Well,what a week of weather. Yet more red hot sunshine peaking at around the 27C mark.
Over in the polytunnel in the baking temperatures approaching 40C the more tropical plants are loving it. The courgette has really started to move as too have the climbing french beans "Cobra" which are starting to climb the canes.
The strawberry plants are even starting to set a few fruit now so hopefully there should be a small crop shortly,even though these are just 1st year bare rooted plants only planted a few weeks ago. The norm is to remove all the flowers the first year to strengthen the plants up for the to produce bumper crops in the next couple of years but the thought of this is alien to me,and If we get a Nuclear Winter like a few years ago they'll all be killed off anyway.
Also this year I've had a go at growing some tobacco,and so far it seems to be thriving. Not sure about the curing process yet but I just want to roll myself a homegrown 3ft cigar !
The peas have responded to the warm weather and are climbing the support now,the Kale too is starting to put on some leaf and I should be able to take a small picking of leaves shortly from the plants.
The Lettuce are growing away well now,I'm trying a new variety "Lettony" this year which seems pretty similar to the old variety "Frisbee" which was a really compact frizzy leaved variety which is no longer available since a supermarket bought the copyright and now uses it to supply it's own grocery department.
Beetroot and carrots are also finally starting to grow.
My potatoes in the 30 litre pots are flying along,I'm really looking forward to harvesting some of the new varieties that I'm trying this year like a red new potato "Red Duke of York" and a blue fleshed maincrop "Salad Blue" but more so the first earlies "Nicola" which are a superb waxy new potato.
The onions,shallot and garlic bed have also responded well to the recent warmth and are going well too.
Near home in part of a greenhouse that I share, my tomatoes are doing really well,I'm growing Shirley,Gardeners Delight,Sweet Million and a couple of the show variety "Cedrico" which are apparently pretty awful to eat but look good on the show bench.
I also bought a cucumber plant and It's already got 12 cucumbers on it and it's only 18" tall. I don't buy many plants, but at 60p off the market and a packet of the same variety seed costing £3 for 4 it seemed a no-brainer ?
Back in the field surrounding my plot there's an almost tame or very stupid wild Hare.
It doesn't bother me having it so close as my plot is totally rabbit proof and seeing such a wonderful animal so close is pretty cool.
Anyway I've updated the other pages "Exhibition Veg" and "Giant Onions" so have a look at them from the links at the bottom.
I also did a vid of me stalking the Hare commando style.click to play.Cheers.
Wow !! What a difference a couple of inches of rain makes.
After being at a standstill for what seems an eternit, things are finally starting to move.
The lettuce "Lettony" & "Little Gem" are almost ready to harvest and even the wild rocket's finally started to grow.
I'll thin out every other lettuce and eat them then let the others grow to maturity.
The half row of beetroot are away now too.
I've sowed another half row of the above in the empty half of the bed opposite so these should be emerging soon.
One thing that really reacts positively to heavy rain is Peas and the "Hurst Greenshaft" have put on a growth spurt and are clinging well to the support.
The Brocolli plants that sent out heads prematurely are still growing without any sign of it blowing to flower,so hopefully it should produce a reasonable head even on such a tiny plant.
Another thing that seems to be growing sucessfully so far and is a new one to me is the Banana Shallots from seed.
Each plant will produce just one shallot but so far they're looking pretty good and they take very little space up too.
Another thing I'd recommend is to grow some spring onions in pots in the tunnel or greenhouse.
As you can see these are ready now after just 9 weeks from sowing, and as there are about 40-50 per 9" pot they take up virtually no room.
The same ones outside in the ground are still minute,so this way is really good to get an early crop before the main crop's ready.
I'm amazed at the rate of growth of the bare rooted strawberry plants I planted just a few weeks ago.
Now they have plenty of decent sized strawbs on and I just need the sun to return to help ripen them off.
The medium sized cucumber plant I bought is also amazing me,it's now got 20 cucumbers on it and it's only 2ft tall,the first of which is about ready to pick,not bad for a 60p plant.
The courgette "Defender" in the tunnel is really starting to fly now and even has the first tiny little fruit forming......oh joy !
I hate courgettes !
