Sunday, 9 May 2010

Toilet Rolls and Apple Blossom

A strange title for a blog post, so here's why - toilet roll tubes are just perfect for planting runner beans. I fill them about 3/4 of the way up, place a bean on top, water, top off with more compost and water again. Unconventional pots, but effective as they allow the beans to send down good roots and I can plant the whole thing in the ground later without disturbing the roots.
The runner beans will be going in this bed, behind the peas - you can just see the area of ground partially cleared today by my Other Half who is lurking in the background. For a few years I have wondered on the best way to support the peas - you can buy nets for them to climb but I always find them a nuisance. Firstly, there are always peas which hang their fruit behind the net where you can't get at it; secondly the pea shoots and grass later in the season tend to grow through the net and you end up spending hours picking out the mess. So this year I decided on a different technique: I ran string around the bottom of the canes which makes the structure more stable anyway, then ran string from the top of the canes to the bottom, anchoring it on the bottom string, then back up to the top, etc., until I got to the end of the structure. So I ended up with a loose lattice which should be easier to manage than a solid net (I hope - will see how it goes). The peas are growing well and are now looking for something to climb, so by the end of the week they should be on the way up.
Staying with the beans theme, here are the broad beans, freed from their weedy prison. The messy area to the left contains the last purple sprouting broccoli plants; we've never eaten this vegetable so late in the year, but it's still going. Apart from a bit of nibbling from pea/bean weevil, these beans are looking good but again, late to get going.
On to the fruit now; we have masses of currants and gooseberries set now, and the trees are now starting to show. This is apple Katy; I love blossom at this stage, with the deep pink buds and the paler flowers contrasting.
And this is the new Spartan tree, which I planted a couple of months ago. It has flower buds ready to burst, but a different colour and shape to Katy. I bought this as a companion tree to the Blenheim Orange; BO tends to be a biennial flowerer and I couldn't see any buds recently so expected it wouldn't flower this year. However, this morning I spotted one cluster of buds so I live in hope.
And this is the Victoria Plum - not as much blossom as last year, but I pruned it very late due to the wet summer so that may be why. Still, a lot of the plums have set now so I'm looking forward to summer.
The wild flowers are now coming out too - this is Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine Pratensis), which you can find in a lot of the fields round here. It sprinkles a white/lilac colour across the landscape, very pretty.

The weather is still cold, and some of my potatoes have a little frost damage to the leaves, so all my tender plants are staying inside for now. Let's hope it gets a little warmer by the end of the week. Happy gardening.
Post a Comment