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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Late Spring/Early Summer

Thought I'd better update on how things are going so far. The Peas are in their final positions and planted around their feet are transplanted spinach plants which should give them shady toes while they reach for the light. Spinach is a real life saver for the shady spots and I have a terrible craving for it at the moment, so I have grown two varieties, one normal and one Jamie Oliver red stemmed variety ("bish bash bosh whack it in tha ground job's a goodun"?) for a bit of colour interest. Also for the first time I have planted Swiss Chard, I haven't the foggiest idea what it tastes like!?

I have completed a plan of the final locations of all the veg again this year. I am following crop rotation rules to minimise pests and diseases and ensure good quality organic crops, but also as an experiment I am trying a less formal arrangement of vegetables, mixing them up a bit and putting more emphasis on the beauty and landscaping that can be created from vegetable plants. This was inspired by reading Alys Fowlers book The Edible Garden, it's a lovely read and very inspiring. I'm not sure all the things I have planned will work, but growing is a yearly experiment I am still discovering what grows well in my soil and in what positions, and even then who knows what weather will beset us. We seem to have a lot of 'weather' in England, it can be rainy in the morning, hail at lunch then heatwave in the evening (I might be exaggerating a bit...but you know how we Brits like to discuss the weather!).

As per usual I have grown way too many tomatoes, I really need to re-home some. Currently in the ground I have a small gathering of onions (I was determined to grow some after failing miserably last year), the previously mentioned peas (growing up the shed and fences this time), carrots, garlic, tomatoes and trailing tomatoes (in tubs), rocket, garlic and early and main crop potatoes. Freshly planted out from the greenhouse last weekend are the squash (now quite big and flowering already), sweetcorn, cucumber, peppers, broccoli, Kohlrabi.... Also the Sweet Potato slips arrived and have been planted in kitchen roll tubes indoors to root train them. Just planted seeds for Asparagus Peas and Pumpkin in the greenhouse.

This year I have 2 gardens to plant, my parents are letting me plant up theirs too as they have just cleared out masses of space to grow veg. So far they have similar plants to me and the same informal-ish design. Hoping it goes well, their plot gets much more sun than mine really and is much more sheltered. Fingers crossed!