Mar 30, 2011

Big Love For BST…

I love British Summer Time at the best of times but since starting to grow my own vegetables, I now have a new found love for the clocks going forward. After getting in from work on Sunday night at 6:40pm, there was still a good hour of light left so whereas the day before, I would have slouched on the sofa to chill out, I was upstairs changing in to my garden gear and out on to the veg patch. I had wanted to make a start on sowing my carrots and spring onions direct and by 8pm the whole bed was done. I even had time to lay down the fleece to keep them warm, a good job as a sharp frost came through the night unexpectedly.

Having read and reread how it’s imperative to sow carrots thinly, I found a tip where if you mixed the seed with some sand, it effectively diluted the dose. Add this to the other tip I had found where to know which was seed and which was weed, place sand over the tops of the sown seed so anything growing outside of the sand line would there for be weed, I was playing in the sand like I was back on Skeggy beach.

You can just about see the sand lines through the fleece in the picture below. The fleece also doubles up as a barrier against carrot fly so for £1 it’s a true bargain. The only problem/mistake was I didn’t measure the carrot bed and a 5m fleece comes up short with 75cm left. A quick cut of another fleece to cover this gap meant I was quite pleased with myself until I realised I now have a gap for the carrot fly to get in through. How clever are they?

Carrot Bed

Now that my broadbeans are in the ground, they have come under attack from something, the remains look very much like the leaves out of my son’s very hungry caterpillar book lol so if one has been munching away, then I’m unsure how to deal with them :/ I’m also unsure how much damage they have caused, ie; will the plants now struggle to grow or come under infection?
nom nom nom

nom nom nom nom

Am I a butterfly yet?

 My tomatoes are doing well. It’s easy to see why they are so popular to grow as their growth rate is phenomenal and very pleasing to see. Out of the 30 seeds sown (20 Gardeners Delight, 10 Nectar F1), I have a success rate of 28 out of 30. A very acceptable level as I have read some packets can be around 60%. Not only did all 10 Nectar F1 seeds germinate, but the extra 2 also came up. I’ve no idea if another good reason for using F1 seeds is their success rate or not but I’m really happy with the result. Now I just need to find a home for all of them as I doubt they will all fit in my greenhouse.

From right to left then is 9+6+2 of the Gardener’s Delight, 2 germinated peppers, and 5+6 Nectar F1’s.

Cherry Tomatoes Galore

My overwintering onions have been growing now for around 6 months where as my summer ones have only had a couple of weeks in the ground, yet they seem to be catching up their cousins at an alarming rate. I will have to see how both fair and decide whether to grow just overwintering ones from later this year or wait and plant out the summer ones in just under a year as I can’t see much benefit in growing both if they are to come up at nearly the same time so again time will tell.

Overwintering Senshyu Yellow

Summer Stuttgarter

The greenhouse is warming up considerably now and when I pop in there around 9am it’s already touching 20c. When it was 14c outside last week I was sweating inside as it topped 29c. No wonder you need to open the top window in the height of summer. The high heat seems to be popular with spiders though so I hope they repay me for leaving them alone by eating all the bugs that enter.

It's getting hot in here...

The higher temperature of the greenhouse means sowing seed in there is great fun. I’ve started off some Sunflowers which I want to plant as a border between the veg patch and the house and I’ll have to get them in the ground not before long otherwise they’ll grow out of control in there but then I got thinking. I wonder if anyone has ever grown a sunflower in a greenhouse before. I know they can grow taller than the greenhouse but there is that window at the top that opens up J I won’t be trying it this year though as with all them tomato plants I’ll struggle to move in there during the height of summer.

Finally whilst taking my pictures, our kids think it’s funny emulating me. I’m there composing the shot and out of the corner of my eye I see two giggling girls. 2 years old and they’re taking the micky out of me, oh dear.

Funny girls