Thursday, 19 July 2018

Mid July

Not quite a glut, but a nice quantity of beetroot. On the left, 'Chioggia' (which when cut open reveal concentric red and white stripes), on the right 'Cheltenham Mono', with long roots (but which have disappointed me by growing very slowly and not swelling much).

I have to go away again. It'll be for no more than a week, like last time, but once again I feel stressed. This time it feels like a tipping point - there are summer tasks I need to have done before I get back, because the end of July really is too late for some things. I can't expect runner beans sown that late to do very much, so any cheeky late sowings of anything remotely tender must be done before I go (and even then, I'm pushing it, but what do I have to lose?). I have got a few things done, planted the first bulb fennel, which should be ready by mid August, the second sowings have germinated - and there's still time for more. At last, the winter squash are being planted. Once again, this is very late - I sowed them at the 'right' time, and can only hope that by potting them on and feeding them, they have grown enough already to set fruit before too long (they're good-sized plants, 18 inches to 2 feet long in most cases, with flowers either open or budding, but they have been a bit constrained). I sowed cucumbers again, because all the previous plants died one way or another, but this time they went in the greenhouse, mostly sown straight into the beds. They'll compete for space with what's already planted, but it's better than nothing. I'm hoping by the time they start taking up space, the tomatoes' lower leaves will all be stripped (this is usual practice when growing indeterminate or vine tomatoes), so they can form an understory. Basil, ditto, but that's not a worry.

My first courgette! I believe this is 'Diamant' (from the first plant put in its final position, a large pot).

Some winter squash will be planted in the polytunnel, as insurance and because there's space in there - they should have extra time to grow and mature in the warmer conditions. Also sweetcorn, which was an unexpected success in there the first year here. Some of the largest brassicas are being fed in their pots as they too ae desperate to be planted. At least some can go in the onion and/or broad bean-pea beds once those are cleared, but in the meantime I have potted the largest ones on again (from 1 litre to 4 litre pots). In principle they can be grown in pots all the way to harvest, if the containers are large enough, but I'd rather not do that because it will involve much more watering. We'll see...

Most other things are fine, at least. The middle sowing of brassicas - cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower done in May - that I repotted a while back are bouncing into growth again (they'd reached a bottleneck), and the last sowing of these have germinated and been thinned to healthy seedlings. Barring slug and snail damage (which has wreaked havoc with them on and off this year so far), they should be good to plant in autumn, for cropping over winter and into spring. That's reassuring, at least - knowing the beds won't be empty in the colder months.

Nine kale plants went into the ground, and I took the three lowest leaves from each for this harvest - it weighed 200g. I could have picked twice as much, but I want the plants to concentrate on growing for now.

Harvests are quite plentiful, with the first courgettes ripening, although they're not prolific (will they ever be?). Lots of soft fruit, leaves, and legumes. Returning to the greenhouse, there's plenty of growth, with lots of green tomatoes and chillies, and even the aubergines are getting ready to flower, so it's not all stressful. The greenhouse so far has been a joy - I don't have to water too often, as the beds are deep and the plants can root into the subsoil, plus I'm using cut-off inverted plastic bottles to drip water deeply, which helps even things out (rather than watering then letting things dry out, back and forth). I get lots of pleasure going in there - especially on a grey day when it's much warmer under the glass than outside - and pinching side shoots, twisting the supporting twine around growing plants, and just enjoying the atmosphere. I don't expect any ripe fruit for a couple of weeks at least, but I can be patient.

13/07 - 110g mangetout, 120g lettuce, 80g (elephant) garlic*
14/07 - 80g lettuce, 95g courgette, (15g raspberries)
15/07 - 200g kale
16/07 - 120g broad beans, 95g mangetout, 20g peas, (315g raspberries, 30g blackcurrants)
17/07 - 95g peas
18/07 - 75g chard, 305g beetroot
19/07 - 110g courgettes, 45g kale, 95g lettuce, (400g raspberries)
YTD total: 5.56kg

*harvested at the beginning of the month, but left to dry a bit before weighing

Strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, and blackcurrants, stewing with a little sugar for a summer pudding. The smell was delicious!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Toil

The colours of July: pink-tinged mangetout 'Spring Blush', redcurrants, and garlic.

As I have mentioned before (or you could infer from previous years' blogging), normally I give up on the garden about now. But not this year. However, now I know what both alternatives are like, I'm not sure which I prefer.

