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It's June and summer's here (?)

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default It's June and summer's here (?)

Post by Chilli-head on 1st June 2016, 1:27 pm


A dry May and a leaking June
Make the farmer whistle a merry tune


Definitely a leaky start to June here.  I was hoping to get to the allotment to finish my planting yesterday, but not in that !

Reflecting back I notice that last year at this time I was picking my first cucumber.  They must be a whole month behind this year. The tomato plants look very healthy, but the tomatoes are about 3/4" round so have a long way to go yet.  Greek salad is looking a few weeks off yet.


Last edited by Chilli-head on 1st July 2016, 11:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by freebird on 3rd June 2016, 2:57 pm

Today I've discovered a new twist to the havoc wildlife wreak in my garden. Having finally got 6 courgettes germinated, I moved them to the greenhouse. Today, I went in to check whether they needed watering, and found all the pots have been 'mined' and seedlings scattered about. Three are ruined, and three I think salvageable. I think the culprits are mice as they've been after sweetcorn that didn't germinate too.

I've ended up planting the remaining courgettes out, with no hardening off, as being the only likely way to save them. They are under cloches and surrounded by slug pellets. Fingers firmly crossed now.
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Post by freebird on 4th June 2016, 12:18 pm

Nooooooo! Those bar steward mice that trashed my courgettes yesterday were at the sweetcorn seedlings last night. I've got 11 now instead of 16. Spose I'm going to be planting those out now, with Fort Knox protection, instead of the things I am supposed to do.
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Post by Chilli-head on 6th June 2016, 11:58 am

Having left home in quite cool conditions for a couple of days, I come home to scorched tomato plants Sad They were looking the best I've had for years. Hopefully it won't harm the yeild too much.
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Post by freebird on 8th June 2016, 4:25 pm

Just had a huge downpour and thunder storm. Luckily, I was in the greenhouse at the time, so nipped out and took the cloches off the newly planted out sweetcorn. They've had a great watering, and are now safely back under their shelter. Not weather protection, you understand, but fox and pigeon protection.
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Post by Chilli-head on 9th June 2016, 11:38 am

Weary this morning. I worked until dark at the allotment last night finishing off digging the space to plant out beans, sweetcorn and courgettes. 25 sq metres of heavy clay. I think my spade handle is heading the way of Freebird's fork handles too; I sense a pole lathe job coming up !

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Post by Ploshkin on 11th June 2016, 1:53 pm

Drat, I've got galloping mealy aphid on all my brassica again. No time for pussyfooting around with organic fairy dust I've spent an hour blasting each individual leaf with derris spray. I hope I've got to them in time, I lost the lot last year - no Brussell sprouts for Xmas dinner. I'm already being suffocated by courgettes, both outdoor and polytunnel. Everything survived my week away but I wish my waterer hadn't been polite about the quantity of mange tout she picked. I've just given a bucket of gone to seed ones to the pigs.
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Post by Dandelion on 12th June 2016, 10:18 pm

Ha ha - I heard about some neighbours who offered to water plants while friends were away. They were invited to help themselves to the ripe sweetcorn, and (as in your case with the mange tout, Ploshkin) these friends returned from holiday to find all the sweetcorn rotting on the plants. The neighbours said that they had tried a couple of the cobs, but hadn't liked the 'chewy bit in the middle'!! (I think they'd only had sweetcorn from tins before this!)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 13th June 2016, 10:10 am

I have some questions about the things in the polytunnel I haven't grown before so I hope someone else has grown them.

Cauliflowers
Only 2 survived the slugs but are lovely and clean & pest free.  Peering into the middle I can see that one has a nice, tight, white head the size of a satsuma and the other the size of a gobstopper.  Once the head has formed does it increase in size or is it a case of what you see is what you get?  If I leave them will they just blow?

Sweet peppers
They're doing ok I think with quite a few peppers forming about the size of dates at the moment although the plants aren't very huge.  There are zillions of flowers on them.  Do I need to restrict the number of fruits forming / pinch anything out or should I just leave them to their own devices?

Sweetcorn
Looking very good - currently about 2'6" tall.  Actually, the ones I started first are smaller than the later ones.  I did the first ones in toilet roll tubes and I wondered if something in the cardboard restricted their growth.  The cardboard got large black patches of fungus on it.
Anyway, the question is - a couple of the plants have an extra, smaller shoot growing from the base.  Should I leave them or take them off?
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Post by Chilli-head on 13th June 2016, 10:31 am

Cauliflowers I don't grow, but spent years using them as an experimental crop for our weeding machines. I think that provided the head isn't getting open - either loose as a whole or the individual florets opening, or turning an unappealing brownish colour, I'd see if they swell a bit - I think they will.

Sweet peppers - I've never had to restrict fruit. I suppose you might have to intervene if you want showbench standard fruit, but I'm happy with more, smaller fruit anyway. Getting a good pollination is more of a problem with some varieties. But I grow mine in pots, not in border soil, so yours might fare better with more root room.

