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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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We gave some thought to growing Mangleworzle (have I spelt it correctly?) but couldn't find seeds. This was before Worzle Gummage. We did grow Turnips but for the life of me I can't think why or what we did with them?

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I've just Googled 'boleti beans' and it said they were a wild version of kidney beans. There are only two things (so far) I can't stand to eat; celery and kidney beans. I find celery overpowers anything else and tastes horrible and kidney beans seem to swell up, taste of nothing and are probably like chewing cardboard. Guess what we haven't got in the veggie plot.

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1 hour ago, Beantree said:

I've just Googled 'boleti beans' and it said they were a wild version of kidney beans. There are only two things (so far) I can't stand to eat; celery and kidney beans. I find celery overpowers anything else and tastes horrible and kidney beans seem to swell up, taste of nothing and are probably like chewing cardboard. Guess what we haven't got in the veggie plot.

They are a variety of the common bean. But with little red specks. I find they taste similar to normal beans. They are slightly bigger than kidney beans.

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7 hours ago, Beantree said:

Thinking the seeds were no good I re-seeded and when it got cooler they all came up!

That happened to me two years ago but with the cold and I ended up with two rows way too close together.

I did find that you can freeze them once parboiled then they’re very easy to do roast parsnips straight from the freezer.

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Planned to put the tomatoes out today, but the heavy showers forecast for the next few days have delayed that. The plants are doing so well that the first truss of flowers is visible, but they are in tiny pots so perhaps the root system won't be big enough to allow them to develop?

The main crop potatoes (Desiree) are all earthed up and are flowering, which I haven't seen this early before. The early potatoes (Agata) are still a long way behind (3 weeks perhaps) after the frost killed the tops, but whilst earthing up I did find one potato.

Previously we have had a few 'dud' onions in the beds, so this year I planted what was left over (the little weedy ones) in a tray of compost, the intention being to replace the duds. But the onions in the tray came up first, so I transplanted all those with roots into a spare bed and they are going great.

Putting two courgette plants into a two year old compost patch. Expect them to do well and carrying the water up the hill (10% slope, 60 metres) will be good exercise.

We've put 500 litres of our compost into the beds again this year and it looks like we have finally got some healthy soil, so fingers crossed for a bumper crop of everything. Plenty of worms now; when we arrived here 4 years ago there were none.

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Took some YouTube advice and cut all the flowers off the main crop potatoes. It is claimed it increases the yield because the energy of the plants doesn't go to the fruits, but to the tubers. The beds are so heavily composted now I will never know if that is the reason for a good crop.

Coldest May on record here they say. Germination rates have been appalling. Of the 100'ish carrots and leeks expected we have 20 and just two. Dwarf beans had 80% germination but the ants have eaten the growing buds on half of them so I think the second sowing will have to be this week. Similar problem with the beetroot. We will re-sow the leeks at the end of the season and make them a Winter crop. Only one onion failed to shoot.

At last the tomatoes are planted as are the courgettes and seem to be growing well. No watering necessary yet as it's raining again.

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On 5/5/2021 at 5:25 PM, soapdragon said:

My lovely neighbour has just brought round 5 young borlotti bean plants, which will have to be in overnight as we are, apparently, down to -2 tonight!

They keeled over and died within the day!!!!

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I didn't know that about maincrops, but I've just done a bit of research, and it does seem to be a good thing to do.  It would be counter-intuitive for me, as I'd think I was harming pollination, but I see that US research (I look at research in California, as bits of their climate is similar to mine) says it is productive.  You'll have to let us know whether it worked.

I do feel for you all as my past 2 Springs have been cold and wet and very unsatisfactory.  If one can be philosophical then taking the long view is best, which might be to look at summer sowings in an effort to salvage something, but I know its hard and I don't follow my own advice!  At least its not too late for many things, and if in doubt, buy plugs.  On the bright side, lets hope for a magnificent summer.

Portugal must be the exception to the weather rule, its been a good May and taken in the round the Spring has worked out very well.  I am drowning in beetroots (definitely the plugs are the way to go they have taken about 6 weeks from planting to harvest. I also have a row of seed sown, where I have been eating the leaves as I thin them, so thats an extra, but the root won't be ready for another month), peas, broad beans, rocket, garlic, and the odd strawberry, although I know they will be better next year.  The cherries are fruiting, but I have discovered a major error I have made, which is very stupid.  We had a terrace laid about 4 years ago, leaving about 2-3ft free around the mature cherry, but this year it has had small leaves, not enough of them, and many of the fruits have fallen.  My neighbour, who grafted it with the best eating cherry from his plot, said it might be a water shortage, with not enough getting down to the roots, and as we had a very dry March, maybe that's true.  I feel very annoyed with myself, although up until now the tree has been OK.  The only consolation is that our regular local walks take us past numerous cherry trees, in groves, some abandoned, so we always get a feed!

Beantree, I hope your manuring works out.  As I've said, I now have a raised bed with a mix of guano, fertlized compost (its a Portugeuse thing) and soil, and I have never ever grown so much, so well.  My cherry toms have a few fruit on them, the other toms are sturdy and healthy, its like I've been given a magic passport to the land of vegetable growing!  OH will make me another bed ready for a Sept sowing, as I'm not tempted over the summer in the heat except for peppers/chilis/toms, although next year I am going to try aubergines again.  In fact I will need to get shade cloth for the strawbs.

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I will let you know about the productivity of our main crops @Daphne. So far, I have never seen potato plants grow this fast. No worries about pollination as we have set aside large areas for wildflowers and the bees are having a great time.

