Sunday, 8 July 2007

Working with the Weather 08.07.07

Good morning all, welcome to my gardening blog update.

Over recent weeks we have had some seriously wet weather, something us Brits are usually good at dealing with. However, a quick read of various gardening websites / blogs etc, reveals a different story. There are numerous reports of spoiled crops , due in part to the rain and the volume thereof. This needn't be the case, as good soil preparation can overcome this problem.

One of the key attributes in any garden, be it for growing veg or flowers, is to get the soil condition right, or more importantly, getting the drainage right. I have read a lot recently about the benefits of gardening in raised beds, and I whole heartedly agree with the reasoning. However, you cannot simply place a raised bed in a garden, without first working the soil beneath, and expect to get great harvests.

When I created my veg plot, before any hard landscaping was done, i first prepared the soil in the area where the raised beds were going to be sited. This was done the hard way, double digging and hand weeding of the entire area. It took a great length of time, especially clearing the "cut and come again " weeds. My plot had not it seems been cultivated for over 10 years, and it really needed some hard graft. Over the area of the plot, I dug down approx 2', and turned that soil over 2 or 3 times, continually exposing the soil to the elements, including several hard frosts. This process enabled the clay soil to break down, and to form the right base for my plot.

They say that the proof of the pudding is the eating. Well, last week we had an almighty storm, thunder and lightning the likes of which I had not seen in a long time. Glancing out the windows from the conservatory, the grass area of the garden was under about 2" of water, yet the raised beds were not affected, but were indeed freely drained. After the weather cleared, I harvested some Garlic ( see previous post) and at the same time checked the soil. Ok, it was wet, but there were no signs of poor drainage.

Later in the week, I decided to harvest my Shallots:
The attached pic shows the fruits of my hard graft !
There has to be over 50 good sized and well developed bulbs, which are all healthy and disease free. Not only do they look terrific, they smell delightful too. Some of them have a glorious red hue which just makes you want to bite into them !
The soil remaining from the raised beds is still light and fluffy, no sign of water logging here.

Elsewhere in the plot, further planting has taken place:
These peas (v. Kelvedon Wonder) were planted out in the old potato bed just 10 days ago, and already are putting on good growth, with many of the seeds germinated.
I simply slice holes in the mulch fabric, and plant the seeds ( which were soaked overnight) about 1" deep.
Remember to water at least once a day, regardless of the weather!

The Curly Kale (v. tba ) have been potted on into individual pots, and should be ready to be planted out in a couple more weeks.

I've got at least the same amount again still waiting to be potted on. I just need to find some time!
Maybe I can do some more this afternoon? I'm also thinking of planting some in the borders as the plants are quite ornamental?

Moneymaker toms are growing well in the garden, with many fruits forming. All we need now is a bit of prolonged sunshine to ripen them off.Cant wait for my first cheese and homegrown tomato sandwich !

My maincrop spuds (v. King Edward) are still looking good. The foliage has taken a battering but still looks fresh and is still vigorous .
Its hard to believe just how much foliage there is, but lets hope that means big spuds too ? !!!
I can no longer see the bed beneath, and the surrounding paths are completely obscured!

Final pic of the todays update shows my favorite hanging basket.
There's plenty of work involved dead heading the trailing petunia, but the effect is truly worthwhile.
All four baskets are now coming on strong, and are a delightful backdrop to the dense green veg foliage that abounds in the garden.

Later today I'm planning on lifting more crops, Betroot for some lovely sandwiches and some runner beans / carrots to go with our dinner.

I hope you have enjoyed todays update, I've certainly had a busy and productive week. I hope you have had a good week too. Don't forget, there's still plenty of growing season left. I have only just ordered my Cabbage Seeds from Suttons (v. January King 3 ), which will be planted up on arrival.

Take care all and have a good week.


1 comment:

Matron said...

Thank heavens for wellys! that's all I can say about my garden this week! I loved your blog, lots of interesting things going on.