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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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We're doing pretty well at the moment. We're chomping our way through the lettuce whilst it's still relatively young and tender, but that's all we're harvesting right now. Broad beans are full height and flowering, so looking forward to that very soon. As far as I can see, very single one of our dwarf bean, climbing bean and broccoli seeds took, so we've had enough spares to fill in the gaps after the cold snap a few weeks ago. Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are proliferating; let's just hope they start bearing fruit. Something managed to get to the rows of carrots and onions, so plenty of gaps there, but fortunately the shallots are all going great guns. Peas and mange tout are under some netting so hopefully we'll be able to keep off both the birds and the butterflies, although we will remove the netting for a short while when the flowers come out so the bees can work their magic. Our sweetcorn is recovering well after the cold almost killed them off. Courgettes are being typically enthusiastic and we'll probably have to lose some of the plants; a family of four cannot keep up with six plants. Finally, our sweet peppers look as if they're doing well, but only time will tell how well they fruit.

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The last of the chard has come out now and I am thoroughly sick of it, so I have planted some baby leaf spinach instead. The Winter Purslane, red-veined sorrel and rocket are all still going strong.

Taters are looking very good and the first flowers on one plant

Dwarf French Beans sturdy and looking fine

Cucumbers failed to show up

Tomatoes doing very well and have their first flowers

Runner beans/peas doing very well and I have just tied them up further up the canes.

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Well we had our thunderstorm. Two inches of rain in 15 minutes added 1200 litres to the water butts but has battered the veg somewhat. Couple of beans collapsed, half the beetroot seedlings flattened and one tomato plant stem bent. Fortunately no hail, which would have been far worse. The ground was so dry it has all soaked up though, so no more watering for a while.

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We are promised a whole day of rain tomorrow - cooler temps thereafter. Can't wait! Tomato and pepper plants def have arrested development and cues suicidal!

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The torrential rain forecast still has not arrived - grrr! It's cooler though, and overcast.

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We had your hail at 5pm Sunday Beantree.  3 minutes of chaos, 15 mins of thunder and lightning and heavy rain and having to switch the lights on (till they went out).  Then the sun came out.  We were lucky, no damage, but a friend who is an hour away has lost all his grapes apparently.

I have pulled up 50% of my spent broad beans and dug the patch over.  Feeling much better now I have some space to plant out toms.  I hope you all get the rain you need so the plants can power on.

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Just been out to peel the carrot leaves out of the soil. More hail due tonight Daphne, but only yellow alert. Having said that after 3 days of Orange alerts and nothing, the forecast went to yellow so we took the car out from storage. Hail an inch or more diameter arrived in the night; stones shattering on the roof tiles woke me up. Unfortunately the car, made of rather thin metal nowadays, was decorated with craters which fortunately can only be seen viewed at certain angles.

Still no parsnips! After a second sowing of leeks only three survived the rain. Tomatoes are flowering, but it's gone cold here so no bees for pollination. I'll get the paintbrush out tomorrow, weather permitting.

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Eating first courgettes and noticed some green beans have started forming. 

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First courgettes, I am impressed!  We had our first pea yesterday.  Yes, singular pod.  I was given 3 cabbage plants.  They are not cabbage plants!  I can't decide if they are courgettes, melons or squashes.  We are awaiting rain, which is very unusual for June, with 10 degrees overnight, which is also highly unusual.  However, should be good for the veggies.

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I'm also impressed at first courgettes - our plants are still small though there are a few flower buds forming!  So far we've had radishes, strawberries, coriander and the last of the chard that overwintered out of the garden and basil from the greenhouse.  Peas have pods and are beginning to fatten, broad beans are covered in flowers and beginning to pod up, lettuce and rocket are still too small to use, and the fennel is coming along nicely. No sign of any flowers on the spuds yet, and the tomatoes and chillies are only just beginning to flower - but I do have little cucumbers forming which I'm very excited about - it's only the second time I've grown them and last year they took over my small greenhouse - looks like they're set on doing the same thing this year.  And the one walking onion that germinated is doing something, but not very fast!

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More of a strolling onion then 😉? Sounds as though you have quite a lot going on in your garden. You've made me realise that I have forgotten to plant broad beans! So much nicer growing your own as you can pick them when young and tender rather than the toughies that the shops all seem to have! I put one of my tomato plants outside yesterday and, as it hasn't keeled over yet, will take that as a green light to plant out the rest at the weekend. Now, I have to do something with the sideshoots, I think 🤨?

My cucumber seedlings have all shrivelled up so not sure what went wrong there. How did you start yours, M & M?

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Might even be a 'stuck' onion at this rate SD.  I started my cucumbers in a heated propagator and from there they lived in the spare room for a bit and then moved into the greenhouse where they are now.  They were a bit leggy when they graduated from propagator to spare room but bulked up more once they were in big pots in the greenhouse.  I'm definitely a beginner with cucumbers so I suspect it's luck rather than anything else. Working from home since mid March has definitely given me more time for the garden - I have the space but don't usually get this same amount of stuff happening - it's not having 2 hours of commuting each day I think, one of the few benefits of lockdown.

