Friday, 20 April 2012

The "allotment" week five

A quick update on my friends' garden. When I checked the calendar on Sunday, I was surprised to find it had been two weeks since my last visit. And at this time of year, two years means a lot of difference. Here are some photographs of what was occurring - compare these to the previous updates.

Sweet peas, above; red and green basil, not doing too well, below.

Mispoona is now ready to start harvesting - this is a tasty leaf, related to mizuma.

The onions are coming on really well.

I took over some peas that I'd hardened off, cleared a space by one of the new fences, and popped them in.

Mixed salad leaves are also ready to pick.

And the outdoor-sown spinach is growing fast - it will be ready for its first trim in a fortnight or so.

Spare onions that I planted in the shady bed haven't thrived, but that may be because they were the runts of the litter. Next to them, I planted around 35 pak choi - there are many more to find space for.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The "allotment" three weeks in

Green pak choi.

Has it only been three weeks? It seems a lot more, especially seeing how much my friends' garden has come on. I hadn't been for a fortnight, in fact, because I was too busy at home. But yesterday was the last of a long line of unseasonably warm, sunny days, so I headed over to see what was afoot.

Aside from helping to paint a fence (that will hopefully be clad in sweet peas this summer), I checked on the progress of the seeds we'd sown, and took a few photographs.

The most pleasing sight was seeing the outdoor seedlings had germinated. Two rows each of spinach 'Medania', beetroot 'Boltardy', and carrots 'Amsterdam 3 - sprint' were all visible, the spinach quite large and the carrots tiny. I thinned the first two, leaving about 50% - further thinning will take place in a few weeks, as the plants get bigger. The carrots I left, partly because they were so small, and partly to avoid releasing any scent that might attract carrot root fly. The catch-crop radishes I sowed a few days after the main crops here were showing no signs of life - but they were old seeds.

Spinach after their first thinning.

The tray of pak choi I sowed just over two weeks ago was full of large seedlings, already getting their true leaves. The difference in colour between the two varieties, 'Green boy' (green) and 'Santoh' (yellow) was apparent. I spent a pleasant 10 minutes thinning these to around half their number too. I had sown them thickly, not knowing how good the germination would be, but even so, we will have far more than we need - which is never a bad thing.

Yellow pak choi - compare their colour to the green, above.

A few things in the greenhouse looked forlorn, because of the recent heatwave. Some radishes 'White icicle' had been scorched, and the onions were dry - but they should come to no harm. They were ready for planting out, so I soaked them, then packed the fourth quarter of the first raised bed with as many as I could, and the rest went into the second, shadier bed. I planted them close, since we don't have endless space - perhaps too close, but I'll see they are well fed and watered. Whether they sulk in the shadier, east-facing bed, remains to be seen. Altogether, there were over 40 plants.

Onions in their new home, under protective netting.

Elsewhere, two trays of mixed salad leaves aren't far off their first harvest trim, and a tray of mispoona (a mizuna-like oriental leaf) sowed a few days later is also lush with growth. The basil and sweet peas are germinating, but small. A period of much cooler weather is upon us, so hopefully the greenhouse plants will get some respite - but it's been a foretaste of the potential heat of the summer (in the greenhouse at least), so perhaps a drip-watering system will be worth setting up after all.

Mixed salad.