May Updates

What a difference a month makes. Warm and sunny one day then cloudy and cool the next followed by very high temperatures at the tail end. May 2017 has been a month of challenges. Not to be negative though. Planting out has been good: the celery and broad beans have almost enjoyed the cooler temperatures. In the greenhouse young seedlings simply stopped growing to any visible extent but raced away again in the last week. Anyway, here is the round up for this month…

Red Fantasy potato: growing strong

Some of the potato crop is grown in polypots (polythene bags) to give the main soil a rest. The one above is home to one tuber of ‘Red Fantasy’, a maincrop variety I found at a supermarket. Quite similar to Desiree in appearance but not available as a seed tuber it would seem. Until now.

Salad onions ready to plant out

Sweet corn: germination is always poor. I do nothing I shouldn’t. Warmth, moisture, fresh seed every year and then… 80% failure rate. The seed either fails to germinate or rots away. So it comes down to buying in seedlings from a local nursery. Better than no sweet corn at all. Similarly with courgette seed (but not pumpkins). There is one success story though…

Lingua di fuoco beans. A real pleasure to grow.

The climbing beans germinated fairly quickly (nine days). I grow climbers in preference to bush beans as vertical space is easy to come by at the plot. Lingua di fuoco is a borlotti bean and grows rapidly given plenty of water. My other bean of choice is Cobra – heavy crop of long straight pods.

Every year I get fidgety over when to plant out tomatoes. Nothing better to think about, you might say. Having lost plants to late frosts I weather-watch: any drop below 10°c and the fleece comes out! The photo above shows the tomatoes destined for the open ground. Hardened off over three weeks and ready for the first weekend in June. Only three plants? Well, let’s take a look in the greenhouse…

Left: Gigantomo Right: Mortgage Lifter

In 20 litre pots my beefsteak tomatoes see out the season. A greenhouse isn’t a greenhouse without them. 

Two Brandywine plants from saved seed. This is the third generation.

No chilis or sweet peppers this year: its all about tomatoes. I use so many in the kitchen that the 20lbs of fruit in my freezer lasted all of four months…

On the open ground, beans and peas continue to grow all albeit slowly.

Broad beans from saved seed

Planted out the French beans on 30th and protected them against bird damage…

You can’t touch this 😉

And finally, the first ripening strawberries of the season!

Thanks for reading May Updates. I’ll be back soon with more…

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