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My courgettes started off in pots and when I couldn't get in greenhouse for foliage I put pots outside. Never had them so early and so many female flowers. I was in danger of being eaten by greenery.  

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Have had first potatoes. One lot of Arran Victory - they were pretty good steamed but not sure what I was thinking as they’re supposed to be main crop 🙄 and one lot of Jazzy which were brilliant as always. 

First flowers are out on the runner beans. 

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Very slow to get things done here, but I'm gradually getting things in.  Squashes are nearly all in - butternuts were my priority.  The wind still does nothing for the beans.  Out of all the runner beans (packets from last year) only one Greek Gigantes has struggled.  I am convinced it is not the compost - it has to be the bean seeds.  Perhaps it was a rotten year to harvest the seeds.  But hey ho - I have some dwarf Borlotties struggling in the wind and some Purple Teepees looking great, but need to go in.  Leeks are pricked out and we are harvesting some sugar snaps.  The soft neck garlic looks puny compared with the garlic we grew last year.  It has bent over and went rusty, but I guess it is time to harvest anyway.   The garlic grown last year was so good that I ordered double the quantity this year and it looks really strong.  The winds haven't bothered them at all - mini chunky telegraph poles!  Shallots are looking great and the early onions are filling up nicely.  Going up the plot, broad beans suffered a bit at first but looking strong in spite of the winds.  Ready to pick a few by the looks.  Blackfly did race me but I had lots to deal with.  Next to them are the celeriac and I still have a lot to put in.  Next bed is the sugar snaps and beetroot boltardy. Parsnips are better than last year but the flea beetles munched the radishes - some are going to seed, but I like the seed pods to eat anyway.  On the other side of the parsnips the Purple Top Milan turnips went to seed - so much heat so soon!  A couple of prepped beds spare and the we have calabrese, cauliflowers and kale.  Not grown caulis here, so it'll be interesting.  Opposite side are beds of spuds.  The main crop is very slow but the others are coming on well.  Then it is spare where we had the compost delivered.  Next bed over is one big one and I'm planting in rows at right angles to the other side.  I may adopt that on the other beds next year - still only the second season so learning and adjusting all the time.  That bed is my squash bed.  I'll be planting sweetcorn in that section too.  Sweetcorn is hardening off ready to go.  On the far bed is still the remaining bit of bought compost - not much left now, and the compost we made last year in the hay bales.  It's looking super but we aren't doing the bales this year.  All compost bins have been replaced in the veg patch which I now refer to as "The Killing Field" - because of all the rabbit legs left all over the place.  In April we lost one of our ducks to Mistress Vixen, but a week later her wing appeared in the field.  Now that was rubbing salt in the wound - so her "remains" which consist of her wing tip and lots of feathers will be laid to rest with my rhubarb plants.

Of the strawberries I had a refund for the 20 plants that didn't grow, while the others were in the greenhouse and we had a small crop from them.  They are a repeat plant, but they need bigger pots now.  I saved 3 Casablanca spuds for my daughter, but lockdown stopped that and so they are now popping up in a deep tub near the greenhouse.  Raspberry plants suffered too from the late planting even though they had been watered - the early crop is doing fine and making suckers which I'll plant up.  From the mid-season I saved a sucker at planting time.  Those plants also looked fine, but after the frost killed the tops, they look done for.  Still the sucker plant is growing in the greenhouse in a pot and looks fabulous!  As for the Autumn Bliss, all are sticks and never did much even thought the roots looked healthy and there were buds on most.  Never mind, the beds are good enough and mulched so a few weeds popping up, but not the end of the world.

Back in the greenhouse I've reorganised the paths and planting.  At the south end we have 2 melons and aubergines.  Along the west there are lots of peppers.  Interesting that a lot of sun dried toms germinated so I've saved the bigger plants, two are on the north end by the door and when the remaining squash plants and gherkins are dealt with then there will be space for the tomatoes.  Also self germinating is a purple chilli plant.  I've already potted one up, but they are small so I don't expect anything from them this year, but will be overwintering in the house.  In the centre bed are the tomatoes - two of each apart from the sundrieds and one Idli plant which is covered in little yellow flowers.  A seed swap and an experiment.  In between those I have space in the centre so I have two rows of different carrot varieties - one of which we grew last year in the greenhouse very successfully!  With a rocky bottomed floor I didn't expect much but was pleasantly surprised!  Spinach went over really quickly so am attempting some dill inside and sown some in modules/root trainers.  Leeks are coming on nicely and have been pricked out into the rootrainers.  The Ailsa Craig onions are almost ready to transplant and while the red onion seed was poor at germinating, they are picking up where they've been transplanted.  I've saved some leftovers for the back of the aubergines, seeing as I had a little bit of success with my one unknown variety of onion last year!  Also new are soya beans which should be planted out, but I think they need supports.  Have pricked out the tops and they are shooting out from the bottom.  I also have cabbage and sprouts to go out, some more beetroot - Burpees Golden and will be sowing some Chioggia as OH really liked that variety best.  I'm also planting more French beans, and I've forgotten what else!

