Sunday, 10 August 2008

Olympics - What are they ? 10.08.08

Welcome back to Reads Retreat - our diary blog about growing your / our own veg in Raised Beds.
No time to sit and watch the telly here at Reads Retreat, far too much to do in the garden and home! As reported a few days ago, these Turnip seeds that were planted straight into the raised beds last weekend, germinated with just 3 days! This picture taken this morning shows that they continue to grow at a fast rate. The planting lines are clearly visible thanks to my method of using a cane to mark out the sowing drill. This coupled with the warm weather and plentiful rainfall has given these plants a great start. Very soon i will have to start thinning them out. I hardly used any of the seeds, compared to the estimated contents on the pack - 1500 - and only £1.09. At a later date I'll explain how I store any surplus seed, which despite claims on the packs, last for ages.

At the same time as I planted the Turnip's, I also planted some Chard, which you can just see emerging around the edge of the bed. These took longer to germinate as I expected, as the seeds are much larger. You can speed up germination of large seeds by soaking before planting out.

My Courgette plants seem to be recovering well. The problem was I think created by me, over watering ? The plants seemed to be dying off, and the leaves didn't look too healthy. This was followed by heavy and prolonged rainfall which compounded the problem. Therefore, I just "neglected" the plants for a few days, and one of them has revived itself, and is bearing fruit again, and they're growing quickly too. Cant wait to harvest more from this plant. I read that I should expect about a dozen from each plant, and so far we've had about half a dozen, so looking forward to a few more yet ! We'll see. Might grow some yellow varieties next year ?

My Raspberry root that i purchased from Wilko's, is finally starting to add some growth. Like the Blackcurrant that I purchased at the same time, they were both planted in shallow soil in pots to get them established. Hopefully they will continue to form a good root base so that I can plant them into their growing positions late autumn / early winter. I must admit that despite the price of a couple of pounds each, I am dissapointed with how badly / slowly they have grown. I may attempt some cuttings if i'm feeling confident, as i dont want to keep on spending when funds are so tight elsewhere. It would be nice to get some from from the plants this year. Maybe we will, we'll have to wait and see!

It's a very similar story with the Gooseberry bush. Purchased from the same place, it's taken an absolute age to get this far! I have fed and watered it consistently, but still the growth is slow. I'm really keen to get this going; my grandfather - i remember - grew these in his garden at Clacton, and I would love to do the same here. I maybe will buy some better stock for planting out next year. After all, you get what you pay for , and not much more.

And now the good news ! Look at these 2 towers of lush green foliage. The lighter green ( as you may have guessed ) is the runner beans. These have been grown year on year from seeds saved by Grandad. I was down to 5 seeds this year, as they just didn't want to germinate. Now though they have recovered well. We've had a few small picking's, and are looking forward to many more! The darker green is the climbing French Beans (v.Blue Lake). Again, these seemed to take ages to get going, then suddenly they sprang into action. We've had several picking from this too, harvesting the bean pods at about 4" long. They taste delish, and will deff be grown again here at Reads Retreat. To the left of the pic is my clump of Toms (v. Moneymaker) which are also doing well.

Another great and unexpected success this year have been my Chili Peppers (v.Cayenne). We've got them growing everywhere we can find space to put them, even in this hanging basket alongside Beetroot (v.Boltardy). There's plenty of nearly ready to pick Chili's already, and still more are forming. We've had less success with our sweet peppers, but we are persevering to see if we can get a crop.

That's about it for todays update, there's still loads more to tell you about, including a new project indoors, but sitting here typing is making my back ache, so please excuse me for now.

Take care all, get out into your gardens as the weather permits, and enjoy yourselves!


1 comment:

Matron said...

I bought some gooseberry plants from Wilkos this Spring. They are still hanging on in there, I'm looking after them, hope to do better next year.