I keep getting a lot done (by my standards at least) - sowing, pricking out, potting on, removing dead or dying leaves, checking for and attempting to counteract pests and disease, harvesting, planting, pruning, tying in, and all the other small tasks that a garden of any size requires, as well as larger ones like taking delivery of, and shifting the second sack of compost. But it never feels enough, and every day I seem to fall further behind.

When I gave up in years gone by, I felt sad, guilty, and a failure. This time I just feel worn down. There's still a small voice saying 'it won't be this bad in the future, because all those big jobs - building the greenhouse, thoroughly clearing and amending beds, etc - will have been done, and from then on it's just keeping things ticking over'. Well, maybe.

I've had to contend with unforeseen issues. Blackbirds have been a pain since the soft fruit started ripening. We inherited a lot of soft fruit here - redcurrants, blackcurrants, and raspberries - and they have continued to grow and even spread (raspberries are actually quite invasive) without our input. This is the first year I've made a proper effort to harvest them - in the past I picked a bit here and there, but most was left. Well, clearly the blackbirds think it's their fruit, and the laden boughs have started turning bare. They're doing what I've seen them do with elderberries and rowan in previous years - stripping the fruit before it's fully ripe. This is particularly annoying because some fruit can't be picked like that (raspberries just won't pull off the plant easily), and none is worth collecting in that state, as mostly it doesn't ripen properly off the plant. So if they take it before I can, then it's a complete loss.

I constructed a fruit cage around the bulk of the currants (which took a day out of my time that could have been used elsewhere), so they started attacking the raspberries. I put up CDs on string and it seems to have repelled them (it's actually very effective in the sense that I keep catching movement out of the corner of my eye and being startled by them, so perhaps it does upset the birds), and so they moved back to the currants and got in any gap they could find in the netting. Today I decided the fruit was ripe enough (though not fully) and time was short, so I've picked them. Raspberries are trickling in, and will do for some time, but currants are a one hit wonder. There may be enough for a summer pudding and a bottle of cassis, but that's about it.

Another problem I've not really noticed before is beet leaf miner. On the beetroot it doesn't matter, though it's unsightly, but the spinach beet have been ruined - I've not managed to harvest any yet. I have to remove every affected leaf on both crops - and the chard - because if they hatch out they will transfer from one to the other endlessly. The regular spinach all bolted, every time I sowed it (sometimes whilst still in the seed tray), so I'm not doing well on that front.

However elsewhere, harvests are ramping up. I cleared the polytunnel garlic and it should do for some months, and there are around another dozen bulbs from this year's planting still in the ground. I sowed runner beans in between these a few days ago, as I've let earlier sowings linger in their pots for want of somewhere to go, and this should mean they're a good size when I pull the garlic out (carefully!) in a couple of weeks' time. Incidentally, I also sowed borlotti beans amongst the sweetcorn, not because I want to go down the three sisters route (two thirds at least), but because once again space is wanting, and they should do okay if the theory holds. Peas are thriving - I must grow more next year - both shelling and mangetout. The first courgettes did what they always do for me: start to form, then wither before reaching any size, but more are growing and I must just hope they perk up. Kale is a stalwart, although I'm picking lightly as I want them to continue for months to come. The beetroot I sowed direct is still cropping well, I can just grab some when I want it. But so many plants are waiting to go in, some more desperate than others. I have nonetheless sown more, as I need things for later in the year - cabbages for winter, broccoli for late autumn, etc. One good thing is that some of the early crops will be coming out soon, onions, broad beans, and peas specifically, so I will have some bed space for *something* at least, although what takes priority isn't yet clear.

Peas, fresh from the pod! I've always dreamed of growing them well, and this seems to be the year, even though half the varieties I sowed never went in the ground. In my previous garden, they tended to fall prey to snails, but here they've been utterly trouble free.

Harvests
06/07 - 440g garlic, 15g broad beans (shelled weight; 45g in pods), (110g redcurrants)
07/07 - 70g kale, 115g garlic, 20g courgette flowers
08/07 - 110g mangetout
10/07 - 230g garlic, 50g mangetout, (35g raspberries)
11/07 - 650g beetroot, (90g raspberries)
12/07 - 115g peas, (170g blackcurrants, 385g redcurrants, 10g raspberries)
YTD total: 3.915kg

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Early July

I only planted the first melon into the greenhouse in the last week - I sowed a batch at the correct time, but none germinated, so I ordered some different seeds, and thankfully they came up, although I didn't get them potted on as soon as I ought to have. However, it seems to have responded instantly, with two flowers opening today.

