Wednesday 27 April 2011

Summer Nights?

April has been amazing. Temperatures soaring, not much rain it's been just like the best week from a Scottish Summer.  But my max-min thermometer tells me that last night was a close shave. Max: 32C Min just 1 degree C.

26-27th April 2011
 The thermometer is located in the plastic "greenhouse" where I am keeping my beans, tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and peppers.

Beans in plastic greenhouse
 Today was another lovely sunny day, but all the above are indoors for the night, except the beans as they haven't emerged yet and are too bulky. My experiment may turn out to be short lived!!!

I've been on holiday since Good Friday and have been to the plot for a spell every day. I'm up to my third tent of carrots. 6 varieties so far, but I've run out of thrip netting.
Carrots and early potatoes
 In front of the carrots is my potato patch.  I've started earthing up the rows where the first earlies (Swift) are emerging. They need protection from these cold night temperatures too.

And here's another project. I came accross some discarded plastic piping which I've sawn into three foot lengths. A couple of these sunk into the soil next to the rhubarb patch should provide an ideal home for that horseradish I've had stored in the fridge for a month or two - too scared to plant out in the garden.  A shower would use these pipes grow long straight  parsnips, carrots or leeks, but I want to contain these rampant roots but still have a homegrown supply. Now, what to do withe the remaining lengths.....?

Horseradish pipe

Otherwise I have been busy setting up fencing to protect my brassicas and sof fruit. I've got time for the brassicas, which are still at the seedling stage,  but the strawberries are flowering away already. I'm now regretting having them in four different patches this year (although it will keep the different varieties apart). You live and learn.


  1. Mal, I'm new to veggie gardening and am seeing a lot of folks putting up netting over their gardens. Help this girl..why? Birds, bugs or both?
    I'm jealous of all your great weather! Other than one day of sun here, it's been dreadfully wet and cold.

  2. great weather in uk at mo tooooo

  3. I think everything we do is a learning curve!!

    I don't grow my root veg in tubes...I kind of like the natural shapes!!

    I managed to get some celeriac seed off another very kind plotter today so I will be sowing some by the weekend and now we can see how we get on!!

  4. I use lengths of pipe as a watering tube for my courgettes and pumpkins. Gosh it's hot, time to get the hose out, again!

  5. We have three big roots of horseradish that has been planted for years now - people think it is dock and we are mad to tend it!

    You say that you are too scared to plant it but we are too scared to use it!

  6. Hi Jenni. I put netting over my brassica patch each year. It's to keep pigeons off. We have a wood next door to the allotment site. I was brought up with the rule: Don't plant cabbages/cauliflowers/kale etc unless you've got you net ready to go over them. All other veg has to look after itself.

    EXCEPT carrots. Carrot root fly larvae tunnel into carrots and ruins them for eating. I left the ground for about ten years without growing carrots. My first new crop had root fly dammage. So now I'm covering the crop with a fine thrip netting to keep the adult fly out. Some will still come from the soil but the dammage is nothing like it is without the nets.

    np - Yes indeed!

    Tany, please don't stress about celeriac - in fact I'm sorry I issued my ras challenge so withdraw it now. (and my seed tray got upset - only joking)

    Plotkeeper - When can we expect the hosepipe ban?

    Sue have you got any new plants appearing around the parent plants?

  7. We have one more than we planted but we haven't noticed any babies really.

  8. To explain - I have grown horseradish at three locations on the plot over the years. I still get 'thongs' (for that is what young horseradish roots are called) at each of the three sites. When I tried to clear one area near the edge of the plot I discovered that a lateral root had travelled 3 ft under the path. The roots usually go down deep, and when you try to dig them out they snap off all to easily. Any remaining root or root pieces spring to life. It's like a nightmare. Possibly our soil suits the plant.

    But for all this I love the taste of fresh grated horseradish so persist with growing it. And besides once I've got over my huff about it cropping up everywhere I can always find a bit of root that's escaped the last eradication program so there's never a shortage. It does help preparation though to grow a nice thick piece. Do you and Martyn like mustard?

  9. I checked again yesterday Mal and there are 'thongs' I just hadn't noticed them - what a thug!

  10. I have the celeraic I think we are back in business....that is if your still game???!!!


  12. I net over the beds as force of habit. I don't know what is going to get eaten, so i take no chances! I had no carrot fly problems last year, but the beds are over 2 feet high, which apparently is higher than a carrot fly flies!

  13. Sue - As on neighbour commented as I dug away. "It's like spaghetti junction".

    Tany - I will enjoy comparing notes this autumn!

    Alison - You'll be OK with kale and brocolli, and potatoes will recover from a bit of leaf burn. It's the tender plants like tomatoes courgettes and cucumbers that will give up the ghost once frosted. But once you get down to these temperatures everything appreciates a bit of pampering. Agricultural fleece helps with both temperature and wind chill. The good news from the forecast is that night temperatures should be going up soon!

    Iggy - Yes I've heard that these carrot fly are no good at high jump, but rather too good at tunnelling! Also allotment sites are a pain because there will always be a neighbour growing carrots (and fly) even when you are not!