Monday, 27 April 2009

The good things about growing food

There are many good things about growing your own food but one of them is that when it rains you are glad because it will be helping your crops grow. After a week of almost solid sunshine the ground is certainly in need of a drink. It is good timing too, at the beginning of the working week, having left Sunday bright and sunny to get on with more sowing.

I started with filling in a few gaps in my rows of peas. Once they get going peas are mostly unaffected by pests but before, during and shortly after germination they are vulnerable. On year I sowed the seeds too early and they were all eaten by (I assume) mice. It is certainly possible that the little gaps in my rows could be due to mice or maybe birds eating the seed. Close inspection of the seedlings show that they have been nibbled so maybe the gaps are due to slugs and snails chomping a whole seedling. The notch marks in the leaves could also be due to a leaf cutter type beetle or maybe birds. I already have slug pellets out but I scatter a few more and then drape a net over the pea sticks and hope for the best.

Next I turn my attention to watering the seed rows I sowed last week. I read somewhere that carrots should be watered every day for the first 14 days after sowing. Between us we have managed this for 7 days now. So I water the carrots and then the beetroot and salads but apart from some radish nothing has germinated yet.

At this point I spot my two girls sitting under an apple tree in the dappled shade, chatting to each other and a couple of small cuddly toys that they'd brought with them. From where I'm stood it looks quite idyllic and as if they should be discussing cross stitching or something. I get a little closer and discover that they are talking about Ninjas! Oh well. They spot me and proudly show me their soft toys. They have discovered that goose grass sticks to fur like fuzzy felts and they have given their toys eyebrows, moustaches and various items of Ninja clothing!

When the June edition of the Kitchen Garden Magazine came through my door this week I realised it was time to read the May edition so I dug it out and reminded myself of some of the things that need doing in May. One woman said that she always sowed a few dwarf French beans in mid to late April to have a crop during June that was over by the time the climbing beans were ready, helping to avoid a glut. I had always sown my dwarf and climbing beans at the same time, the dwarf beans starting to crop about a fortnight before the climbing beans but continuing until the frosts. We always end up with a glut so I thought I'd try her idea to see, firstly if the plants will grow early in this area, and secondly, if it does help avoid a glut. With this in mind I sowed 16 beans in two small troughs.

Just as I was finishing off my youngest went sprawling across the gravel car park, gashing both knees and an elbow. So that was the end of my allotment session. We got her home, cleaned up and plastered. Then her big sister built her a snugly cave out of cushions and blankets in front of the TV where she remained for the next hour or so.

With calm restored I busied myself around the house instead, watering the tomatoes and peanut plants on the windowsills. I pinched out the side shoots on the tomato plants and dropped 4 of the largest ones into a glass of water to see if they will sprout roots. Then I sowed a fresh batch of mixed salad leaves for putting on the windowsill. I watered all the things in the cold frame at the end of the garden. The sweetcorn are just poking through the soil, as are the brassicas and a couple of gherkin plants.

By then it was the end of the day, the weekend and the sunshine. Time to sit back and let the plants grow for a week.

No comments:

Post a Comment