Monday 25 June 2012

Has Summer arrived ?

According to the weather forecast up here, we are to see a mini heatwave this week - this could last all of three days ! I hope we do see some sun, as the veg certainly could do with it. First up is a shot of the greenhouse floor

The floor of my 8 x 6 is currently home to what remain of my Kelsae, bought as plugs from Mr Fothergills - nowhere near as large as some of the onions my friends in the NVS have but as I have never tried large onions before, we'll see how they do now that the longest day has passed and they should satrt to bulb up.  These will over the next few days, all find their way out of their 5 litre pots and into the 25 litre tubs that three are in already (the red tubs at the back of the photo.It ios also a temporary home for another six chilli plants though these will be going into the house as soon as I can get some more pretty bowls to hide the pots - wife's orders!
My six Cedrico have strated to put on a spurt - not before time - and will hopefully keep spurting as the root system gets larger.. There are also a coule of caulies that are yet to be planted out - ned to get some space for them somewhere, but it ain't easy now.
Also in the greenhouse are my French Beans which are also getting a spurt on......

Outside, in the barrels we have the parsnips, foliage is about 12" high

the long carrots, whose foliage is a disappointing 7" high

and the long beet, one of which has bolted, so was removed. This only leaves me 4 but these are an experiment this year. If any make it to a showit will be a miracle!

Having said that, the one that had bolted had a tap root of exactly 15".......

Next are my spuds - all looking good and the foliage is supported as it is just about 2 ft high and was beginning to flop over the edges of the beds. These have had their first spray of Bayer's Dithane replacement as I received a text late last week from Blightwatch advising of  a Smith Period for my postcode/

And the apple tree isn't in the middle of the bed, there are two beds, one either side of the apple tree.
Now we have my leeks - these have been outside for what seems like an age, throughout all the crap weather but they are still looking okay to my untrained eye. I loosened the collars at the weekend as the plants are starting to put on some girth now - the collars are 16" from soil level.

And here is one of my caulies - remeber I said I was running out of room - I have 4 in the ground, two more in old victorian chimney stacks (as pictured) and the rest will be going from 5 litre pots into 25 litre tubs shortly.

Finally we have the stump carrots - way behind where they were last year, the foliage is only about 12" high on the best of them.

So that's it for now - feel free to pass comment / judgement :)

Sunday 10 June 2012

It's June for Chrissake !!

WTF is happening with the weather - one day of scorching sun, getting my hopes up for a decent spell of warm weather, then the next three or four days seem to consist of torrential rain and cold north easterly winds. It's no wonder most of my veg is way behind where it was at this stage last year.
Anyway, managed to scrounge a few hours away from the girls this morning so I cut the grass and thought I'd have a look at the wooden childs summerhouse I was given recently -without any insructions. It is built up on a platform so I need to get the platform set in the ground first then the summerhouse will be assembled on top of that - but there are bound to be some readjustments made as I go.

Anyway, it's a good job that I love my daughters as much as I do as they have started a bird"hotel" in the garden to encourage our feathered friends to visit. This is in itself, not a problem but when the feathered friends start to investigate my veg, it does become a problem.
I do not know ehich particular variety of bird has taken a liking to my veg as we have about 25 species regularly visiting (everything from seagulls to wrens) but my money is on the sparrows being responsible for this....

This is what is lect of my first sowing of Show Perfection Peas which I was given by Ian Stocks at the NVS Scottish Branch seminar. So taday I have planted out some replacements and sown another batch. This is what the peas above should have been like by now..

Elsewhere, the Broad Beans, courtesy of Frank Taylor also NVS, are slowly starting to grow away ....

and to complete the lugumes, here are my Runner Beans (self saved Stenner seed) followed by my French Beans (again from Ian Stocks reselection). The latter will remain in pots in the greenhouse until we get some decent weather forecasts

My show spuds are looking reasonable too at the moment,,,,

The photo show the bed with BlueBelle and Amour, I also have Kestrel, Sherine and Casablanca. They all seem to be doing well although I did receive two text warnings yesterday for Blight in my postcode from "Blightwatch"so tomorrow I will make a trip to the local GC and invest in some Bayer Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control which helps counteract blight.

As I said earlier, this mixed up weather has put a lot of things behind the stage of growth where I would have expected them to be by now and have started to feed my brassicas (Cauliflower and cabbages) with Chempak No 2 High Nitrogen Feed once a week to try and boost thier growth a bit. (Cabbages on rhs, two of my caulies on lhs of photo)

Now my root crops. Again after a slow (very very slow start, I am beginning to see a bit of growth, so first are my stump carrots......

followed by my long carrots (of which 20% of the stations had to be resown).....

Parsnips seem to be doing okay though.....

And so does the long beet (though not having grown this before, I'm not sure if they are behind where they could normally be expected at this stage of the season)

Now, on the subject of my daughters bird hotel, I am normally quite ken on keeping the sand from the tops of my plants, but with the garden occassionally looking like a scene from Alfred Hotchcocks movie, the tops of my barrels have now become sand baths for the little feathered beasts too. !
Now we have my onions and garlic. The first shot shows my Hercules onion sets and Garlic Thermidor, the following shot is of the stray elephant garlic plant that I had forgotten about and nearly cocvered with a growing box.

I am also trying some Kelsae onions this year - these were bought as plug plants from Mr Fothergills and are now in 5 litre pots but the best ten or so will be shortly moved into the same type of tubs as my leeks are in - 25 litre animal mineral lick tubs - of which I have a never ending supply.

And as for the leeks that I was given by Helen Vincent (another NVS member), here they are being modelled by my youngest daughter Niamh,

And finally my tomatoes are now in their final positions - in bottomless flower buckets and grow bags. I only have six plants this year and am already wishing I hadn't deceided to take a year off from the polytunnel as I just do not have enough room at home. These are way behind last years and whilst I know that over the next coming month or six weeks a lot of my stuff will catch up with those of growers further south, as we have up to 23 hours daylight on the longest day :) , it is frustrating to read other blogs  and see people with not only fruits on the plants but also picking fruit from their plants already!

So that's where I am at the moment. Hopefully we will eventaully se an improvement in the weather and things will start to grow but for the moment it is just a case of grin and bear it !!