for the sunroom window sills. In the same family the potatoes are also starting to flower.

My peas seem to have survived the trauma of their transplantation. I am now sowing more in situ at about 10 day intervals. The first batch are growing nicely and I can see signs of the next lot breaking through.

The runner beans are varying in how well they are doing. The first Red Rum ones are climbing up their wigwam nicely, but the next lot don't seem to have quite got the hang of it yet. One is trying, but has stretched across to the next plant's pole. The Sunbright ones were a little slower to get going, but now seem to realise what the obelisks are for and have put a spurt on.

I am extremely pleased with my lettuces. I have been picking occasional leaves from the salad bowl variety, and the Romaine ones are looking very healthy. They should be ready for picking in another week or so.

I am having mixed luck with my cabbages. Currently a 60% survival rate with the ones I transplanted to the veggie patch. Hopefully they are now large enough to survive the occasional slug or snail grazing on them.

However, the ones I kept in the raised planters are looking a lot better. The second sowing of both summer and winter cabbages that I made a month ago have almost all germinated and now have at least one pair of true leaves. I had almost given up on the first sowing of curly kale but three plants have started putting on real growth now.

The third raised planter is also getting in on the act, being used for second sowings of lettuces, spinach, carrots and kale. The radishes and replanted onions are also in here.

Not everything in the garden is rosy though.

The Amsterdam forcing carrots in raised planter one are down to maybe one or two plants if I am lucky. The Supreme Chantenay carrots are faring better and hopefully I will get a reasonable crop - the tops are now a reasonable size. I think my idea of replanting the thinned plants was not worth the effort though. I am not sure what the problem is - I am guessing a combination of slugs/snails/voles and Jen. Paul has put mousetraps in planter two as vole holes and little tunnel/mounds of soil have appeared in the last week or so.

My onions and leeks are also not progressing as well as I would like. I guess there is still time for these to thicken up.

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