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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Late April Showers

Well we have had more or less a wet week, with a return to rainy weather. The garden will look all the better for it as it hasn't had a good continuous soak for a while. This year I'm trying out the theory of not watering plants to often once they are established. The theory is once the plants have set their roots into the soil if you keep watering they grow their roots shallow near the surface moisture which drys out quicker due to evaporation and thus they suffer more from wilting, etc but if you don't water after they have established themselves then the grow their roots deep into the soil seeking moisture where it's level remains more or less constant.

So far it appears to be working except for one watering session after my return over the Easter break I haven't watered any further and the young plants are not worse off at all if anything they are growing very well, even though the weather has been very hot and dry.

Check out the progress of some of the young plants I planted out over the 3rd and 4th of April in the next set of pictures:

Mangetout Peas.


Turnips, and there is even one forming (not sure if this is early or normal as I have never grown turnips before).

Mizuna and Pak Choi.

Perpetual Spinach.

Saturday no gardening done today had other commitments but I had to take stock of my melon plants properly and soon realised that the damaged leaves on one of the plants which i initially assumed was sun scorching is not. It appears that it maybe a fungal infection of some sort. I posted a question on the forum I belong too Allotment 4 All but with no real outcome on which infection it is and how to deal with the plants. Here is the link to the question where I posted photos and descriptions of the symptoms:,51095.0.html

The chard have begun to germinate and the early purple sprouting broccoli began germinating on Friday.

Sunday I finally got round to pricking out the amaranth, romenesco, kale and cauliflower seedlings. I also potted up two of the cucumber seedlings and the basil seedlings that are in the conservatory. It was very hot work in the greenhouse as the sun was beating down, the only way I was able to stay out and get it done was by draping an old tea cloth on the glass roof over the area I was standing. I will definitely get myself some old white chiffon type curtains to drape over the greenhouse this summer to create a little light shade which will help to stop the plants that will be grown in there from becoming sun scorched.

I noticed that the loosethrift which were sown way back early March have finally started to germinate. They were sown on the surface of the compost in a pot which was left to stand in water like was advised in my main herbal book and many times this month I was tempted to throw the lot out but decided to simply keep topping up the water and wait. As they say patience is a virtue.

Monday while the rain was coming down I sprinkled some lawn seed in the weeded bare patches and with all the continued wet weather there should be a good germination rate.

I have decide since its too wet to do outside gardening I'm going to tackle my sick melon plant problem (there appear to be two infected melon plants and I think my lovely looking luffa (torsha) plant may be infected as well. Some research on the net mentioned that seaweed folia sprays not only feeds the plants helping them to fight infections but is also a mild fungicide. So I first removed all the diseased plant material and with the most infected plant the top inch of soil was also removed and discarded and fresh amount was added (after each use of the knife I cleaned the blade with methylated spirits to prevent transfer of any infection from one plant to the next and if touched any of the infected tissue I also disinfected my gloves which I had on).The cut leaf stalks were also sealed immediately with wax after cutting to reduce the risk of fungal spores getting easy access to living tissue.

After all the prep work was done I then sprayed both infected plants and non affected plants with the seaweed folia spray. These were the melons, torsha and cucumber seedlings.

Cutting and discarding of infected tissue and soil.

Sealing stems with wax.

Spraying the plants with seaweed folia spray.

Here is the end result of the most infected plant after my attempt of treatment, its a wait and see now on if it recovers.

The khol rabi has begun to germinate.

Tuesday started off warmer with a sunny morning but ended with a wet afternoon. Didn't get round to any gardening as such but did go skip dipping and got a large half a barrel and some flower pots from someones rubbish they had out front ( and yes I did ask first). Later in the evening when I visited the A4A forum some members alerted the group to low temperature forecasts, so I checked the Met for my weather and found that the night time temp was to drop to approx 4 degrees so I went out with a torch and fleeced the tomatoes and curcubit plants as they don't like temps below 5 degrees. I also covered the outdoor container grown potatoes with sheets of plastic just in case there was any frost (the pictures were taken the following morning when I went to take them off).

Germination of the coriander has begun and the sunflowers that was sown by the girls.

Wednesday had much nicer weather with lots of warm sunshine. everything in the garden looks much better with last few days of rain and there is more forcasted for tomorrow.