I did indeed order a second 900 litre sack of compost. Actually, although it's called 'compost', it's rather different to the stuff I've bought in bags from local shops - although they vary a lot too. Small bags from the Co-op are very fibrous and light, while the ones I got from Morrisons were crumbly and had a good weight. This stuff feels halfway to soil, so it's a good texture for beds, but I'm not sure how fertile it is (the website I ordered from claims it's good - this one is for vegetables). You can't judge its quality for at least a few weeks though, alas, until the plants start to thrive or not. But I'll use plant food as necessary too - homemade from nettles and comfrey, and also seaweed and poultry manure pellets, both of which I already had. My fingers are eternally metaphorically crossed...


Crops to come. Above: a shelling pea, either 'Hurst Green Shaft' or 'Kelvedon Wonder'. Below: one of the first courgettes, I think this is 'Diamant' (note this is the embryonic fruit I photographed in this entry.


The bed with broad beans and onions that wasn't thriving has been replanted. I actually left some of the existing crops in, giving them the benefit of the doubt. The top growth of the broad beans was thin and the leaves stunted, but they have started reshooting from the base, and that seems much healthier, even flowering, so I cut back the bad parts and they'll be given a few more weeks. The onions, though weedy up top, had rooted in pretty well, so I've left some of them too. I top dressed with a couple of centimetres of the new compost (this bed was filled with manure originally, which may have been the problem), and then planted in some brassicas. I have a lot of large cabbages and suchlike, which were potted on and on, and now really need to be put somewhere permanent, so they have gone in as an experiment. Three types of cabbage - 'Red Drumhead' (blue-purple), 'Barbosa' (a savoy type), and 'Deadon' (primarily green but tinged with purple) - and some swedes, that probably shouldn't be grown in pots initially, but we will see.

In fact I'd got a bit despondent a week or so ago, because one by one, the big brassicas were being destroyed, probably by fat garden snails - eaten right down to the soil level, no chance of recovery. But having rescued the survivors, there are still a lot of plants, more than enough, so it's not so bad. I had thought every cauliflower was lost, too - the snails(?) seem to like those best, whether seedlings or larger plants, even ignoring lettuces and other choice things around them. But no, there are some left, including 'Romanesco Natalino', which has acid green curds, and 'Clovis' (and later I found a few 'Violetto di Sicilia', with purple heads, and the classic white 'All Year Round'). The former I planted into the bed, the latter are still mostly too small, and I'll pot them on. It will be a few weeks at least before any of these crops are ready, but they are growing, and I must remain patient.


Flowers presage future crops. Above: the first tomatoes to go into the greenhouse beds are now double the size in less than two weeks, with multiple trusses of flowers opening. Below: the third type of shelling pea, 'Alderman' has started blooming, although it's only half of its potential full height of 6-7 feet.


Incidentally, returning to the subject of compost, I have been laying down plenty of my own for the future. For years the compost heap was down the far end of the garden, and I added to it only when I could be bothered, mostly food waste and grass clippings. But this year I'm being much more rigorous about it, so I set up a new pile in a more convenient location, and have been layering on 'green' and 'brown' material (respectively, soft, leafy, nitrogen-rich, and dry, carbon-rich stuff). Well it only took a few weeks to fill to a good level, so I started a new one next to it, but that is already almost full too. Of course all this clearing of space for new plantings generates a huge amount of waste, plus I've been adding plenty of carboard, which is a good foil for the soft leafy stuff that might otherwise go slimy. I've had to water these heaps though, as we've had next to no rain, and a dry heap won't compost at all. I really hope in six months I'll have enough to spread over some of the vegetable beds, saving some money and improving the garden's self-sufficient credentials.

Sweetcorn 'Double Red', which even if it doesn't produce a crop is so ornamental that I couldn't consider it a failure. I haven't yet decided where there will go, so they're being potted on. 'Swift' have been planted into the ground, while 'Incredible' will need some attention very soon.

