Sunday, 17 August 2008

Looking good on the plot 17.08.08

Welcome back to our plot update here at Reads Retreat - our guide to growing your own veg in Raised Beds. We're both still on cloud 9 on the back of acquiring our own allotment. There's a lot of work in preparation terms, as the site is currently overgrown, but we now have a great opportunity to expand on what we grow. As you can see in this picture, our garden plot is now in full swing, we're still planting as well as tackling the hard landscaping ( laying bricks etc. ) but we'll get to that later. The French Beans(v.Blue Lake) are racing up their canes, and have already provided a few good harvests, with the prospect of providing many more yet. The traditional "family" runner beans are now also starting to put on good growth. Alongside the reads runners we planted a few "new seed" , some different varieties with both Pink & White flowers. These were given to me by my FIL and it seemed a waste not to use them. As stated in an earlier post, there's also a lot of Bee's in the garden now, a great and encouraging sight.
The toms (v.Tomazing) right outside the patio door were looking a bit sad a couple of weeks ago, having been stripped of most foliage by an enthusiastic but somewhat inexperienced Ruby. The plant was left bare except for 2 trusses of green toms. With no way of getting these to redden up foreseeable, we used the method of hanging an over-ripe banana on the plant. This gives off a gas which helps to redden up the toms, and as you can see it's working a treat. The added advantage, is that the banana is attracting some great looking Butterflies, which I tried to capture in this photograph. However, the adage of never working with children / animals has come true as every time I took a pic, the butterfly closed it's wings. I took about 8 shots but this is the best of the lot!

Here we have the first of our Sweet Peppers(v.Moneymaker) that we raised from seed. Pictures don't lie, but this pot of 3 plants is only about 10" tall, and the biggest pepper is still very small - but in our eyes still a success. It's always nice to grow something new at Reads Retreat, and in our eyes, if the plant bears fruit then its a success. We've got about a dozen or so of these plants dotted around, and although a lot of the plants are bearing flowers / buds, this is the first to bear fruit. We'll keep on nurturing this and see how we get on. The Chili peppers we're growing (v. Cayenne) in the hanging baskets and various pots around the plot, are also doing very well. Cant wait to taste them in a few more dishes.

Our newly "dressed" Rhubarb crown (v.Timperly Early) is already sending up new shoots after only a week. This is a good sign of a healthy crown, and we've enjoyed many a harvest from this throughout the summer. I must say it's tempting to grab a few more sticks, but we'll have to wait till next spring. Now that we have acquired our own allotment, we plan to include a few new crowns in our planting plan, to give us more of this tasty dessert throughout the following years.

Regular visitors to Reads Retreat, will know that I keep my eyes and ears open for bricks, as they are always useful on the plot. This area that I've now bricked over, was previously covered in wood chippings laid on top of a weed control membrane. That was a satisfactory path area, but as the material continually rotted down, I found we had to keep adding chipped bark to keep the path at a decent height. Now we have bricks laid out over the top, it looks a bit better and matches the other access area. All I need to do now is get some mortar to bed these down onto, and to fill in the gaps. Still got loads of bricks left so expect to see more paths being laid!

The Turnips (v.Golden Ball) have had their first thinning, with the gap between each seedling now approx 2". They will be thinned to a 4" gap a bit later on in their growth, so we can select the stronger plants.
Some of the "far too many" seedlings thinned out today, have been replanted in the various gaps that are starting to spring up in the raised beds. Obviously, the seedlings don't like to be distirbed, but they have 2 chances, and we might as well let them choose for themselves!

Elsewhere on the plot, there's still loads going on. Our toms in the raised beds are very slowly starting to redden up, the recently sown Betroot (v.Boltardy) seeds have germinated and are poking their leaves up to the sky, my "Giant" onion is still growing well, and my Carrots (v Autumn King 3)and Chard (v. Bright Lights & Zilver) are coming on a treat. Oh, did I mention ? We now have an allotment too!!

It's all very exciting, so much to think about and plan! We're gonna be busy! Hope you are all still enjoying the fruits of your toil. Come back and see us again soon. Till then,


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