I found the ants nest under the membrane next to the beans, so perhaps they will start growing now? Seems they are sucking the sap out of them as well as eating the shoots? The nest was huge.

We need to shade the raspberries because last year the fruit bleached white in the sun. They are a different variety to the ones we had in England. They don't spread and they fruit from the same stems as the previous year, so we don't need to prune out the old growth every Spring. They are the only berries we had that didn't get eaten by the birds, so all the rest have been taken out; replaced by potatoes.

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So our neighbour arrived with wine and some food in response to our gift of tomato plants and eggs. Social distancing better: we have had the vaccine and he hasn't.

The conversation went to potatoes. His first ever year of gardening was last year and this year he has planted 380 tubers!!!

He mentioned snails being a problem. He is looking for a organic solution. But ours is simple, out with a torch at night and pick them up.

"Do you eat them?" Well certainly not. But that started me thinking, perhaps another crop? Well they have been eating our veg.

Seems they are rather tasty. But the effort perhaps isn't worth the reward? Water them for three days then feed them on carrots. When they poo orange they are ready for the fridge where they hibernate and retreat into their shells it's time for cooking. Then pull what's left with tweezers and enjoy! Or perhaps not?

Back to the thread. Everything is now going great, but the ants have had a feast.

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4 hours ago, Beantree said:

He mentioned snails being a problem. He is looking for a organic solution. But ours is simple, out with a torch at night and pick them up.

One of my friends told me that sheep fleece works well.

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Can't imagine how you would use sheep fleece @Luvachicken? We would need hundreds to surround the vegetable plot. 

Well, the snail collecting worked yesterday but the 30 odd escaped overnight; just pushed the lid off the bucket it seems.

First light this morning and a wild boar was standing in the field at the side of the house. Saw me and ran off but it has wrecked the compost heaps and dug up our courgettes. The new roots have been broken so the plants won't be able to get the water they need, so I don't hold out much hope for their survival. We need a new composting system behind some sturdy fencing.

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48 minutes ago, Beantree said:

Can't imagine how you would use sheep fleece @Luvachicken? We would need hundreds to surround the vegetable plot. 

Well, the snail collecting worked yesterday but the 30 odd escaped overnight; just pushed the lid off the bucket it seems.

First light this morning and a wild boar was standing in the field at the side of the house. Saw me and ran off but it has wrecked the compost heaps and dug up our courgettes. The new roots have been broken so the plants won't be able to get the water they need, so I don't hold out much hope for their survival. We need a new composting system behind some sturdy fencing.

Some day you can’t seem to win!

I used nematodes for the first time this year and so far I’m very pleased. Still some big snails around, but they aren’t affected by the nematodes. But also easily spotted and removed. But so far no slugs spotted and not so many small snails either. 

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We have been invited out for a drink and snails next weekend!  They eat them very small over here, cooked in a gravy so actually tasty and less 'difficult' than big French ones.  I believe you have to purge them before eating.  My neighbour has put up stock fencing around his veg patch to keep the boar out.  I don't think its strong enough to stop them, but it has worked in deterring them.  They only visited once, so fingers crossed its the same for you.  I used to collect slugs/snails at night in UK, with a torch and put them in a bucket - full of salt to kill them as I didn't know where to release them safely without them coming back as I lived on a street with back to back gardens about 30 houses long!

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The big ones you see here are a farmed variety @Daphne, but just the same type as your ordinary garden snail. Feeding them on carrots does the purging; you know they are ready when they poo orange (says Gordon Ramsey on his video).

We've got stock fencing around the veggie plot, but not around the compost heaps because they move every year to another weed-filled area. The compost smothers the weeds then after two years it is lifted in September and grass sown in October, just before rain. They are layered with weeds and leaves on the bottom, chicken poo next, then grass cuttings which serve as a barrier from the Summer heat and retain moisture in the lower layers which the worms gradually mix. Worked brilliantly up to now, but now the layers are upside-down! Even worse, the ground has been heaved up so the compost has clumps of soil in it.

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On 6/6/2021 at 6:50 AM, Beantree said:

Can't imagine how you would use sheep fleece @Luvachicken? We would need hundreds to surround the vegetable plot. 

I've only had veggies in pots as my garden is small, so I guess I wasn't thinking about big spaces.

I do find Crocs are pretty good for snails with a nice heavy stomp - the birds seem to eat what is left.

I've seen the destruction that wild boar cause in The Forest of Dean so it is a shame they have ruined some of your crops.

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They are beautiful CT!  I also like your white foxglove, I have been toying with the idea of trying to bring in some seed from somewhere, we only have the wild purple ones, which are lovely, and grow well here, but I would love some white ones to complement them.

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1 hour ago, Daphne said:

They are beautiful CT!  I also like your white foxglove, I have been toying with the idea of trying to bring in some seed from somewhere, we only have the wild purple ones, which are lovely, and grow well here, but I would love some white ones to complement them.

I got the white one from a friend who grew them from a packet of mixed seeds. Ended up with a white and a pink one. Already have loads of pinks in the garden. They are very lovely.

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I finally planted out almost all of my seedlings that I grew.

Last week, being half term and mostly nice weather, was perfect for planting.

I just have my little tomato plants and runner beans to sort out.

The Oriental poppy seeds that I collected on my Lockdown walks last year have been extremely successful and they are all over my garden. I can't wait for them to flower.

I had to complain about some Cosmos as only 3 out of 60 seeds grew and I also complained about a packet of Nicotiana where the seeds were almost non existent. Both companies sent me replacement packets.

I need to be a lot more strict on myself and not buy so many seeds in the first place though. 

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