April 2009

 

                                                                            

  

April 3rd

Having some cracking weather at the moment so I've got quite a lot done in the last day or so.

                          

Planted out the Red Onion sets which are Heat Treated Red Baron.

The fact that they are heat treated should help to minimise the risk of them bolting or running to seed prematurely as red onions are prone to doing this.

The leeks are all germinating well.

                           

Planted some potatoes "Nicola" I just make a trench about 4-6" deep then sprinkle some blood fish and bone in the bottom then place the spuds about a foot apart and 2ft 6" between rows.

Then simply fill in the trench and sprinkle a bit more b,f&b over the top.

                          

I had to buy some more strawberry plants as mine ar getting past their best,I'd usually produce my own using runners but forgot to do that last year.

I find that growing 3 to a big 25 litre pot or 1 to a 10 litre full of 50% soil and 50% compost produces a great crop for a good 3 years and you can bring them into flower earlier by putting them in the greenhouse.

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Well today was the big day regarding the Giant onions.

Decided to plant them into their final positions in the Polytunnel Bed.

                                       

As you can see they are in great shape with a fantastic set of clean strong pure white roots.

Decided to dig all the holes before planting to make it a bit easier.

                                         

Took a while to do but got 16 in the bed at 18" spacings each way.Then I put the wire supports over to hold the leaves upright.

               

As you can see they're already huge for this time of the year so hopefully with a great deal of luck I might grow a really big one.

I'm not taking any chances with thrips this year so I'm going to put loads os sticky traps up all over to catch anything that flies.

April 5th

With the weather forecast looking like it's going to be wet for the next week I decided to sow a whole load of different veg outside today as the soil's nicely tilled.

I sowed 2 different varieties of Carrot,Early Nantes for early smallish ones and Autumn King for some larger ones.

I sowed 3 types of Lettuce,Little Gem,Saladin and Rocket in half rows.

Then a short row of Beetroot and Turnips and 2 different lots of spring onions,White Lisbon and another Red variety.

                                       

I sow all the seeds exactly the same way,just drawing out a shallow drill about 1cm deep using a cane against a straight edge.

Then just sow as thinly as possible,roughly 1 seed to every cm or so,then just fill in the drill.

I use the ladder so I don't ever have to walk on the soil and compact it.

                          

I sowed some peas too,Hurst Greenshaft.

I make a flat bottomed drill about 5 inches wide and 1-2 inches deep then put the peas roughly an inch apart each way in a 3 inch wide row,I know this is closer than most books recommend but you get more peas per foot this way.

                          

I have a big problem with field mice digging my peas up, but after starting using some 10mm metal mesh made into a gutter with 4 inch sides pushed over the row I've not been troubled since.

The mesh stops the mice getting at the peas and the plants simply grow up through the mesh holes.

So apart from the really tender stuff I'm about completely planted out,outside now.

I've just sown some cabbage and a red cabbage in pots for planting outside later.

                          

Talking of the tender stuff the Tomatoes are growing well and the peppers and chillies are growing slowly.

I'll be sowing my french beans,courgettes,cucumbers and squash in around a fortnights time.

                          

Just to give you some idea of how far behind we are up here,my daffs have only been out for a week.

The lambs in our field are just being born and tearing up and down the place.

Oh,that reminds me,I must plant some Mint this year.

April 12th

Another cracking day today so I decided to sow my Climbing French Beans (Cobra) , Courgette ( Defender F1) , Cucumber (Burpless F1) and Butternut Squash ( Harrier F1) a new semi bush variety ready in 90 days apparently.

If you notice they're mostly F1 Hybrids, which although a bit more expensive do produce better crops with far fewer troubles.

                          

The beans are just sowed 2 to a 3 inch pot only just covered with compost unlike directed on the pack which says to sow deeper,I find this helps them to germinate before they rot off,which can happen if sown too deeply in wet cold compost.

                         

With the other seeds I always sow them on their edge as the emerging shoot appears from an edge and the seed doesn't have as much resistance when it's being pushed up through the soil unlike if it was sown on its side.

Similarly with these,only just under the surface.

                         

Now I'll just shove 'em all in the heated propagator and they should start to sprout in about 3-5 days.

My tomatoes are growing too quickly !! they're about 3 weeks ahead of what I'd have liked.

They're about ready to plant out but it's much too early yet.

I'm putting this down to the growlights which must be doing the trick.

                         

The Rhubarb that I transplanted last winter has miraculously survived and is producing a few stalks,I shouldn't really harvest any the 1st year to build its strength up but I'm going to anyway.

The leeks which were sown earlier are about due for thinning out.

Instead of wasting the thinnings as usual Matt said he'll repot some for his Micro plot.

I'm attempting to stick some vids on the site so this is a first attempt,nothing exciting,just some of the local wildlife..

 

April 13th

Finally,we have some germination outside,the Shallots are sprouting as is the Garlic and also the Little Gem lettuce is just coming up.

              

My strawbs are starting to grow a bit in the warm weather and the few spuds I planted in the polytunnel are now through.

                          

Over on the big onion front I'm just managing to keep the frost off even with as many heaters on as I can manage.

The cold nights don't seem to have done them any harm though and they're looking good so far.

Just to give you an idea of the fluctuations in heat I took a photo of the thermometer.

                                        

Not ideal,but there's now't I can do about it.

April 18th

Things are really starting to sprout and germinate with all the cracking unseasonably hot sunny Yorkshire weather that we've been having lately.

                          

Radishes are coming up like cress and the Shallots are sending up loads of shoots.

                          

The Beetroot's spruoted and the Cabbage in the polytunnel's growing.

                          

The Tomatoes are going to have to be planted in the polytunnel as they're just getting too big and shading everything else,they're also sending out side shoots which need to be "pinched out"

I may try to root some of the bigger side shoots by just snapping them off and pushing them into a small pot of compost,they generally tend to take root pretty easily,and hey presto, another free tomato plant.

                          

All the Cucumber,Courgette and Squash are now up and out of the propagator.

The Leeks really need thinning out though.

                          

Chives anyone ?

A few years ago I sowed a few chives which have now self seeded themselves all over the place.

I don't mind as they are really decorative later on when they all send up hundreds of purple flowers before spreading their seeds yet further.

April 24th

Finally all my carrots have germinated and the onion sets are starting to grow,that's the trouble with heat treated sets,they take an age to get going.

                          

Likewise the peas,after what seems ages they're now coming through protected from any field mice by the metal mesh.

I decided to erect my normal pea support now which is just chicken wire supported by some canes which the peas cling to.

It's much better than that cheap flimsy plastic pea netting,and you can use it year after year.

                          

My strawberries which are now 4 years old and in the same pots are starting to flower and the few spuds that I stuck in a little bed in the tunnel are moving.

                          

The courgettes,squash and cucumbers are ploughing ahead.

                          

I had to plant the tomatoes in the polytunnel as they were getting just too big at home even though it's still a bit cold.

The Chillies and peppers are also starting to move with the recent sunny weather.

                          

Even my fruit trees are in blossom now but since I've never had a single solitary pear or plum off them I'm not hopeful this year either.

The Goosegog  bush and the Blackcurrants seem to have loads of flowers on though so I should be in for a bumper crop of those.

                          

Over on the giant onion attempt,after a scare regarding a bit of Botrytis on one of the onions apart from that they seem to be doing great.

There is just one thing concerning me though,the yellowing of the tips of some of the older leaves ?

I am at a loss to what it may be other than just the natural die back of the older leaves.

                          


 

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