I got round to sowing some beans today in root trainers (runner beans, purple podded french climbing beans and borlotti beans). At the moment they are in the conservatory but will be moved to the greenhouse as soon as they germinate, I soaked the seeds about fours hours prior to sowing so germination should be quicker.

I have noticed since the begining of the week that some of the leaves on some of the tomato and curcubit plants in the greenhouse have begun to turn yellow, so I watered them with an organic soluble fertiliser today and will do so weekly till they are planted into the ground.

There is also an update on the robin family. My neighbour noticed yesterday that there was no activity by the robins and today was equally quiet with also no sightings of the pair whatsoever, so he decided to take a peek in the nest (yes he knows this is normally advised against during the birds breeding season, especially if the nest was being used). Well he found two cold beautiful eggs and a lovely nest. the chicks appeared to have fledged when we weren't looking (the cheeky monkeys :) I really had hoped to see them fledge from the nest). We both suppose they are keeping themselves well hidden in my neighbours hedge/ shrubbery and most likely their parents are with them. Maybe in a few days we'll see them when they begin to explore their parents territory.

The peacock butterfly was seen again today along with a large cabbage white who I disturbed while it was feeding on the strawberry flowers (note to self: time to start constructing a netted cover for the brassicus bed which already has my pak choi and mizuna in it).

Thursday today, well the weather is not sure what it wants to do, one minute its cloudy and drizzly next its sunny and bright, there is some wind as well, so we'll see how the day pans out.

Well you'd never guess the collard doves are back at it again. Since their egg's sad demise last Thursday there was no sign of them in the garden or in the surrounding trees at all. That is till this morning when they were back picking up the fallen twigs from their first attempt at nest building, they were taking the twigs into the apple tree to repair or should that be reinforce the 'mess of twigs' aka nest?? Maybe they will be more successful this time but in all honesty I won't be holding my breath.

Since we are on the topic of birds I thought I would share with you the bird song I heard today on my walk home through the woods after I dropped my older daughter to school. This morning they sounded almost tropical, made me feel like I was back in Trinidad :(

The day's weather stayed fine with no more showers occurring so I got the chance to finish filling the last bean trench with kitchen waste and the soil was replaced on top. After raking it level I erected the runner beans support and one wigwam for french beans.

I didn't plan to grow any dwarf french beans this year but theses seeds of the yin yang bean are so pretty I couldn't resist buying the packet, so I sowed some today, to plant out with the tomato plants . These won't be harvested till the pods are dry to store the beans for winter use.

Though I have been harvesting crops all spring from 2008 plants, today I had my first harvest from a 2009 sowing, radishes. I am also still harvesting my 2008 perpetual spinach though this won't last much longer as the plants have started to go to seed, the leaves are still lovely and tender though especially with this weeks rain. In the picture are the fresh cuttings of the oregano, chives and last years sown parsley.

On the gemination front, the nasturtiums and sweet peas the girls sowed a couple of weeks ago have finally started to grow. The yukon is also finally pushing its shoots out of the soil.


  1. The weather here has been rainy all week. I haven't managed to get to the allotment at all. It's better today with some sunshine so I'm hoping to get down there later on today. My peas are ready to go out after being hardened off so I want to get them in the ground.

    What a lovely walk to school you have. My daughter's school is just around the corner so we don't have far to go.

    What a shame you didn't see the robins leave their nest. I hope you see them around in the coming weeks.

    My khol rabi has also germinated. I didn't have any success with it at all last year so I'm hoping that it manages to grow this year.

  2. Welcome back Jo, its sunny here today as well so I'll be going outdoors in about 20 minutes.

    Still no signs of the robins maybe they'll be about today but I don't really expect to see any signs of the juveniles till next week.

    The walk to school in the morning when the weather is fine is certainly a nice way to start the day, I was noticing today that its practically all greened over now with very little light filtering through and all the woodland flowers are going over.

    Last year I had mixed results with my khol rabi and had planned this year to sow them June onwards direct into the soil but the sowing bug bit me :) and I could resist putting a few in seed modules for planting out later.

    By the way where is your lotty situated? I'm in Kent.

  3. I'm in Leeds in West Yorkshire. If you click on my name it will take you to my blog.

  4. Nice blog Jo I'll be checking in regularly to see how things unfold for you.



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