Friday is traditionally POETS day – Push Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday – so down to the plot just after 3pm.
There’s so many jobs to do it’s hard to know where to start, but the Sarpo potatoes won. They were ready for earthing up and a fine crop of weeds was developing between the rows. The wonderful Mantis came into play, breaking up the soil finely and chopping up the weeds at the same time.
Once that was done, just a matter of pulling the soil up around the foliage and job done. Next little job was to scatter some pelleted chicken manure around the potatoes. They’ll benefit from the nitrogen now the canopy is beginning to touch and tubers form. The only other thing I’ll do it to put some comfrey between the rows, keep an eye on the weeds and water if need be until harvest.
Talking of harvest, it’s seven weeks since I put the Swift first early into the coldframe. A little early to expect any crop but I might just have a fiddle about and see if there’s enough for a meal on Sunday.
Next job was to plant some leeks out down by the onions on plot 5. I’m trying a new method, as I said on Thursday, dropping the modules into a trench rather than the normal dropping into holes method. I’ll do some the normal way for comparison.
Next to plot 29, where I took the cloches off the sweetcorn and gave them a little boost by watering with Phostrogen lawn feed. It’s just a high nitrogen fertiliser and being liquid will quickly be absorbed by the plants.
Over to the greenhouse where I did the same for the tomatoes and peppers. Just pushing some growth before moving on to comfrey liquid which will be high in potash to help fruiting.
Planted some marigolds in the large greenhouse to deter whitefly. I’m not 100% convinced of the effectiveness but they’re pretty anyway. Gave it a good watering and then put the tools away before heading for home just before 8pm.
Saturday & Sunday
Saturday was quite a scorcher and most of the day was spent in the garden, near the fridge with the ice cubes for the drinks. Various bushes were trimmed and the cherry tree rescued from the mile a minute vine that’s been making a takeover bid for the neighbourhood. All the clippings go through the shredder and, along with the lawn mowings, went into a sack to go to the plot’s compost bin.
Took a cut off the comfrey patch by the bins on plot 29 and added that in. I think of comfrey as a high quality compost mine that never runs out. The patch on plot 5 is overdue for a cut as well. Some will get laid between the potatoes and some added to a barrel to make tomato feed.
I took my plum Roma tomatoes round to the plot with me, they’ll be planted out shortly. I’ve seven plants and if we avoid the blight, they’ll provide enough cooking tomatoes for us for a year.
Watered in the greenhouses and then began weeding. Hoed off the large bed on plot 29 in about 10 minutes and then began on the strawberry beds. The plot next door has a load of bindweed and horsetail that’s popping up on the bed. Thanks.
The new raised beds on plot 5 needed weeding as well. They look like somebody has bought a jumbo pack of mixed weed seeds and sprinkled them over. The asparagus bed was fairly easy, the shoots are dead centre to the bed so I hoed off the sides in 10 minutes but the hand weeding around the shoots took half an hour.
Being as it was getting a little chilly in a T shirt, decided it was time to tidy up the tomatoes in the big greenhouse. Removed all the side shoots and tied the stems in. Gave it a watering and then moved on to the small greenhouse and planted out a couple of aubergines in the border. I’d six plants at home in 6″ pots so the best two are planted and I’ll give the rest away.
Bit worried about the cucumbers. The one in the big greenhouse has some yellowing of the lower leaves. There’s all sorts of diseases it could be, which I can do nothing about, but it might just be a lack of nitrogen so gave it a feed. It can’t do any harm,
Talking of worries, my onions don’t seem to be doing too well. Having said that, nobody’s spring planted onions seem to be doing too well on the site. The best ones are the Japanese over-wintered varieties. Once again, not much I can do but keep my fingers crossed.
Prepared the bed for the outdoor plum Roma tomatoes. Basically just ran the Mantis over and added some fish, blood & bone as a base fertiliser. Because the soil is a bit damp after some rain, it broke up into quite a nice fine tilth, I’ll plant through matting which will help with keeping the fruit (if any!) clean and inset some watering pipes made from old milk containers by the plants.
The bad news was the new potatoes are still a couple of weeks off but the good news was we had enough carrots for a meal from the row in the greenhouse border. About 4″ long and very sweet they were. Nothing beats your own, picked just an hour before.