Monday, 12 May 2014

News from the garden

Today we ate the first radishes of the year straight from the ground and they were delicious. Much more juicy than ones you would buy, beautifully fresh and peppery. I have been sowing a few rows every couple of weeks since early April and now that the first few have been harvested I should have a continuous supply over the coming months. I went for a mixed seed pack giving me a few different varieties and from the two we tried there was a huge difference in taste between them. Another reason to grow your own, there are so many varieties of every vegetable that you might never get to try if your only getting them from the supermarket

There are now also plenty of plants in the polytunnel that are ready to be planted out. The runner beans (moonlight) have now been taken out and will be left outside for a couple of days to harden off prior to being permanently sited. I've sown about three times as many as pictured above and am now beginning to wonder where to put them. I've sown the same amount of borlotti beans too, these are hugely versatile in the kitchen and can either be eaten fresh or dried and stored for months. These will fill a gap in the colder months when growth slows almost to a standstill on the veg patch, so the more space I have for these the better.

The tomatoes (Alicante) that have gone into the bed in the polytunnel are really thriving now. A tip for planting these, that I picked up from all my winter reading, is to break off the bottom sets of leaves before planting and then make sure it is planted deep enough to cover over where they originally were. This should then go on to create a new root and make the plant stronger. It really looks to be working they are strong and healthy and should soon be in flower. The variety Alicante should also be hardy enough to grow outside so I may risk a few in a sheltered, sunny spot. After all space in the polytunnel is at a premium and should really be reserved for the more exotic or less hardy varieties. These were plants that I started off inside the house back in February so are a bit ahead of others.

I also have some in the polytunnel that were started a month or so later. I had planned to sell my excess plants but at the moment I think if I really want to be as self sufficient as possible I may need all the plants I can grow. Again though it may be a matter of space as to what makes the cut.

One thing I am really pleased about is the courgettes that I planted in the bed inside the polytunnel. if they continue as they have been doing I fully expect to be eating home grown courgettes at the beginning of June.

Meanwhile on the veg patch my onion sets have started to grow, my second early and maincrop potatoes have been earthed up, and my broad beans are just beginning to flower. The red and green cabbages that I have been growing under cloches are now big enough to stand up for themselves, if anything the cloches are now restraining them rather than helping them.

The Chard however, which is growing alongside the cabbages doesn't seem to have grown any bigger in weeks.I not too sure why but you can't win them all. I have sown some more in the polytunnel so these will go out with a handful of well rotted manure going in first to give them a kick-start.

With another week of sun ahead of us It's good news for all us gardeners, things should continue to push on and I should be eating fresh, home grown fruit and veg everyday.

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