Taking stock in the vegetable garden


This shows the relative positions of the plots to each other.  South is to the top and the beehives to the left.

I thought that the first day of a new month would be a good time to take stock and to reflect on the season so far.  There has been nowhere near the slug depredation that I had been expecting.  The main exception to this being lettuce seedlings, as direct sown lettuce have all failed.  However, this has been overcome by starting lettuces in pots, or by buying in young plants.

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For most of the lettuce plants grown in pots it is only the outer leaves which have been damaged by slugs; although occasionally whole plants have been taken.

At the moment I am pleased with the sweetcorn.  Despite being under the plum tree they are growing strongly and the cobs are visibly swelling.  However, many of the interplanted climbing beans in this plot were taken by slugs.

The broad beans are now over.  They performed well but I was pleased to pull up the untidy looking old plants, and reveal the underplanted crops.  On the left below are the broad beans before they were removed, on the right the redbore kale, now able to grow strongly in the light.

The experimental beds have so far yielded some relatively small but useable heads of garlic, one tiny cauliflower and lots of lettuce.  I have not been at all systematic about recording this, and my weighing scales are not sensitive enough to record differences in weight between, for example, different heads of garlic.  Consequently I can only make the vaguest of generalisations about the relative efficacy of the different soil treatments.  My impression is that there was no significant difference between growchar, seaweed meal, a combination of both and nothing.  However, all plots had plenty of organic matter added to the top few inches of soil;  I think this had a positive effect.  The swiss chard failed; perhaps because the paper pots that I used for them prevented them getting their roots into the soil.

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Pasnips seem to be doing well in all four test conditions; I am looking forward to seeing what is going on under the surface when I harvest them.

My experience with the climbing beans also suggests that good quality compost in the top few inches of soil has a positive effect; I believe that the better results with the crop that has not been double dug is because the compost was where the plants benefitted from it most.  However, so far the squash under the double dug beans is looking most healthy; perhaps because is is less shaded than the one under the more strongly grown beans?

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I am a little dissapointed with the brussel sprouts.  I ordered a variety called Red Bull from Marshalls.  So far the plants are stubbornly green, instead of the beautiful colour promised.  Nevertheless, the ones planted in C3 are growing well.  The ones in D4 are doing less well as they are under the apple tree and have significantly less light; they are on the left below; to make matters worse they do need weeding!

The summer broccoli, which is underplanted with lettuces, was bought on a whim from a local garden centre.  They are looking well, although I have not netted them and have to be constantly vigilant for butterfly eggs.

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I adore the colour of these broccoli leaves.

The flower seedlings have nearly all germinated after just a week.  The first (godetia) seedling appeared after just two days!

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Again, I belive that plenty of organic matter in the surface of the soil has helped to create the right conditions for germination.

The mangetout peas have yielded a very light crop.  However, I have also underplanted with beetroot so there is more to come from this plot.  I have also planted a few flowers to help attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

This plot also has a few leeks, they were planted before the ones in B2 and are bigger.  B2 also has lettuce plants and oriental greens.  The oriental greens have been damaged by cabbage fleas beetle, but are still worth cropping.  The lettuces are looking good.

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All in all the season is progrssing nicely!  Next time I shall take an overview of the crops which are not growing in the vegetable plots.

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