Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The plants are in charge...

After yesterday's rain, today dawned warm and sunny, just the thing for my vegetables and for these sage flowers which are very popular with the bees.

A lot of the peas have now set, this is the biggest pod so far, but there are many more flowers so more peas to come.  They have now reached the top of the netting, just above my head height and are still growing - we only get around 4-5 hours of darkness now so plenty of growth on a diet of around 20 hours light in every 24.
The courgettes are doing very well - we switched to this variety (Partenon F1) last year as it doesn't need pollination to create vegetables, ideal for the cold and wet north.  Last year's dreadful weather held the plants back, but it looks like we will have a good crop this year - I can even see mini vegetables on some of them!
After a cold spring, the tomatoes are now putting on growth quickly, so today I tied them to stakes.  I grow my tomatoes outside, the variety is Ferline which is blight resistant - I'm the only one on the allotments who managed to keep my plants last year when all the others, even those in greenhouses, succombed to the dreaded lurgi.  They may not look like much compared to the beautiful specimens grown in greenhouses or the southern USA, but I'm proud of them!

In the photo above, you can see one of the tomato plants, along with an interloper above it.  Two years ago I sowed chard in this bed, it germinated poorly, grew poorly because of the weather and so I let it go to seed in the hope that at least I would get seed from it for the next year.  Alas, it seemed the constant rain had rotted the seed.  The next year I sowed parsnip here - it germinated but then much died due to the constant rain (again!).  So imagine my surprise when, after I had staked the tomatoes, I started weeding and discovered over 10 chard seedlings and a couple of parsnips!  Sometimes we gardeners think we are in charge of our gardens, but in reality the plants just please themselves...
...another example of this above.  Several weeks ago I sowed parsley and chamomile in some specially prepared beds.  I think there may be about 4 seedlings from all those I sowed, but I found some self sown parsley plants in my clematis pot, and above you can see two chamomile and two feverfew plants in what was the brassica seedbed.  These have come from the plants which were in the herb bed next to this area last year.  
And here is one of a few fennel plants, growing among my leek seedlings.  Just as well I'm not a very tidy gardener - I'm just grateful for what I get, even if it is in the "wrong" place!
Pentland Javelin potatoes - unwashed as the skins are so thin it's best to wash them just before cooking.  This variety is slug and blight-resistant, both of which are essential qualities here.  I well remember the plagues of slugs the first year I grew potatoes, and the sorry mess which resulted so I don't bother with any varieties which are not resistant to both pests.  They are a fluffy potato, unusual among first earlies in that you can make a nice mash with them.  Delicious.
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