Thursday 28 May 2009

Taking Stock

Remember this?

Here's a snapshot of where we are now. It's the end of May and the last frost should be past so, although the plot looks half empty, those gaps will soon fill up with beans, courgettes, leeks and cabbages (not to mention some pak choi I am trying for the first time.)

Keeping a record pays off, and invariably I fall short on this, but with my digital camera to hand to supplement my notes I have managed to piece together exactly what I have sown where.

I would add a couple of lessons that have been driven home this year:

1. Keep a record of what you sow, where and when.

2. Don't even think about using out of date seed.

3. Remember to put down weedkiller on the paths before the weeds and grass get a grip. At least that frees you up to concentrate on growing things.

4. Keep an eye on the weather forecast - and move plants indoors overnight when appropriate.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Bank Holiday Brassicas

Most of the holiday has been spent weeding, but I'm in high spirits because I started planting out the brassica patch! That may seem a small deal but before you plant out brassicas there are several key steps you have to have in place. It's a bit like a military campaign:

Here's the advance party

and here's 'Desert Storm'

We don't send the troops out there without training them (growing them on under protection), waiting for the right weather conditions ('summer'), protecting them from arial bombardment (nets to keep the pidgeons off), and keeping them supplied with water and food. In addition brassicas are susceptible slugs (pellets required), root fly (see collars below) and that's not even mentioning clubroot!

I tell you it's a brassica field!

Maybe I've over hyped that, but when I didn't have the time to take care of everything the brassicas were the first thing to go, because they are so fussy.

Saturday 23 May 2009

Bank Holiday Battle Stations

It's been two weeks since I last visited the plot, and at this time of the year, that's bad news. So It's battle stations...

...and here's the front line troops:

Three jobs to do today, mounding the potatoes, netting the brassica patch (in readiness for the army above) and ....weeding, weeding, weeding.

Here's some mounded potatoes:

And here's the new netting in going up:

...and in place:

Phew, with the weeding that was a three hour stint, that's enough for one day.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Whose Bean Germinating

Blue sky all day, but dropping temperatures at night have been wreaking havoc in Edinburgh. I have found it beneficial to sow beans in small pots or even modules in May so that they get a head start when they are planted out in early June. One problem - lack of space. The mini greenhouse is fine for 'usual' conditions, but these cold nights have sent me scurrying for cover for the newly sown beans in the house or shed overnight. So now some have germinated (and look a bit poorly) and some haven't, and I've completely lost track of which tray has which beans in it. The only saving fact is that all the ones I have sown need poles to support them.

These are 'Pea Beans' I'm growing for the first time this year. They look fabulous, need poles for support and can be eaten fresh or dried. I'm anticipating drying them, because there is always such a glut of pod beans. (By the way, no, I didn't sow them all in the one pot)

..and make sure you click on the photo to expand the picture and see these in close up!

Saturday 9 May 2009


It's been horrible weather in Edinburgh and weeding in the rain. So no pictures from the plot. Just to cheer things up, here a some photos of the courgettes growing on the windowsill at home.

More recently, I've planted the runner beans in pots indoors too, but they are yet to emerge.