Things are going so smoothly…

Almost a month with no update?! Well, the patch is pretty much looking after itself at the moment. The weeds are on top of, and the dry spell has been perfect for hoeing those left and leaving them in the sun to dry out before being turned back in to the soil. The potatoes are very green on top, but sadly not much underneath yet so they’ll have to wait a bit longer…I think that cold spell early in the year has upset the timings, as they had all chitted fine when they went in. I may not have watered them enough either, so they’ll be getting their fair share over the next few weeks.

The cucumbers we started inside and then transplanted have not done particularly well either – but those that remained in the mini greenhouse look healthy still, so next year’s purchase must be a greenhouse of sorts, or a small poly-tunnel. The same goes for the tomatoes.

The rest is fine though – we started our mangetout crop the day before yesterday, and once you start picking, a regular watering will help the crop get larger. We ate our first (2) strawberries and (10) raspberries yesterday – not exactly a feast fit for the gods, but the unripe berries are promising a glut in a couple of weeks and onwards – yay!

The strawberries were getting ready for straw underneath them. This helps retain moisture in the soil underneath, helps prevent slugs from getting to the goodness that is a strawberry, and also stops the strawberry from sitting on damp soil and within easy reach of bugs. It also makes a decent mulch to stop weeds from ppping through – so last Sunday was also a day to build a surround for the strawberries so prevent the straw from blowing away, and to attach a net to as protection against hungry birds.

This picture shows the patch in full growth – I love to see this kind of photo, it makes all the hard work by the family so worth it! The children are eating mangetout straight from the plants – scrumptious! The peas haven’t faired so well with the early sowing so I padded them out with some new sowings – the same goes for the dwarf french beans. The broad beans are all present and correct, just need a bit of growth in the pods themselves now.

The onions are doing fantastically – especially the shallots which are getting to a decent size. The spring onions and pickling onions have a way to go yet but we’ll get there. The leeks are sat in the greenhouse almost ready to go out – a job for the weekend perhaps 🙂

As mentioned, the potatoes are huge, especially the first and second earlies, though not much under ground yet so I’ll wait longer. In theory we should have too many so there may be some garden gate sales happening, unless the parents-in-law are especially hungry.

The root patch is now full – the jerusalem artichokes look healthy, as do the corgettes that were originally cloched – the first is almost ready to pick. I have one hole to fill with another corgette plant so that will go straight in now. The children have also sown their pumpkins in this patch, as well as a couple in the compost pile, which started to show themselves a couple of days ago – exciting times ahead come Halloween! There are also butternut squash in here that are doing well.

The brassica patch has asparagus that are all still present and correct, and have just finished flowering. Nothing to eat this year from them, but I didn’t expect any to be honest. The cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli and sprouts are all doing well, and I’m not sure if it’s the CDs everywhere, but we seem to be butterfly egg free at the moment, though there are plenty of cabbage whites around! Hmm…

The patch that was originally going to be a fruit patch is still dirt. I’m keeping the weeds down, and had the intention of using roundup on the entire patch. Gut feeling has changed my mind, not wanting to use it where we may end up growing food to eat, so I”ve dug as much twitch out by hand as possible, and the larger clumps I will paint roundup on to, selectively. We’re going to cover this patch with weed control fabric for a couple of years to kill off any recurring weeds, and then I think it will most likely be a place for a greenhouse, or a flower bed for sales. Undecided as yet!

That’s where we are in a nutshell 🙂

Our work here is done…

…for now! For the first time I wombled down to the patch and just sat there, feeling quite content that the hard work by all was finally paying off and we’d started to eat the produce. Sometimes it’s just perfect to not pick up the hoe or spade,a nd to just appreciate the result of all that slog.

Planting Strawberries

Today was the day to set the newly arrived strawberry plants. First job was to make the wooden frame to border the plants, Smiler helped me with the sawing, and Jay helped set the straw around the plants to help check weed growth, put of slugs and snails, and help keep moisture in. Next year we’ll hopefully take the runners and have more from them.

As usual, the weeds are in full growth, as is the grass. Ian from next door is helping keep the grass down by topping it for us once the sheep have eaten it down, whilst Suz and Jay hoe – hard life!