It’s been 6 months since the naissance of my blog and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about my plot as well as reading about others’.
As everything is in full swing now I thought it may be interesting to do a quick tour of the plot.
The nigella, verbena and unidentified rose are throwing out blooms left, right and centre. Underneath the rose bush centre and right is salvia, freesia and one or two day lilies which got slugged.
Directly in front of the rose bush is a mixed bed. Calendula for the border, leeks, 2 brassicas, sunflower, just sown radish and the green string marks out carrots sown 2 weekends ago that haven’t yet come up.Top left corner is a dahlia which got slugged but is just recovering. Bottom Left in the shade is a squash. On the right of the bed the 2 rose bushes are new plants, 1 scented and 1 to look pretty. The white bucket is soap spray for the assorted pests I predict will make a visit soon.
Next bed along and again, in front of the flower bed is mixed beans; Yellow dwarf French bean ‘Minidor’, ‘Wachs Beste von Allen’ & ‘Kinghorn Wax’. These have had the first attack of black fly but the soap spray seems to be holding them at bay. The Tagetes have begun to get a steady stream of visitors such as hoverflies. I feel like I’m doing my bit for the insect world this year! Lastly, at the bottom of the bed running the width along; but so small you cant see them are my garlic chives. I have visions of garlic pesto next year if it all works out.
This bed is to the left of the greenhouse and in front of the Anderson shelter. The left of the picture shows a rather miserable looking row of peas. They have been slugged, battered by the wind and have produced zero peas as of yet. I havent the heart to pull them out so they still have a chance to do themselves proud. In front of the peas are iceberg lettuce and wild rocket. They’re adapting to being set free from modules so are tiny, but looking more sturdy each time I visit. There are bunches of red welsh onion and a squash to the right of the rocket. Up top right there is a dahlia which is now fully recovered from frost bite, left are dwarf beans, untouched from black fly so far.
Next along is an experiment in companion planting. We have cabbages ‘Wheelers Imperial’, ‘Golden Acre’ and ‘Savoy’ hidden in amongst calendula and wild sown poppies. The gaps have been plugged with spring onions and red welsh onion. The calendula has turned a bit thuggish so has had several thinnings to allow the cabbages to grow. I have had very little pest damage so far. I am hoping the poppies turn into the same peonie pink ruffles variety as my neighbour grows. I did try them from seed in my first year but they didn’t take kindly to the soil. Fingers crossed ey?
My poor windswept peas of the last post are up next. They grew superbly and I had them flowering before my neighbour’s plants were an inch tall ( I still feel smug now!) I will admit I was over zealous with the spacing and these are planted way too closely together. Last year I got a measerly 1/2 freezer bag of peas. I have done 4 pickings so far and have half a bag of peas. It’s a lot of effort for something which is so cheap in the supermarket but home grown taste is unrivalled by anything you can buy. There’s a calendula and nasturtium border in this bed which the bees adore. I watched a turf war ensue on Saturday between a small honey bee and it’s bigger fluffier cousin. Neither won, instead retiring to opposite sides of the bed to have a rest.
Leading up the edge of the plot to the right of the photo is my potted orchard and my fruit bushes. Some minor pickings have occured but no real harvest of soft fruit yet apart from the strawbs.
As per the man’s instructions we have plenty of onions this year.One bed each of red, white and shallots. Rogue sunflowers have appeared from the birds which I have left to see what the flowers are like.
I think the raspberry bush in the far corner of the plot is diseased; crumbly, dry berries, streaking and curling leaves. It will get dug up later this year. Not sure yet what to fill the gap with. Maybe a tiered strawbery planter?
At the far right of the plot was a bed of second earlies ‘Charlotte’. I harvested them yesterday and got a very respectable 7kg. I don’t like them too big, the size of a large duck egg is good enough. I have replaced them with my backup sweetcorn and 2 rows of direct sown peas ‘Early onward’ and ‘All season’. The right side of the bed is free for now. I have some replacement courgettes that I have just sown and I plan on putting them in there once they make an appearance.