Harvests
03/07 - 15g mangetout, 40g beetroot
05/07 - 30g peas (only shelled weight counted; before shelling 110g), 70g chard, 90g garlic*
YTD total: 2.1kg

*This is not from the 2018 planting, but garlic I put in the polytunnel in my first summer here, four years ago. Despite not being watered for all that time (until the last few weeks, when I decided given I would grub the whole lot up, I wanted to give it the best chance to crop well), it grew every spring, before fizzling out in summer due to heat and dessication. Garlic is tough! It must have got moisture from the subsoil. It never produced bulbs, but mostly individual cloves; still, it tastes great and has been all the garlic I needed for the past nine months or so.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Drought

The courgette and summer squash bed, at last coming together. I had intended to do this, here, last year. This was a thicket of goldenrod - that must have self-seeded, and then formed an impenetrable, invasive patch. Instead of digging it all out, I'm trying 'no dig', so cutting it down to the roots, putting down a thick layer of cardboard, then a mulch of compost, manure, and coir mixed with seaweed fertiliser pellets, to a depth of at least six inches.

30/06
The heat subsided a little after a couple of days, but there's no rain in sight. The garden beds are okay with that - established plants will be fine for a while yet. But I still have hundreds of pots. It's been an advantage in one sense - as I clear a space and add a load of fresh compost or manure, I can pop them in and it looks instantly mature, like a show garden without the polish, but the downside is that until planted, they dry out very quickly, so they are constantly teetering on the edge of death by dessication.

Meanwhile, my compost came. I was tired of buying it bag by bag wherever it could be found cheaply nearby - the local convenience store, the supermarket, the nearest sort-of garden centre - then running out in a few days. All that potting has burned through hundreds of litres (although it's worth remembering that it'll all go back into the garden, either as the plants are put into the ground, or when they die), but for no-dig, the method I'm using for some of the most challenging beds, I need enough to coat the ground to a depth of several inches. So I ordered a 900 litre builder's bag, and it came on the hottest day of the year. As they could only wheel it partway down the driveway, I immediately had to shovel it into the wheelbarrow and cart the whole lot away so it wasn't blocking the car. Actually that didn't take long, but it's already being used up fast, and I'm contemplating having to get another sackful in the coming week.

I envisage that at *some* point, the garden will require less input. But maybe I'm deluding myself. Surely some of the slack in months to come will be taken by compost made here, and once the beds are thickly mulched, they'll require less anyway. But there's always so much that needs to be done - thirsty pots, seedlings straining at their modules, plants getting too big and crying out for a permanent home. I look at other people with gardens I aspire to, or even allotments, and wonder how on earth they manage - especially with all the other stuff that most people's lives involve, be it jobs, children, travelling, and so on. I feel utterly inadequate. This year I set out to do more than ever before, and I have done, but if 80% of the plants never get to harvest, it will naturally still feel like I've failed.

I am not a thoroughly negative person, but I have to be honest. Perhaps other people have help? I can't rely on anyone else, so it's a constant battle with lethargy and doubt. And still I wait for a substantial harvest, half the year gone already.

02/07
I've carried on with jobs around the garden, and made progress. I'm still in the foothills of the mountain that needs to be climbed, but I'm moving in the right direction. The heat has built again, and there is still no sign of rain...

Harvests
30/06 - 50g strawberries
01/07 - 5g courgette flowers, 70g lettuce
YTD total: 1.855kg

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Heatwave

Courgette flowers! These are male, with no fruit at the base, so can be snipped off and eaten - stuffed and fried is traditional, or else sliced and stirred through pasta or risotto, sprinkled on pizza, etc.

Written 27/06:
To begin with, I thought the characterisation of a few days of above-average temperatures as a 'heatwave' was a little excessive, but now we're in the middle of it, I feel more equivocal. It is unusually warm, especially for Scotland - over 30ºC in places, and obviously much hotter in sheltered, sunny spots. I enjoy the heat, and have ways to avoid it making things too uncomfortable (especially indoors at night), so it's great.

Lots of healthy kale plants have been one of the year's great successes so far. I've never grown them before, but they are so easy and so ornamental that they ought to be a fixture in the garden from now on.

It does mean a lot more watering. No rain is one thing - and June has been unseasonally dry, though less so up here than in parts of England - but this kind of heat dessicates everything very quickly, especially potted plants, and I have a few hundred of those. So at least two hours a day will be spent watering at the moment, although it's not much of a chore. I find it quite pleasant standing, or walking slowly round the garden, really looking at the plants,whilst soaking them. I have been using watering cans for the lower part of the garden*, as I find trailing a hose tens of metres more trouble, but even that is fine. There's a sense of achievement, as little by little, parched plants get their fill - and it doesn't have to be done every day (I do the garden in sections, otherwise it would take hours more!).

