Monthly Archives: May 2020

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 7… Veggie McVeg Patch…

Everything is growing so well… I’m astonished!

Yes quite a milestone reached as have been able to harvest the first salad leaves. The cloche cover had to come of for this… otherwise it’s like playing ‘Twister’ trying to get in to pick the leaves… not a pretty site!

… and they just keep on growing, so I’m cropping some every other day. These will never be allowed to grow to a proper lettuce and hoping I will get a few weeks of harvesting before they are finished. So soon, I will be sowing some ‘proper’ lettuces with the hope I’ve staggered planting correctly to keep a supply coming later in the year.

lettuce, salad, leaves, harvest, grow your own, veg patch,

A milestone reached… the first harvest.

During a session of weeding the main veg bed, I spotted a few of these and discovered they weren’t weeds at all. These were the result of our local squirrel using the soft soil to bury last years nut supply! (We do have a hazelnut tree not far away that fruits well) – So while on a high about everything that’s growing, thought I’d give these two a fighting chance and stuck them in their own pots…

Does anyone want a hazelnut tree, I won’t have room for any more?

squirrel, hazelnut, tree, bush, nuts,

I’ve benefited from the squirrel burying last years nuts!

The courgettes were very ready for going out into their own pots, so I’ve put two out initially and then the others will follow soon – (part of the ‘staggering technique I’m trying). They were loving the greenhouse and getting decidedly tall – and do you remember I splinted them for support early on, well it was a very tricky task to carefully remove the wire and stake, without damaging the stalks. Me thinks that has to change if I do this next year..

Just a point here, the two large pots you see are a nifty ‘self watering’ idea I bought into. They have a false bottom, that enables it to retain water without water-logging the soil and roots.

courgettes, veg patch, vegetables, potted out,

I have a lot of courgette plants…

Bit of a re-think in the main veg bed for the beans Β to go out, by building a type of wigwam of stakes. This has maximised the available space and much easier to move the mesh to keep our unwanted visitors off the garden.

french, dwarf, beans, vegetables,

Such an easier arrangement to build and maintain.

But then it got windy just after I’d put them out! They didn’t stand much chance until they’d become a bit more established. So I found some garden mesh in the back of the shed (amazing what you find you’ve got stored) that I wrapped over the wire mesh and has worked perfectly. πŸ™‚

beans, stakes, dwarf, mesh, protection

Then it got windy!

I will be needing more stakes at some point, to support the growing fruit plants… and of course I have a ready supply already growing in the garden πŸ™‚ – so I am feeling quite resourceful this week.

bamboo, canes, stakes, garden,

Grow your own cane supply…

Next week… something odd has happened to a couple of courgettes.

 

 

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 6… Veggie McVeg Patch…

Lots to report on this week…

The greenhouse got christened and the plants moved in. This is going to be so helpful, as I wouldn’t have the room indoors for all the babies. The courgettes and beans have had a growth spurt and think they’re loving their new home. This job was both quite easy and very satisfying πŸ™‚

greenhouse, courgettes, beans, grow your own,

The courgettes and beans are loving their new home.

… and I had a bit of assistance… who needed to do a quality control check in the new greenhouse…

greenhouse, vegetables, courgettes, beans, grow your own,

Yes, I’m propagating a cat!

The salad leaves have also responded to the warmer weather and are just about ready to start harvesting. So I will soon need to decide when to sow more, for proper lettuces later in the year.

salad leaves, lettuce, vegetables, harvest

How many recipes can I think of for salad leaves?

The trickiest job by far this week has been transferring the tomato seedlings to individual pots… slowly, gently, there was no hurrying this task. But I wasted very few, re-potted lots(!) in the hope that some might survive. If I’m lucky enough for several to grow on and more than I have space for here, will consider selling/giving away or exchanging my surplus πŸ™‚

tomatoes, seedlings, transferring, vegetables, grow your own,

How many will survive moving?

Ok, not particularly tidy looking, but give them a chance…

tomatoes, seedlings, transferring, vegetables, grow your own,

How many will survive moving?

Last by not least for this week – the fruit plants continue to grow and we have the first flower buds showing!

raspberry, buds, fruit, grow your own

Yes! We have flower bud!

Next week… the first harvest (yay) and the courgettes and beans go out!

