Monday 29 May 2017

Bank Holiday

We had the mother of all thunderstorms last night. Although I didn't know it, because we'd had to disconnect from the world to protect our equipment, the over-excited commentators of Twitter claimed it was the size of Wales and producing over 300 flashes of lightning a minute. It was, for a while, directly over the farm.

I'd like to show the pictures but we didn't take any in the end. Imagine a malfunctioning stage light coming on and off every 15 seconds with a background of gravel pit explosions.

After the first couple of hours of oohing and gasping we began to become bored and settled down to watch an episode of The Handmaid's Tale with a glass of the good whisky.

Clearing skies - it doesn't actually look like this today but it should.

Pictures are a bit random all over in fact. This has been an odd spring in the garden. The potatoes are doing well, most of the peas and beans are in and staked although the soya beans are being very slow to germinate. Mice had a go at my direct sown sunflowers, nipping off the fleshy seeds leaves and killing the seedling as a result. I've saved a few later germinating ones by covering with plastic bottle cloches and laying fresh mint leaves and stems along the row. So far, fingers crossed.

Forester moth

Cucurbits: I decided this year not to grow Whanga Crown squash so I could have an exciting mixed bag of colours and sizes, then totally got it wrong and ended up with Black Futsu and Muscade which apart from a slight size difference look almost identical. So I've hurriedly slung a few Sweet Dumpling into pots in the hope they'll come up in time. I've got lots of greenhouse cucumbers but the Petit Vert de Paris rotted in the pots on the first sowing and are now resown. The Armenian cucumbers are also looking good so far this year but I need to get the oca out of the polytunnel so the melons can move in.

There are more courgette plants than I needed but that's usually true. This year, two types, the Lebanese I grew last year and Romanesco because I can.


Tomatoes: Have been so slow. The first batch suffered from mice and the second just aren't nearly as fast as I want them to be. I bought a few supermarket plants to help things along, two Marmande which are outside (at risk of blight but they do so much better if it can be avoided) and a St. Pierre which I was unfamiliar with but seems to be a popular French sort. Waiting to be planted out a lot of Roma and for the greenhouse, Black Russian, Costoluto Fiorentino, Gezahnte B├╝hrer-Keel, Scotland Yellow, a couple of Tigerella from an old pack of seed and some Salt Spring Sunrise, again very old seed that I'm hoping to renew my stocks from.
Sooty Copper

Alliums: Most of the onion sets are doing o.k. but some of the garlic has rust already. I've multiplied up the walking onions from virtual extinction, found some Welsh onions and repatriated them from scrubland and moved Babington leeks and Elephant garlic back into the main patch. So that's all good.

Have sweetcorn and yacon still to plant out. And there will be more...

Ox-eye daisy and insect


Mark Willis said...

I didn't know that Mint can deter mice. I have some dwarf sunflowers that lost some lower leaves, which I had attributed to slugs, but maybe it was mice... Like you I am beginning to worry about blight on the tomatoes. Today it is warm and humid - ideal blight weather!

Catofstripes said...

Lower leaves on sunflowers, probably was slugs. Our local mice seem to have learnt the trick of taking the very tops of new seedlings which, of course, stops them dead. Tried mint because it is said mice don't like it. So far it's worked, but then possibly hippos don't like it either because I've seen none of them!

See ify ou can register with to get blight warnings.