*I did use the hose the next day as the beds themselves needed a good soak.

Against all odds, there are pods swelling on the broad beans in the polytunnel. Small and few, but more than I expected from these poor neglected plants.

Some crops will suffer. Lettuces are very susceptible to drying out, though they recover quickly. Peas are said to hate hot weather, but so far they look fine. Cooler-weather crops like brassicas may or may not mind, but again they all look healthy at present. On the other hand, the tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, and courgettes are basking, and so long as they don't dry out, they will thrive. Had I known this weather was coming, I would perhaps not have felt so rushed to build the greenhouse, where even with the door and all the vents fully open, it's almost too warm at the moment - it's been as high as 39ºC, and today has hovered well over 30ºC all day. However, this weather cannot last, and when things return to normal, that's when it will come into its own.

Harvests are still thin on the ground. Ample lettuce, some leafy greens, herbs, and beets are about all the garden has to offer right now. My fault for not planning better or starting earlier in the year. But soon things will surely change - peas and beans, onions and garlic (and if I continue, there will be much more this time next year). Surely soon there will be more substantial crops. But for now there's plenty to do. I've been clearing the beds that will be taken up by cucurbits (courgettes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins), and summer beans, which have been utterly derelict since we came here four years ago. The vegetable garden is less and less a tiny island surrounded by weedy wilderness, and more orderly and full of beautiful edible plants, and as that change continues, I am sustained and willed on. Normally I have a slump at this time of year, but at present I feel there's such a weight of plants and progress that it has a momentum of its own now. And the weather helps with that too.

A dream coming true: ranks of vegetables swelling in the sunshine. Here are beetroot in the foreground, garlic to the right, and sweetcorn at the back.

Harvests
26/06 - 40g chard, 30g spinach, (approx. 200g elderflowers)
28/06 - 190g beetroot*
YTD total: 1.73kg

*note, this is trimmed of leaves, washed and dried - although the leaves are edible, they're not great once the bulbs are ready, so I compost them, and they aren't weighed.

 Here is a female courgette flower, not yet open, but the embryonic fruit is already distinct. It's the variety 'Burpee's Golden'.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Homecoming

A real cause for celebration - the first tomatoes are 'setting' (the fruits are forming). This plant hasn't even been put in its final position, but they are irrepressible.

I was only gone a week. Actually, I expected everything to look very different on my return, but it doesn't really. A few things - especially the smallest plants, seedlings in trays especially - have increased considerably in size, but most things haven't. Which is not to say the garden doesn't look different. While I was gone, there was a fair bit of rain, but also mild sunshine, which is good growing weather, and most things have survived and done fine. But it's just a week.

Beetroot 'Chioggia' sliced horizontally. It doesn't taste much different to red beetroot, but it's a lot prettier! Note, the stripes lose definition if you cook it in water - it's best eaten raw, or as here, baked into crisps (or deep fried, if you prefer).

I pulled the first beetroot almost the moment I arrived. A bit premature, as it turns out - the largest are still only ping-pong ball sized (I guess? I've never actually played) - so I'll leave the rest another week before trying again. But they are very healthy, beautiful-looking, and sweet to taste, so I'm pleased. Elsewhere, the garlic that was planted (most never was) is healthy and should be ready in a month. Likewise onions and peas. I'm a little concerned with the broad beans; the bed that wasn't thriving looks really unhealthy now, to the point where I might pull them out (or at least interplant with something in case they don't crop), and the one that was has lost most of its flowers but there seem very few pods. Maybe they're still small, I really hope that in my absence they didn't get shocked somehow - or was it the storm? They are most sensitive around this time, when the fruit is 'setting', so  maybe I was unlucky. Which is a pity, as they're usually trouble-free.

An aubergine! The first plant to go into the new greenhouse beds. I've never successfully grown them from seed before, so I'm really hoping this is my year. This is 'Little Fingers', with narrow fruits that will hopefully stand a better chance in this northern location. 

Brassicas need planting now. The potted plants are almost all very healthy but too large for their current homes - kales are providing a light crop already (see below). One or two have been killed off by slugs or snails, but that's to be expected. Lettuces are mostly fine, and will be cropped again in the next couple of days (I took a load with me while I was away, more than I needed, and there will be as much again to pick). Cucurbits look okay but again a bit constrained. Sweetcorn is so-so.

