20 May 2018

Six on Saturday: Mid May in the Veg Patch

Honey bee on chive flower


May is the token first month of summer and it's been a corker.  Everything that looked a teeny bit dismal in the middle of April has burst into life, seeds are germinating, bees are buzzing and it's a real pleasure to be outside in warm sunshine.  This is a novelty as I usually associate May with the sort of unpredictable weather that makes it hazardous to plant out beans and sweet corn that I've nurtured indoors. This year I've sown my sweetcorn seeds straight into the ground having seen last year that direct sowing produced much stronger plants than those I transplanted.

That doesn't mean that I don't have plenty of seed sowing going on indoors - my windowsills and balcony are filled with seeds in paper pots. The downside to that is that paper pots are so easy to make, and plastic trays readily available as drip trays, that it's highly probable that there won't be enough space for all the plants I've sown.  I'm going to guess I'm not alone in this ...

My six for this Saturday:



This first flower opened today; I think it's Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). It reappeared in the quince tree bed after I cleared a huge amount of dead scented geranium and overgrown golden oregano from the area in late spring.  To be honest, I had no idea it was there although I remember putting a small plant in a few years ago, had daisies that summer and then nothing for the past couple of years. I guess clearing the ground gave lingering seeds the chance they needed to germinate!  (And this morning the flowers were a magnet for aphid eating hoverflies - win:win!)


Purple asparagus stems

I harvested my second round of Purple Pacific asparagus (five stems!) at the beginning of the week; they were sweet and delicious.  I only have three crowns left from the original five in my square metre bed so thought that might be IT for this year but noticed today another three stems pushing through. Exciting (and delicious) times! It feels so good to be gathering food from the garden already after a winter of very little.



While I was out on Friday, two bags of Dalefoot's new Bulb Compost were delivered to my door.  At the Garden Press Event back at the end of February, I signed up for a couple of bags to trial and this is perfect timing as I have an old tub of lilies, about to flower in about 4 inches of ancient compost.  I found a rather more lovely pot for them,  put 4 inches of delicious fluffy bulb compost at the bottom, then the bulbs (lifted wholesale from the old pot with just a teensy bit of loose compost brushed away) and topped everything up with more bulb compost. Back in the garden they were given a good watering.  It's a good feeling to shower a bit of love on hard working plants!



 Crisis averted! Seeds vs seedlings vs plants is a daily juggle on my tiny balcony with no space to spare. I'm sure we all know that one, yes? It's a squeeze out there and a tiny tray of coriander seeds that had recently germinated after a very long wait was, I thought, safely balanced ... but, as I squeezed round the door ...  Oops a daisy!  Luckily I had pots and compost to hand (in my living room, of course - welcome to second floor gardening) so quickly potted them on.  Whew! A quick save which seems to have worked, in fact is probably very timely!


Achocha seedling

I've grown Achocha, a South American member of the cucumber family, for a number of years now.  They always grow really well in my veg patch, getting around 6 hours of sunshine a day (when available!) and can get up to 20ft (around 6 metres) long. So this year, I decided to grow something else unusual and give achocha a miss.  Or not.  Yesterday I spotted several self seeded achocha plants growing behind the broad beans, looking very strong and healthy and I'm not one to waste a good plant.  So I'm going to need more than one arch this year as the other unusual edible I'm growing is Luffah (aka bath sponge but edible fruits when young) and with the current number of sunshine hours will grow as big as the achocha - yikes!



Lastly (sixthly?), the oca gifted to me by my friend Tanya who writes the Lovely Greens blog (also check out her You Tube channel) has emerged overnight.  So looking forward to this one; it's a first time growing this for me.

Enjoy the weekend weather everyone - let's hope it lasts - and may your gardens be ever bountiful.


12 comments:

  1. Does that mean you'll be growing bath sponges as well?!

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    1. THAT's the crop I'm hoping for! Although I doubt there will be enough heat here for the gourds to mature before winter. Still, gotta give it a go, eh?

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  2. No...you are not alone in your "too many seedlings, not enough space" conundrum :) I'll be transplanting a group of ornamentals today and it will be a rather haphazard affair. I have many more than will fit in the spots that I've allotted to them being as I can only plant them within the fenced veg garden or the family of rabbits will have a feast, as was the case last year when I ended up zinnia & calendula-less.

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    1. Gardening is not easy, is it! You have rabbits, I have cats and foxes and others have deer; nature is never far away, even in a city! I need new fencing around the veg patch when I have time but the real battle this week is slugs - I lost a row of peas in the recent rainstorms! :(

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  3. Lovely post! I do envy you that bulb compost, I'm afraid it's too late for my lilies! I am wondering if the slow germination of toms, peppers etc is a compost problem! It's been scorchingly hot for days now and still nothing, given they were good quality seeds, it has to be the compost.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Dina - Don't give up on your lilies, mine have flowered for several years through neglect! Also, I found quite a lot of my seeds didn't germinate in the heat but, once I brought them back inside (windowsills, again, *sigh*) quite a few of them germinated. Because of the late spring, I bought three tiny tomato plants from a garden centre as well as sowing seeds (which then all germinated) so it looks like I'll have early and late tomatoes this year.

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  4. It doesn’t ,alter how much space you have, it is never enough! I tried growing o a and nothing appeared above soil so you have already got further than I did.

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    1. Too true, Sue! The list of what I wanted to grow would definitely expand with more space so the problem wouldn't be resolved. Maybe you should try again with oca? I didn't plant mine out until the soil was really warm so I guess that helped.

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  5. Good luck with the luffas! I did try once, many years ago, but didn't get very far with them. It would be fun to serve dinner guests immature bath sponges ;)

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    1. I'm worried that the summer won't be long enough to mature the fruits without having a greenhouse - but I guess I said that about achocha and now they self seed all over the veg garden!

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  6. I had a touchy feely experience of the Dalesfoot seed compost at the Malvern Show Caro - it was beautifully crumbly and completely lump and bump free so I will be ordering some very soon :) Hope that you've had a good weekend.

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    1. It's my absolute favourite compost, Anna. Have a look at nearby garden centres - I spoke to Dalefoot's at Chelsea and know that they're working on getting more garden centres to stock them. It will be more expensive than a bag of Morrison's best but is longer lasting and much, much better for your plants! xx

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