Next is the middle bed at the back of the plot. Partially obscured by the seeding parsnip which has been making a bid for the skies in the last month or so. Top left are cutting sunflowers, underplanted with courgette ‘Jemmer’. Top right are leeks , in the shade are cauliflowers ‘All year round’ and ‘Romanesco Natalino’ , bottom right more leeks and cosmos. Bottom left are swede ‘Best of all’.
To the left of the plot is a shade / climbers bed. Around the bottom of a rather ramshackle munty frame I have peas ‘Kleine Rheinlanderin’ , sweet peas and runner beans. In front of the beans I have spinach which is growing so fast I cant keep up with it. In front of that I have 3 types of beetroot; ‘Chioggia’ , ‘Egyptian flat root’ and ‘Albina ice’. Again there are two rogue sunflowers. Rather annoyingly they are bang in the middle which makes it more difficult to pick the spinach but I like the flowers too much to uproot them.
In front of the beetroot bed are my 1st lot of sweetcorn. Unfortunately not all survived their first few weeks outside due to the slugs but the rest have grown big and sturdy. I have squash top and bottom right.
Next to the sweetcorn is a bed which hasn’t had much planted so far this year. I have 2 parsnips and a carrot which I want to save seed from. The flowers are rather pretty and the ladybirds are treating the parsnip like a high rise apartment. To my satisfaction I have seen them breeding and snacking on aphids. They have spread out across the plot, reaching the inside of the greenhouse now. I have built a bug hotel / wood pile next to the compost for them to spend the winter in.
Below the sweetcorn to the middle left of the plot I have sweetpeas, climbing bean ‘Cobra’, leeks ‘Musselburgh’, calendula, tagetes and cosmos.
Next bed along and next to the plot entrance are nasturtiums, tagetes, dwarf french beans ‘Purple Queen’. The black fly have been particularly virulent here and lashings of soap has to be sprayed on each time I visit. In the top right is a squash and in the block of shade I have just sown pak choi. Behind the tagetes but not noticeable due to the shade are a row of leeks ‘Bleu de solaise’.
The middle of the middle part of the plot is taken up with maincrop potatoes ‘ King Edward’, ‘Desiree’ and ‘Maris Piper’. Again this was a request from the man who has expressed a wish to have a storage bin overflowing with spuds all year long. I feel that I am on track for that! I experimented by planting some climbing beans in the gaps in the potatoes but the spuds grew faster than expected so it didnt really work.
The final bed is in front of the potatoes. Top row are cosmos, in front of that are rows of spring onions ‘White Lisbon’ and carrots ‘Manchester table’, ‘Jaune obtuse de doubs’ and ‘Touchon’. I have some brassicas in the middle of the bed which I think are ‘Early purple sprouting’ as well as 2 cabbages. Bottom left are peas ‘Carauby de mausanne’. Bottom right are some more leeks. Around the outside of the bed are tagetes, poached egg plant and dames rocket which have mostly been slugged hence the gaps in foliage!
In the greenhouse the chillis and peppers are beginning to flower. There has been a plague of greenfly that has spread all over the aubergines. I’m not on top of it yet but my ladybirds are hard at work so I’m sure together we will beat them into submission.
Near the eaves of the roof I have put mini shelves to hold my melons. These ones are ‘Ogen’ and I have ‘5 Desserts’ and ‘Cantaloupe’ on the other side of the house.
For the first time in 2 years I have some measure of success with my herbs. I have dill, coriander, basil, parsley in different pots and when you brush by the smell os fantastic. Unfortunately I didnt take a picture of the toms,cucumbers or aubergines this week but they are slowly being potted into final buckets. Each tomato has basil and tagetes underplanted to improve health and flavour.
Finally, below are some of the flowers I have harvested so far. They are so beautiful and their scent is divine.