Three varieties of pea are flowering now. This is 'Spring Blush', which has very ornamental blooms as you can see.

My next major task is ordering a big bag - around 900 litres - of good compost (edit - I did this yesterday so it should be here in the coming week). The manure hasn't been a success, and I'm running out of other options. I need enough to lay the final no-dig beds, and preferably before July gets going. More coir, too.

I may not manage a large crop of parsnips this year - very few germinated - but I should have some. The ones that did grow are large and healthy, if crowded, as you can see.

Harvests
23/06 - 140g beetroot, 60g lettuce, 20g kale, 5g strawberry
24/06 - 25g lettuce, 25g kale, (250g elderflowers)*
YTD total: 1.47kg
*Once again I'm counting these separately, not including them in the total, because I didn't plant them

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Delay

13/06
So I was going away. But then the weather did what it has a knack for - something inconvenient. After weeks of mostly settled, warm, dry weather, an intense storm is due to blast through tomorrow morning. Things I could have left in my absence - pots and trays, but also the greenhouse - needed to be secured. So I've put off going for a few more days, because this year I will not be thwarted.

~~~

14/06
So the storm has come and largely gone. Little damage, thankfully. The trees were whipped about, and at this time of year when they are fully clothed, they can more easily be brought down by a gale, but we were lucky. The greenhouse was about the most solid thing in the garden as it turned out - partly because I bit the bullet and did what I had been putting off, namely fixing the base down to the platform beneath. I have a mild aversion to certain things, and drilling through metal and masonry is not a favourite activity, but it had to be done eventually, and I wanted the structure to have a good chance. In fact, the sheer weight of the glazing holds it down for the most part, but this was insurance (and prevents the whole thing shifting). Now I've started, it's less daunting, and I'll finish soon.

The greenhouse was warm and calm today, while outside it was cool and violently blustery. I've moved more plants in already than can live there permanently, but it was a wise choice. Although many tomatoes I sowed and potted on haven't thrived, I have enough plants now to get a good crop even if no more are useable. Ditto chillies, peppers, and aubergines. Melons and cucumbers, I'm not sure about, and the okra have sulked since I potted them on a few weeks ago.

I also took delivery today of a new thing - coir. I have consumed hundreds of litres of compost in the last few weeks - various types, though I try to avoid peat-based ones as those are environmentally damaging. Coir is useful as an alternative, and has the great advantage of being sold in dry, compressed blocks. I got three today, just to see - each one is 5kg and rehydrates to approximately 70 litres. I will mix it with well-rotted horse manure, which I've been using neat but leaves a bit to be desired, especially with regard to its texture, and some chicken manure/seaweed pellets as fertiliser, as I have them lying around. The tomatoes may do fine in this, but I'll use at least one other medium for some plants, just to hedge my bets.

~~~

15/06
Still blustery, cool, and largely grey today. The greenhouse seems perennially warm though, which is great. It shouldn't surprise me, but it does. I've started putting the planting medium down (the perimeter base is much higher than the internal ground surface - between four and ten inches - and the difference will be made up with whatever good stuff I can obtain). To start with I'm trying a mix as outlined above of about 40% coir, 60% manure, with seaweed fertiliser pellets for extra oomph. I'll also probably cut and lay some nettle and comfrey leaves around, to break down as a slow release nutrient source. The first plant has gone in, too - an aubergine. I'm using twine supports buried under each plant and tied to the roof trusses, although the positioning of the latter may mean I need canes for some plants too. It'll be a learning process this year - what works in *this* greenhouse. I've plenty of plants to fill the place, it's just a matter of keeping them happy now.

I leave tomorrow, for the best part of a week. I hope most things survive okay. The weather looks mixed, which is ideal - too much hot sun would dry everything out (although I'm watering as thoroughly as possible before I go), and wind would be unwelcome. But sunny spells and showers - more typical June weather - would be perfect for once.

~~~

16/06
It rained heavily this morning, so I needn't have worried about outdoor watering. I soaked the plants under cover - some really should be in their final positions by now, but they'll just have to wait.

Harvests:
13/06 - 40g spinach, 15g spinach beet
15/06 - 150g lettuce
16/06 - ~50g strawberries*
YTD total: 1.195kg

*not weighed, so estimated (two largish fruits, three small ones).