Saturday, 24 July 2010

Back to Work

The last few weeks have been dominated by picking and processing fruit, and little physical work has been done. Yesterday I picked the green gooseberries (destined for jam making) and that's the fruit glut over. We're still picking strawberries, raspberries and there are still some red gooseberries to come, but the quantities are much smaller now and so today it was back to some digging.
I really need to be getting the leeks in, so I dug up the last of the first earlies today (the leeks follow the potatoes). These are Pentland Javelin and this is a good example of the problems with the drought. In the foreground are some really big potatoes, they shouldn't be that big. What seems to have happened is when the ground dried up, the plants stopped producing new tubers. When the rain came, they did start putting out new tubers again but first they pumped all their energy into filling out the tubers that were there - hence some ridiculously large first earlies. But the plants were nearly finished, they didn't have time to make a normal crop. So they sacrificed quantity for size. I reckon the crop is about half what it should be, due to the conditions.
Now it's onto some serious weeding - here are the garlic plants, surrounded by weeds, including forget-me-not. Now forget-me-not is my favourite weed, but I think the garlic needs its space, so they had to go.
And here is a shot of part of the garlic bed after (you can just see the cabbages behind). This bed was created out of a bank which divides the upper part of the plot from the lower one - I took this picture standing on the path above the bed. I had the retaining wall rebuilt a couple of years ago, which made the bed slightly bigger, and then had to import more soil as well as continue building it up. I think I have finally conquered the couch grass in here, it was easy to weed today and relatively quick. The garlic is a late variety, and should be ready in August - the rain of the last couple of weeks has certainly helped it grow on and I'm confident of some good sized bulbs in due course.

More weeding tomorrow...
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