The recent rain has made the spuds really start to put on some top growth,so much so thet you can't even see the pots anymore.
The early "Nicola" and "Red Duke of York" should be ready for lifting a week or so after the flowers open.
The Garlic,onions and shallots too are motoring and the overwintering onions are bulbing up so should be ready to harvest by about mid July.
I managed to get hold of some proper Watercress so I've planted it in a big pot and I'm just flooding it with water,obviously you can't overwater it but it needs to be kept wet at all times.
My peppers and chillies are really slow this year but are slowly starting to grow.
I'm not too confident about getting many ripe fruit though.
My flowers are finally starting to come out and when all the giant poppies bloom it's a pretty amazing sight.
And finally I transplanted all my leeks.
I did a video of the process below.
Click to play cheers.
Not much to report this week apart from pretty ideal growing conditions,loads of rain and a bit of sunshine.
Started harvesting a few of the small cucumbers,I'm getting one about every 3 days as they are dripping with fruit. There's a cucumber hanging off it about every 2 inches if stem. It' a really great variety.
I started thinning out the lettuce to 12" apart and eaten the thinned ones which are about half formed. Doing it this way seems to get an earlier crop and a greater yield instead of thinning out to 12" at an early stage.
Harvested all the shallots which are both my show ones and eating ones. They were a little disappointing size wise but needed lifting as the odd one was starting to start it's secondary growth which would make the bulb split again into 2,this is fine for eating but no good for showing. Most were around the 1.5" across mark sizewise.
And the brocolli which started to send out a head really prematurely when the plant was only about 6" tall continued to grow into a fairly respectable size despite it's lack of stature plantwise.
I've still got a few more forming plus secondary smaller shoots follow the main head.
I had a bit of a walk round the plot video cam in hand so here's the state of play as of the monday.
Click the vid to play below,cheers.
As I write this an hour after being up at the plot after 4 inches of rain and gale force winds blowing I'm not sure if there will be much left after tomorrow.
Anway earlier in the week I still managed to harvest a bit of stuff.
The courgette has produced a couple of fruit already.
This is the variety "Defender" and it's the most prolific vigorous variety I've ever seen,I've grown it for many years now and it will produce at least 50 courgettes right into September.
If you look at the 1st post this month you'll see the vigour as it was just a little plant then and in a matter of 3 weeks it's producing.
So if you want more courgettes than you'll ever want this is the variety to go for.
My small cucumber has already produced 4 cucs and there are another 8 on the plant.
Another amazing plant as it only has about 8 little leaves yet it's just chucking fruit out about every 2" of the vine.
My tomatoes are about the best I've grown for a while mainly because I sowed a bit later to avoid planting them in the greenhouse in really cold weather,I've also gone a bit daft and grown them in 30 litre pots this year which means that no matter how hot it gets the compost won't dry out in a day.
On the other hand,my peppers and chillies are growing pitifully slowly this year probably due to the cold dull weather.
The tiny ones on the right are the same "Prarie Fire" I grew last year and actually won with at Harrogate,not a chance though this year.
I used the same seed from last years packet and I'm of the opinion that older seed may produce crap plants ?
The Hurst Greenshaft peas are thriving in the wet weather and I'm starting to get the odd flower on,so a few peas should be appearing shortly.
I sowed another row about a week ago to hopefully get another crop later on.
The second batches of lettuce and beetroot are all up and growing now,so yet again hopefully another batch of these later on.
The Little Gem lettuce are almost ready now,these grow really quickly but don't stand for long as they do tend to run to seed after about 2-3 weeks from being ready so successive sowing is a must.
The Bloody Weather !!!
So as I said,about 2 hours ago now I was up at the plot and everything was getting battered,I managed a couple of photos.
Most of my onions leaves had been snapped or bent double,the potatoes were getting a real battering with a few of the stalks getting snapped too.
My Brussel Sprouts are now flat,the beetroot were spinning around and as for the giant marrows and pumpkins with 18" leaves god only knows.
Anyway by the end of tomorrow I'll know if I've got away with it or it's totally knackered up the year.
This is over the wall in next doors field which slopes directly onto my plot....great !
And if that wasn't bad enough,on the way home I had to reverse 200 yards as the bloody road was flooded too.