Sunday, 12 May 2013

Hungry gap harvesting

This time of year is known as 'the hungry gap' - when your winter/spring crops have all been eaten and your summer ones are not yet ready. If you are very organised AND have plenty of space there are things which are ready at this time of year, such as spring cabbages, cauliflowers and early salads. This year things have been a bit different. I have waited so long for my spring veggies to be ready, it's now almost summer (in theory). Anyway, my caulis are now finally ready, and of course they're all going to be ready at the same time. I've sown lots more for next year but now I'm wondering whether there is a way to stagger them so I don't have this problem again. They are definitely worth growing as they are currently about £1.80 EACH in the shops!

Today I have also harvested some rhubarb for a crumble, and a good sized bag of purple sprouting brocolli - another 'hungry-gap' stalwart.  

I am beginning to get a harvest from my cutting patch now too. These are Camassia, Ranunculus and Tulip 'Spring Green'. On Friday I visited the Malvern Spring Gardening Show, where I spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering around the floral marquee, getting floral inspiration.

In less than two weeks we are off to Barcelona for half term week, so as well as the usual last minute laundry, shopping and packing I will also be stressing out over seedlings not yet big enough to be planted out, last minute weeding, watering and greenhouse organisation. Usually at this time of year my tomatoes and peppers are all in their final pots, in their final positions in the greenhouse, and all my seedlings would have been planted out for the summer. But this year nothing is ready, and it's still very cold to be planting out tender crops, so I am having to ask my friend/neighbour to look after them all, which I feel is a lot to ask of someone, especially as she will be feeding the cat as well. I hope it won't prove too much trouble.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Slow Progress

This year I have decorated my cherry tree (above left) with a windmill and some sparkly wrapping paper ribbons, to try and keep the birds off. It seems to be working, all the blossom still looks pristine.

I have put up some trellis against the rain shelter, and planted some sweet peas at the bottom, so hopefully that will look pretty later in the summer.

I now have a phone which takes reasonable photos, and is also easy to upload the photos to the computer, so I have no excuses not to take regular pictures of progress at the allotment. Not that there has been very much progress, despite the sunny weather we are now enjoying, things are still going frustratingly slowly. Seedlings seem to be taking for ever to do anything. I sowed squash and sweetcorn seeds two weeks ago, and they are only just starting to appear. In fact I have had to re-sow the sweetcorn because it did nothing. This time I have pre-chitted, so hopefully it won't take too long. There are some tiny lettuce seedlings coming up at the plot, and some tiny carrots. I have had to re-sow beetroot because they didn't appear. 

However, at least my potatoes are starting to show, which is reassuring. The broad beans are starting to form flowers and the later row I sowed has also started to come up. Below is mustard green manure, which is growing where the leeks, squashes and sweetcorn will go next month. I'm a bit worried that the cauliflowers will still not be ready by the time these need to be planted out, they're so late. My spring cabbages are still very small but if the worst comes to the worst I'll just have to plant round them.