Welcome to the Reads Retreat weekly update on Growing your own veg in Raised Beds.
It's been a great week, the weather has been superb, with temperatures reaching 80F and cooling at night sufficiently to enable restful sleep.
So much is happening on the plot, I'll start with the .....
Spuds ! This pic is one of many taken early this morning whilst wandering around the plot. My bright orange buckets are overflowing with fresh green foliage from my recently planted first early (v. Aaron Pilot) new spuds.
The 2 buckets to the rear were planted about 4 weeks ago, with the 2 buckets in the foreground having only been planted 2 weeks ago. It seems there is measurable growth each morning, constantly trying to hide the fabulous tasty spuds that are growing beneath. The big green tub has also been planted with first earlies - and i'm waiting patiently for signs of growth here.
The more observant of you will notice the bucket in the foreground is in fact a Blackcurrant, one of my cheap buys from wilko's, planted here to get established prior to planting into its final growing position, which as yet is not decided upon!
Whilst we're on the theme of whats in pots, here we have a couple of tomato plants (v.Gardeners Delight) that i've potted on outside, attempting to get an early crop. With the weather as it is, it shouldn't take to long for these plants to get established.
The 2 pots at the back are home to Peach tree's, grown from seed by my father in law. Not sure how old these are, but this is the 2nd year i've had them. Although they die right back over the winter , they are now growing really well. Not sure if they will fruit for a few years, but fun growing!
There's also a small pot of cuttings ( Candytuft), donated by Arthur next door. These will be great additions the the borders if they grow on well. I'm not usually one for growing flowers, or indeed taking cuttings, but it seems a great way to go, saving money etc. .
Somewhat forgotten about; but hopefully saved in time are my Basil (v. Dark Opal) plants. These were growing in the conservatory, where despite best intentions, i had forgotten to plant them on. They're a bit leggy, but have been planted deep and transferred outside to grow on. Already they are showing good signs of recovery. I plan to plant these alongside my tomato plants later in the year, to ward off the bugs that are so attracted to the toms.
While on the pot theme, here's a snapshot of my Bonsai, well - trees in pots ! I started out with good intention, but mostly these are being left to their own devices. By planting each one in larger pots, i'm hoping to increase the main stem (trunk) diameter, whilst restricting their height. This is working well, and in a couple of years, i should be able to start the Bonsai process off a bit better, namely trimming roots and leaves, and potting into smaller pots. When i first read up on Bonsai, i was struck with what the chineese call "the michi" i.e. its not the end product that is so desired, but how you get to the end point. It's a great adage, and is reflected throughout my gardening.
Another quick look at my spuds. These were planted as seed last summer in this small raised bed, and i hoped to grow them for xmas. Again, forgotten about over winter, they are now growing on really well, and will hopefully deliver some lovely spuds.
Last weeks update contained a pic similar to this one of my onion bed. Already you can clearly see how well the plants have progressed in just 7 days. The only issues here are that the topsoil is drying out really quickly, and the weeds are growing very very fast. I'll need to weed this bed on a regular basis to stay on top of them, otherwise they will be competing for moisture with my crop. If this hot spell continues for much longer ( not usually heard of in the UK ) then i will have to add another layer of mulch - for which i will probably use the contents of a Tunstall growbag. This selection is based on me knowing that these growbags have very fine content, its easy to smooth around existing plants, and does not need to be sieved.
The Chives in the raised bed are now into flower, and I'm looking forward to adding these flowers to the next salad we do. Master Oliver swears by em, so we will have to give them a try. I'll let you know what - if anything - they taste like!
We took our first main harvest of Rhubarb (v. Timperly Early ) in the week, and enjoyed a really tasty crumble and custard! However , as you can clearly see, there is loads more to come. With daily watering its hard to see where we cropped, as there is plenty of new growth. I really love having this in the garden, and cant recommend it enough as a great addition to your plot. The price you pay in the shops is astronomical in comparison, and tastes nothing like the home grown fruit.
As well as all the activity outside, I'm continuing with raising plants from seed in the conservatory. This week I planted more Runner Bean seeds (my first seed sowing was not very productive) and also planted some climbing french beans (v. Blue Lake ) - the seeds of which always remind me of tic tac's! Then there's a tray of Chard (v. Bright Lights) which are used in 2 ways - culinary in salads (leaves ) an steamed (stems) and also to add colour around the otherwise green plot. My sowings of salad leaves - mixed varieties are growing on well, and will be moved outside later today.
The plants i received in the post last week have all been potted on into 4" pots, and are putting on great growth. A sixth plant has been added to the drip tray - a present from mum who visited in the week. So now i have 2 courgette plants !
Very soon i envisage that these will all be planted out into final growing positions. All i need to do is find / create some more space.
Not a simple task !
Thats all for now, I'll be back later to finish this off.