Oh and we have 3 ducklings - one is the offspring from our foxed girl, so the little mixed trio will not be going for the chop! They are now 7 days old and growing fast.  I think the darker one is a boy - but who knows!!!!  Mum is Peppermint Patty.  She is a little frustrated that they shovel their food up like little urchins and not refined like her.  And why don't they scratch when I tell them!  I can't wait to see what happens when I give them a little pool to play in on Monday.  We have saved some strong plastic covers from our new smoke alarms - ideal for tiny paddling pools.  I also can't wait for better weather so that they can play on the grass!

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You have a LS brooding the ducklings?!  Aren't they lovely.

I am off for a lie down, reading about all that hard graft, when are you opening the shop?!  It really sounds as though you are putting in the effort, but also reaping the rewards.  My activity has only encompassed pulling up the last of the broad bean plants, to expose rows of beetroot and carrot (might do that again as the beans provided shade and protection) and trying to stop the cat sprawling all over them.  He has already managed to dig up some stray small potatoes I had missed.  I have now planted out over 20 tomatoes, 5 cherry, 8 pineapple, rest saved seed and unknown, but large and juicy.  I have one pepper grown from seed, and one chili with fruit on.  The peas went in late and only give enough for a pod or 2 each every day but I think I can do better next year.  The French beans didn't germinate at all.  I may try an autumn sowing. The peach tree has about 20 peaches (pathetic), plum trees about 30. The cherries were a disaster, although the white cherry did give us a proper harvest, shame they don't have much flavour!  

 

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2 hours ago, Daphne said:

You have a LS brooding the ducklings?!  Aren't they lovely.

 

 

She's a bantam too.  They are growing so fast - they'll be bigger than she is soon!  :lol:  They really are unruly little mobsters - goodness knows what she's thinking!  She's been lovely though, she didn't bite or mind when you lifted her off to check things and she was fine when I moved her out into the old broody box.  This morning I undid the latch and received a peck!  She's just started getting protective, but we've been picking them up to get them used to us.  It probably won't work, but never mind.

:lol: - sorry I exhausted you!  I was playing catchee upeee!  Not posted for a while.  Have made a bit more progress in The Killing Field, chased out Pretty Boy Floyd the Pheasant (much to his disgust) but he was near the transplanted onions - forgot I did that last week before the weather turned - I had put a covering over them but the covers just squashed them down.  Since removing the covers they have all perked up.  The bit of recent rain has also perked up the soft neck garlic and some of those have begun to fill out.  I think Floyd was scrabbling on the pathway - we mulch the paths with grass clippings just to keep the dirt covered.  So more squashes now in the ground.

 

2 hours ago, Daphne said:

You have a LS brooding the ducklings?!  Aren't they lovely.

I am off for a lie down, reading about all that hard graft, when are you opening the shop?!  It really sounds as though you are putting in the effort, but also reaping the rewards.  My activity has only encompassed pulling up the last of the broad bean plants, to expose rows of beetroot and carrot (might do that again as the beans provided shade and protection) and trying to stop the cat sprawling all over them.  He has already managed to dig up some stray small potatoes I had missed.  I have now planted out over 20 tomatoes, 5 cherry, 8 pineapple, rest saved seed and unknown, but large and juicy.  I have one pepper grown from seed, and one chili with fruit on.  The peas went in late and only give enough for a pod or 2 each every day but I think I can do better next year.  The French beans didn't germinate at all.  I may try an autumn sowing. The peach tree has about 20 peaches (pathetic), plum trees about 30. The cherries were a disaster, although the white cherry did give us a proper harvest, shame they don't have much flavour!  

 

Sounds like you found a bit of companion planting there - it worked so it's a good recipe for the future.  Just not the year for the cherries then.  Always another year - always swings and roundabouts, what works one year seems to be kicked into touch the second.   Annoying about the French beans - there's still plenty of time to sow more.  

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OOOOh, a LS bantam! I'm in love again! She is lovely and obviously a good duckie mum sub!

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❤️  She is a lovely bird.  I don't know how she stays so clean!  A little bigger than the pekins and the faverolle bantam, but I do like her a lot.  I like all the bantams - each have their own funny personality, although I have to admit Fudge has always been my favourite.  Fudge is currently in the sin bin for being persistently broody!  2nd day and she is not impressed!:lol:

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Not fussed enough - day 4 in the sin bin.:roll:

Yesterday I managed to get the sweetcorn in with the squashes.  Today I planted more celeriac.  Taking shape.  Oooh the bats are out!

 

 

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That's supper sorted then! The sweetest Chantenay carrots, Red Veined Sorrel, Rocket and baby leafed Spinach. Delicious!

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Yum!  They do look good and super healthy as well.  I have discovered another companion planting which is to plant rocket beneath toms, as the leaves shade the rocket (given everything here is prone to bolting in the heat).  You could also grow lettuce beneath the toms.

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That's interesting Daphne - my Rocket has bolted and I am snipping the flowers off it. I will plant it somewhere shady next year - it's in a mesh cloche this time around.

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