Growing Vegetables #5: Outside Planting & Greenhouse Update
Boy, have I been busy. Since May 1st I have been in the garden every day prepping, planting, watering, weeding and protecting this year’s selection of vegetables. I have developed shapely upper arms from carrying countless 10 litre (10 kg) buckets of water from the house to my vegetable patch. I have acquired in-depth knowledge on the burrowing habits of moles. I am tired, I am tanned and I am happy.
Last year I had four raised beds in my main vegetable plot. While I got good yields it wasn’t enough to fully supply our vegetable needs for the year, so this year I decided to expand. I had intended on doubling the plot to eight beds but somehow I have ended up with twelve. No harm, I thought – I’ll find something to plant in them. Selecting seeds to plant was, of course, the easy part. As we had fully rotavated the entire plot to expand the area, new beds needed to be built and then the earth painstakingly broken down and smoothed over, ready for planting. (From a body workout perspective I can confirm that hoeing and raking work on shoulders, arms and obliques. Remember to switch your leading arm from time to time for body balance.)
My planting is now complete, save for one or two small corners. Here’s a full listed of what I’ve planted, including the varieties sown:
- Beetroot, candy cane – Chioggia
- Beetroot, golden – Boldor
- Beans, string green – Saxa
- Beans, string green – Ferrari
- Beans, string yellow – Tara
- Beans, string yellow – Blondor
- Beans, white – Unknown
- Beans, red spot – Borlotti
- Beans, large white – Cannellini
- Broccoli – Rumba F1
- Butternut Squash – Waltham Butternut
- Carrots – Nectar F1
- Carrots – Karlena
- Cauliflower – Nautilus F1
- Chillies – Cayenne
- Corn – Golden Bantam
- Courgette (zucchini) – Astra Polka
- Courgette (zucchini) – Cora F1
- Fennel – Fino
- Lettuce – Grand Rapids
- Lettuce – Saladin
- Lettuce – Merlot (Red)
- Lettuce – Merveille Des Quatres Saisons (Red)
- Melon – Jaune Canari 2
- Onions – Exhibition
- Onions – The Kelsae
- Onions – Unknown (from sets)
- Onion (Scallions) – Parade
- Radish – Duett
- Rocket – Olivetta
- Sage – Common Sage
- Sorrel – Lyonski
- Spinach – Monnopa
If everything I planted grows to plan I am going to have a very busy harvest and am going to need a bigger freezer!
We had planted 6 new fruit trees (four varieties of apple and two sweet cherry) last autumn and they are doing well, although we don’t expect any fruit this year.
We have added to these a number of fruit bushes:
- Raspberries – Unknown
- Red currants – Jonkheer Van Tets
- Gooseberries – Hinnonmaki Red
We already have a number of established fruit trees and bushes – apple, pear, plum, damson, sweet cherry, sour cherry, red currants, black currants, gooseberries and rhubarb. All flowered well and we look set for a great crop this year. I see lots of delicious juice, wine, jams, sauces and relishes in my future!
My greenhouse crops are growing strongly. For some reason my cucumbers did not fare well initially and one eventually died, but the rest have recovered and are fruiting well. The plants are already up to the roof of the greenhouse! My tomatoes are also large. All flowered well and I have lots of fruit developing. My peppers and chillies are still small by comparison but again are flowering well and starting to produce fruit. So far I am happy with my seed selection and planting choices.
Weeding is just starting in earnest. I can never understand how the weeds grow faster than the plants. With twelve beds I’ll essentially be working my way through and then starting again, round in circles, for the rest of the season. (From a workout perspective, weeding works on stretching hamstrings and strengthening lower back, stomach and glutes.) Time to have another coffee, convince myself I’m not tired and get to it!