I didn’t think I’d have anything to write about this week as, up until yesterday I’d only been down there a couple of times to do a quick water. I had planned to spend the day there on Wednesday with Michelle but we cancelled when Michelle checked the weather forecast and it was due to rain all day. As it turned out there wasn’t a flippin drop of rain all day which was a shame, partly because we’d cancelled our day unnecessarily but also because I was hoping the plot would have a nice soaking and the water butts would get some much needed water!
We did get some rain (and thunder and lightning – I love thunder and lightning!) on Saturday so I arranged to meet Michelle on the plot on Sunday morning which was due to be (and actually was) sunny. I hadn’t planned on doing much – it was more a case of being outside in the fresh air, not cooped up in the flat but, it turned into quite a productive morning.
The soil looked lovely after the fairly heavy rain the day before – rain always makes the plot look so vibrant (and much easier to weed!) so the plan was just to enjoy it and, maybe do a bit of weeding. In the end I did a bit more than just weeding.
Firstly, the strawberries. I am absolutely amazed at the amount of strawberries I’m picking this year. Last year was a bit of a poor show but this year we almost have too many. I almost always forget to take a container to put them in and this week was no exception. Luckily I’d taken my cup so I could have a cup of tea from my flask (which I forgot and left on the kitchen table!) so they went in there and Michelle had the overflow. I’ve been washing them and freezing them, then using them in my smoothies – yummy! Don’t they look gorgeous.
After I’d picked the strawberries I had a think about what else I can grow this year. I still have 2 spare beds – down to my awful spatial awareness and lack of planning. Last week I mentioned I had 1 spare bed left to fill but I forgot about the space between the sunflowers and the aubergines which I’m not sure counts as a bed but there is certainly enough space to put something in there. I still have lots of seeds in the shed including some Swiss Chard. I’ve never grown it before so I decided we’d give it a go. I felt the best place for it would be in the larger bed, next to Rhubi. After I started preparing the bed I remembered what Carolee said last week about putting the spinach in a shadier spot – this also meant I would have more space for the chard.
They’re definitely going to be in more shade next to the fence. This move left me with the whole bed free to plant the chard. Dan taught me an easy way to direct plant seeds last year – dig a shallow trench following a bamboo cane (have to have straight lines!) pop the seeds in and cover over. Simple! I managed to fit 4 rows of chard in the bed – maybe too much but, hopefully we’ll find out soon.
Ridiculously pleased with myself over this!
As I say, I moved the pots with the spinach in. It looked like a few of the plants didn’t make it as they looked a bit shrivelled. After I moved them I remembered the seeds I’d planted last week still in the greenhouse. My hopes weren’t high as I’m clearly not having much luck with spinach this year but, to my surprise there was one tiny little seedling just poking up through the soil! Hopefully I’ll be able to replace the dead ones and with a bit of luck (and thanks to Carolee) they’ll all survive in their new spot.
So, still one (small) bed to fill. Thanks to a new plot holder who offered me some of her spare plants I have partly filled the bed with kale and purple sprouting brocolli. Unfortunately, they’ll all need covering to stop them being eaten but I’m very grateful for the gift as finding anything to fill the gaps was proving impossible at the moment due to, I guess everyone being at home and deciding they want to start growing vegetables.
The peppers are doing ok and the dhalia is making a very strong comeback – I was really surprised to see all these green leaves as there was nothing there last week except a stump.
We had a lovely afternoon with mum on Friday. I’d ordered a takeaway afternoon tea from The Kitchen Croxley (the same cake shop the victoria sponge and chocolate brownie came from last week) When I ordered it, we were in the middle of a mini heatwave and I expected us to sit in mum’s garden, basking in the sunshine while we enjoyed our cucumber sandwiches and scones with cream and jam. I didn’t expect to have mum sit in the house while we sat in the garden wrapped in blankets!
Luckliy, shortly after we started eating, the sun emerged so mum was able to join us in the garden and we were able to discard our blankets and really enjoy our afternoon tea, which, as expected was delicious.
I think the pumpkin’s a goner! That lovely flower it had last week seems to have shrivelled and died. It’s such a shame as that was the only seed I managed to germinate. I’ll keep an eye on it this week (I gave it some plant food when I watered it yesterday which I hope will perk it up) but if it doesn’t improve I may have to call it a day and move the squashes in to its place.
The squashes, by contrast are looking great!
One of the cucumbers is looking a bit ropey too. Not sure what I’ve done/haven’t done to it but it’s another one to keep an eye on. Strangely, again it’s from the first packet of seeds where only one germinated – the other cucumbers from the second round of planting seem to be doing ok.
I’m pleased to announce the cauliflower protection stood up to the thunder and lightning. It needs a bit of tweeking which I’ll do next week but, overall I’m very happy with it. The only issue with netting over plants is it’s almost impossible to weed around them. I managed to take some photos of the cauliflowers but only by shoving the camera under the netting, pointing it in what I thought was the right direction and hoping for the best. It looks like the netting might be doing the job, as they all look, pretty much intact.
I left the plot this week feeling like I’m doing ok and happy with the way it all looks. Nothing in particular planned for next week apart from sorting out something to go over the newly planted kale and brocolli if I can.