May 2010 

 

                                                                            

  

May 1st.

Well,another month and still no rain for a good 3 weeks now.

                         

Finally after watering every night for a fortnight all my beetroot and carrots have germinated which is good.

I'll thin them to about an inch apart initially and then the beetroot to about 4-6" and the carrots to abot 2" a bit later on.

One important  thing though when thinning Carrots is to remove all the discarded thinnings from the plot as the smell can attract the dreaded Carrot Fly.

                         

Similarly all my lettuces are now through as are my 15 foot row of Spring Onions !!

I just sow one long row of these and they last me all year as they just end up getting enormous by Autumn time and you only need pull one when they're as big as a leek.

                  

I'm really chuffed with my Pea Germination this year as last year it was really patchy.

All I did differently this year was to,instead of sowing them 1-2" deep as normal,I just literally covered the peas with a little soil maybe half an inch deep.

Planting too deep too early in cold soil can lead to them rotting before germinating so I'm going to do this shallow sowing from now on as it seems to have been almost 100% effective.

                         

My early spuds are all through now but as there is a bloody frost forecast for this weekend I'm going to draw some soil over the emerged leaves to protect them and initiate the "Earthing Up" stage.

                                    

Over in my excuse for an orchard my Cherries have only just started to come into flower !! May ??

This is great stuff as we have a frost forecast which will really mess things up.

                         

No probs in the tunnel though with the potted strawberries all coming into flower.

I might even be picking the odd one within a few weeks.

                         

The Cabbage plants are motoring ahead and should be about ready for planting out in a week or so once their 3rd set of true leaves have started and the leeks are doing pretty well and should be about ready for transplanting in 2-3 weeks.

                         

And finally my Tomatoes are doing well in the shared Greenhouse but a re producing loads of side shoots.

These need to be removed as early as you can by simply pinching them off,but a word of warning,If you are growing a Bush variety then just leave them be.

May 8th.

 Decided to plant outmy Cabbages.I plant mine out once the 3rd set of true leaves appear and plant them up to the bottom of the 1st set of leaves.

             cabbage plants             cabbage protection

It's important to really firm the plants in well.I made some netted cloche thingys to keep the Cabbage whites off and they do work until the leaves touch the sides if you get a giant one growing..

             courgette             french beans

Planted out a couple of Courgettes in the polytunnel,I know it looks a bit pathetic but they really thrive inside and I get a good 40+ courgettes of each one.

Planted out the Climbing french beans "Cobra" too.

             lettuce seedling             carrot thinning

Time to thin out my lettuces to about 2" apart and the carrots to 1".

I'll thin the lettuces out to about 4" and then finally about 10-12" taking the small lettuces home as a small crop.

The thing to do with Carrots is to remove any thinnings completely from the plot as the smell can attract the carrot fly.

                          rhubarb flower

My Rhubarb has decided to send up a gigantic flower spike.The only thing to do is to cut it off.

                                       pea support

I feel confident enough that no mice will attack the peas now so I've removed the mouse mesh which stopped them being dug up.

This is my way of growing peas,up chicken wire and canes then every now and then adding some garden string to tie up any stragglers.

May 15th.

Well,nothing to report but a bit of doom and gloom this week.

                         

With frosts forecast I had to keep earthing up the potatoes to try to protect them but still some of them got a bit damaged.

My Courgettes also got damaged even inside the polytunnel but strangely the French Beans remained unaffected.Pretty strange that ??

                         

As well as the nights and days remaining really cold,the lack of any rain up here for almost 2 months is turning my plot into a dust bowl.

So nothing is really growing at the moment.

                         

And as I don't have any mains water up here I'm totally reliant upon what I can collect from the polytunnel in waterbutts.

I managed to get around 2000 litres over the Winter but now all that has run out.

So I'm really praying for just a couple of nights of heavy rain and the weather to warm up a bit.

Otherwise I can see all my Lettuces,shallots and Onions bolting to seed due to the lack of water.

May 22nd.

Well,what roasting weather,hit 27c in the shade today.

Finally got my butternut squash plants out into the polytunnel beds and the frost damaged spuds outside seem to have recovered.

             butternut squash              earthing up potatoes

The squash are a new semi bush variety which don't trail as far as usual ones.

             pea plants             sweet pepper plants

My peas are really motoring along in the heat and I'm doing my best to keep them as well watered as possible despite my lack of water.

The sweet pepper plants have finally started to grow after what seems an eternity.

             strawberry            

Again inside the tunnel I have my 1st green strawberry,with any luck I might get a ripe one before June.

I also decided to transplant all my Leek plants outside.

Not the ideal sort of weather to do it in but they'll be OK.

             leek plants            

As the leeks are about 9-12" tall they're ready to transplant.The 1st thing to do was to separate them into single plants .

                          

Then using a dibber or a chair leg in this case I make holes about 6-7" deep.

I'm a bit short of room so I only space them 6" apart in rows 12" apart,ideally you'd make them 12"x18".

I don't bother to trim off any roots or any tops like some do because in my opinion it doesn't make any difference to the final crop,I simply pop one leek in each hole.

                                    transplanting leeks

Then carefully just fill the hole with water which washes just enough soil off to cover the roots.

Don't fill the hole in as this will get soil and grit in between the leaves,the leek wil slowly fill the hole in as it grows as will the rain.

If you want to see me doing it in glorious technicolour then click on the video below.

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That's it for this week folks.........

Thanks a lot for looking .

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