Monday, 20 June 2011

May 18th

What Not to Do, No.238:
- leave things un-picked, so they go over, and you have to pull them up. As with my leeks here. Actually I think we did eat another one or two after this point, but then they put up flower spikes and turned woody. Note to self: bit dim to grow stuff and then leave it in the ground. They got all through that winter, too.

Three types of lettuce, all of which seem pretty snail-resistant, at least going out as plantlets. Lollo Rosso, Red Oak Leaf, and, um, I forget what the green one is. It's nice and crisp, though. I think the oak leaf will be a regular - pest resistant, very attractive, and substantial leaves with a crunchy rib. I'm going off Lollo a bit; it does tend towards limp.

Some alpine strawberries and a jazzy (dead) beetle.

I love my purple geraniums and their feathery leaves. They even flourish in a shady border; bless them.

What Not to Do - No.237 (May 5th)

- grow sunflowers from seed indoors, when they have sown themselves in the beds so generously from last year, and seem to thrive *much* better that way. Compare the long weedy individual that I grew in the lean-to, with the beefy youngsters (shorter, but much stouter) that reared themselves outdoors.

My Bijou Giant Mange Tout, getting a much better start than the Golden Sweet did, although they still struggled in the subsequent dry weeks:

Most excitingly, my blueberries have flowered and set! I bought two plants at the end of last year, knocked down to about a quid each in the local Focus store (now defunct - shame, as it was good for knock-down bargains).

Prettily-coloured pansies: mauve on the back, orange and yellow on the front. Here they're at the feet of a blueberry plant.

A hoverfly, sunbathing. Looking back as I write, in damp-mid-June, I'm nostalgic for those sunbathing days already. I hope May and April didn't constitute the entire summer.

What Not to Do - No.236 (May 1st)

- put your peas (Mangetout Golden Sweet, in this case) out on the beds in their tray, ready to plant them up, and then forget about them for a few days in the warm sunshine. Result - rather yellow, barely-surviving pea plants. Oops.
The very beginning of May, this was. I was in two minds - junk them, or plant them out anyway and see how they do. I did the latter, and now, having seen how they did, I think the former would have been wiser. (I did however then plant some more, direct into the soil, amongst the feeble ones, so all is not lost.)
It didn't help though, that the weather was then warm and dry for weeks, and although I watered, it probably wasn't enough for them to catch up after that bad start. Though, I think they were probably too far gone, anyway...

Here they are, hopefully planted out. To add to their troubles - this bed really needs improving. The two beds nearest the cherry tree are rather dusty; I must add some 'organic matter'. The strawberry plants don't seem to find it a challenge, though.
Don't worry - I did add some string for them to climb up. They are now producing the odd pea, though the plants haven't climbed very high - nothing compared to the luxuriant wigwam they achieved last year.