Tuesday 31 May 2011

In the garden yesterday

Green manure Phacelia flowering

Straight into the garden yesterday to get things done.

I started by scything down the green manure... this isn't best practice, I fully intended to turn it in as soon as it was verdant but the dry weather has messed a lot of things up and this was one of them. The ground was too dry and the plants too advanced on my return from away so this seemed like the best option. I've covered the plot with black plastic to encourage the scythed material to incorporate into the soil and not turn to hay. In a month (if there's rain) I'll take off the covers, turn the plot over and sow a second crop of manure for the autumn. Of course, as soon as I put the plastic down we had a drizzle of rain but it's hardly wetted the surface so it's not much loss.

The greenhouse has been sorted out a little. Most tomato plants are now residing on their substrate for ring culture - unfortunately the rings aren't here in time but I've sunk the biggish pots in and expect nature will find a way. The rings are on order and if I think I need to add them later I'll pop them over the tops of the plants and earth up around the stems. Tomatoes are obliging like that.

Finally managed to get some sweetcorn seed in B&Q on Saturday before I came back to France. I couldn't find any locally or in Italy, which surprised me a lot, although looking at the plots there, it's probably a bit late to start from their point of view. The corn was knee high already.

The variety, I forget which exactly, is an F1, not something I'd normally consider but given the lateness of the start is probably no bad thing. It's not like I'm growing any other sorts or saving for seed this year.

The soil is terribly dry. Luckily sweetcorn will germinate from a great depth, so I scraped holes until I could find a little moisture, about 15 cm. down and put two seeds in each hole, filling up with water. When the water soaked away I covered them over and watered again. Fingers crossed.

The black radish seed which I thought was dead has germinated, perhaps 30% but enough for the row, which is nice. I thinned the large rooted rose radishes and put the thinnings in my dinner. A few parsnips were up too. I'm not sure if they'll do, starting this late in the year but experience will tell.

The Babington leeks are making substantial heads, I should have bulbils to share this autumn. The Carlin peas are looking good but no flowers yet. Everything else is more or less still there and perhaps the drizzle in the last 24 hours will help. The forecast shows no more chance of rain until next Sunday.

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