Sweetcorn - Leave them on. I have seen a study of this where yeild was compared, and there was no loss in the main crop from leaving them on. The cobs on the sideshoots rarely come to much - never full enough to serve as a whole cob IME, but enough to be worth picking for freezing as kernels.
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th June 2016, 10:40 am

Thank you Chilli Head. I think I could do with a weeding machine in the polytunnel! That something else that took off during my week away. I hope the cauliflowers grow a little bit so that we get more than a ceremonial floret between us. I have got a few more plants started and I think the nematodes are working because I haven't seen any slug damage recently (that will be famous last words).
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Post by Dandelion on 13th June 2016, 10:22 pm

Ploshkin wrote:Drat, I've got galloping mealy aphid on all my brassica again.  No time for pussyfooting around with organic fairy dust I've spent an hour blasting each individual leaf with derris spray.  I hope I've got to them in time, I lost the lot last year - no Brussell sprouts for Xmas dinner.  I'm already being suffocated by courgettes, both outdoor and polytunnel.  Everything survived my week away but I wish my waterer hadn't  been polite about the quantity of mange tout she picked.  I've just given a bucket of gone to seed ones to the pigs.
Can't believe it - within 24 hours of reading this I've discovered the same on my brussel sprouts. I was only passing, and haven't had time to investigate all of them, but the one plant I looked at was pretty infested (and it was under enviromesh...)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 21st June 2016, 10:42 am

Oh crikey. I think I've overdone the hoof and horn in my homemade compost mix. The tomatoes and cucumbers are filling the greenhouse. I can hardly get in ! Lots of fruit set, but no ripe ones yet. Cucumbers are in full flow though - up to a few a day at the moment (they're the mini ones, so that's manageable).
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Post by Ploshkin on 21st June 2016, 3:08 pm

I've never seen hoof and horn. I've always got a bag of fish, blood and bone - does it have the same function?
The thing that is taking over the polytunnel is an Uchiki Kuri squash. It's up to the roof and heading along to the next frame hoop 2m away. It's got quite a few fruits set already , one is tennis ball size.
Cucumbers are only about an inch long but plenty of them.
Now that the first things I put in the tunnel are finished I realise I should have been a bit more organised with sowing as I have nothing ready to go in the spaces. I can see that the trick is going to be keeping a supply from the polytunnel until the first things are ready in the garden. Actually I've been a bit remiss because I only sowed carrot seed in the garden yesterday.
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Post by Chilli-head on 21st June 2016, 4:06 pm

I think hoof and horn is a relatively slow release fertiliser compared to mixes with dried blood. I used it because I know it is what Sinclair put in New Horizons. My compost is green waste and wood waste like theirs, but the plants grown in NH seemed lusher than those in my compost last year, so this year I added the hoof and horn. What a difference !

My carrots are still in the packets, next to the peas. I have taken on far too much this year.
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Post by freebird on 21st June 2016, 4:11 pm

I think timing is 80% of the art of successful vegetable growing, Ploshkin. And something I've never really mastered. My forays into the garden are frequently just a bit of time I can spare when the weather is kind enough, so trying to get to grips with successional sowing and the like is usually beyond my scope.

It's been quite good so far this year having a mix of bought-in plants (those that needed starting early when I was still decorating) and home-sown for later things such as French and runner beans.

And when I have a spare half hour, I'll relate the Saga of the Salad Leaves.
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Post by Chilli-head on 23rd June 2016, 11:55 am

Despite the forecast, it is still wet here today. I was hoping to finish off sowing at the allotment tonight. Perhaps not. I'm sure all my strawberries will be inside slugs by now too Sad
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Post by Dandelion on 25th June 2016, 3:33 pm

Again, as CH said despite the forecast, it has rained here today. But not before I had planted out my leeks, and quickly covered with enviromesh against the dreaded leek moths. It doesn't feel as though summer has really started yet, but here we are planting out veg for the winter!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 26th June 2016, 11:06 am

It's shaping up to be another non summer here, mainly dull and damp. I do love bumble bees they're really not fussy. I can see them out of the window busy in the drizzle on the foxgloves, lupins and delphiniums and it was a real joy to be in the polytunnel this morning with a dozen or more bumbling round. They particularly like the squash and courgette flowers - I found two that had spent the night in a courgette flower and still not got up by 8.30. I did find one doing something quite intensely on a ripe strawberry but I'm not sure what - not eating it I hope.
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Post by Dandelion on 26th June 2016, 10:30 pm

That sounds lovely Ploshkin! I've been watching wildlife too - when the drizzle had finished tonight, just as it was beginning to get dark, I went outside for something and saw a whole host of tiny snails. I know they wreck our strawberries, and we're not supposed to like them, but they were so incredibly tiny with shells smaller than the size of a split pea!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 29th June 2016, 10:29 am

Well, I am not normally one for quitting. But this morning I popped into the allotment after a bit of a time away from it doing other things. Every year seems to throw new challenges, but I have never known a failure so complete as this. Almost everything eaten by slugs. Beans, cabbages, parsnips, even cucumbers. It has been so wet the carrots and peas haven't yet even been sown, and I think I'll cut my loses and save them for next year. There is no chance of controlling the slugs after such a warm winter and with so much rain.

I'll cross my fingers that the few things that look OK (squashes, sweetcorn, beets) will come to something. The kitchen garden plot and the greenhouse at home may do ok if we can have some sun soon.

Time to get on with something else.
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Post by Ploshkin on 29th June 2016, 10:37 am

That is so disappointing Chilli Head - welcome to the world of warm, wet, westerly winds & sodden summers!
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Post by freebird on 29th June 2016, 11:06 am

Oh Chilli Head, I feel your pain. I have to say though, that that is what it is like here a lot of the time. It is so completely demoralising.

I have had what I hope will be a brilliant idea for my seedlings though. We have plenty of waste copper tube, so I am going to construct some seed tray holders out of copper, to raise them up off the ground. I will also make some copper pot feet for my hosta pots. Watch this space!
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Post by Dandelion on 29th June 2016, 3:26 pm

Chilli-head wrote: Almost everything eaten by slugs. Beans, cabbages, parsnips, even cucumbers.  


I'm guessing I shouldn't have mentioned the cute tiny snails on our path...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Dandelion on 29th June 2016, 3:27 pm

Brilliant idea about the copper piping FB. I honestly think it works, but even some of my cabbages which are growing in copper rings have been nibbled this year.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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