 

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 5… Veggie McVeg Patch…

Technical issues sorted, you can now sign up to the email list πŸ™‚Β 

Do you recall in Update 3, I’d added to my vegetable list…

Not able to get any baby plants, I decided to attempt to grow tomatoes from seed, in addition to my existing vegetables. Well they’ve all sprouted nicely – I carefully took the tray outside to get a decent shot and then returned them to the warmth of indoors for now.

tomato, seedlings, growing, vegetables,

Tomato seedlings growing nicely

I have been carefully considering what I’ve so far spent on various bits and pieces and what I’ve been fortunate enough to already have to hand. However, with so many seedlings and limited ideal room indoors, decided this next purchase would be very worthwhile.

I did mention in the last update about a new purchase… and after some delay, yes my small greenhouse finally arrived! … I was a little excited πŸ™‚

greenhouse, vegetables, plants, fruit, growing, growyourown

It arrived – eventually!

Last Saturday in the very warm sunshine, I followed the assembly instructions carefully, but not before laying all the pieces out to show you the task I had ahead of me…

greenhouse, assemble, how to, new skills,

This lot has to be assembled…!

… the assembled greenhouse… yes it stands up all on its own and there were no bits left over at the end!Β This has been placed at the back of the sheltered sunny spot, where it will get some protection from the elements.

greenhouse, assembled, growing, grow your own, vegetables, plants, fruit

Think I surprised myself that it went together without incident!

greenhouse, assembled, growing, grow your own, vegetables, plants, fruit

… and again with the door closed.

To date, I’ve purchased the initial seeds for all the vegetables, two large pots for courgettes, Tomorite and this greenhouse. Everything else – soil, compost, wire mesh, various size pots, labels, trays, old cloche, wooden tray, stakes, potato grow bags (will be used for the tomato plants) and trusty watering can! – it’s quite surprising what you can find.

A quick update on the raspberry and blueberry plants – they continue to grow well in their sunny spot. The middle pot with two new blueberry plants, may take a while to spring to life, but I’m hopeful.

raspberry, blueberry, plants, fruit, grow your own,

They continue to grow nicely.

Next update… the greenhouse gets christened, the salad leaves are nearly ready to eat and more delicate surgery for the tomato seedlings.

 

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 4… Veggie McVeg Patch…

Next hurdle… and would they survive…?

It’s all well and good to happily watch your planted seeds appear as seedlings… first success – but now I have to thin them! A delicate looking task for the salad leaves and the beetroot… and I read the packets carefully, plus dived into the main reference book I’ve got to hand – The Vegetable & Herb Expert, by Dr D.G. Hessayon. I’ve decided to leave the carrots for now, as they need to get a little bigger. For those who are remotely interested, this main bed measures just about 13ft by 4ft, with permanent Rosemary and Bay shrubs at the far end. The lettuce tray is 4ft square.

vegetables, fruit, grow your own, new skills,

The protected veggie patch.

Armed with all sorts of tools… (including tweezers!), I set about thinning. I had to remove the cloche frame from the lettuce tray for this and hadn’t got the heart to throw away lots of seedlings, so created two new rows. While it took sometime, was very satisfying.

You will notice I’ve also put the tray of courgette and dwarf bean plants in with the lettuce for the time being, so they get used to being outside, but are protected from the elements. I think they need a bit more growth before going out properly and I don’t want any late frosts getting them.

lettuce, salad leaves, grow your own,

Underneath the cloche, survival of the fittest!

Having completed the salad leaves, set about the same task with the beetroot. With both these, I’m not sure if I’ve thinned enough, so may have to remove a few more in time. The good news is, the seedlings recovered from the operation and have continued to grow :). In future, (assuming this continues next year) I’m going to try and devise a way of spreading the seeds out more, when first sowing to hopefully help the thinning process.

beetroot, seedlings, thinning, rows,

Didn’t have the heart to throw away the thinnings, so created another row!

Quick close up of the courgette and dwarf bean plants, they continue to do ok outside with the salad leaf babies for now…. but….

courgette, dwarf beans, young plants,

The triffids continue to like their new home in with the lettuce… for now.

I did have one fatality…Β I must have just weakened the stem when putting the splint wire round… my bad πŸ™

courgette plant

The first fatality.

Apart from moving them forward so they get a bit more sunlight, the raspberry and blueberry plants continue to do well and show growth. The pile of bricks to the right hand side is another task to move and make more room and you can see the piles of pots at the back that have been washed, sized and will be re-used as necessary :).

raspberry, blueberry, plants, pots, growing, fruit

The raspberry and blueberry plants continue to grow well.

Next blog… while I’m using everything available to hand, have invested in something new … πŸ™‚