Friday, 6 June 2008

Broad Beans and Blackbirds

Week 23 – Saturday, 31st May 2008

Saw 5 baby blackbirds which could not have fledged more than a couple of days ago on the bird feeder this morning.

Rosemary and I went to the Lottie whilst Jac’s tackled the washing. She starts her new job on Monday and is a bit apprehensive as it has been a couple of years since she was in the insurance industry. But she is tough and she’ll crack it with her eyes closed. I think that insurance is a bit like riding a bike – once you’ve done it you will never forget it.

Finally got the table out of the greenhouse- after nearly having to dismantle the whole thing with a penknife. We finally managed to get it manoeuvred out without too much damage to the tomatoes, the greenhouse or ourselves – thank goodness!

I then gave the tomatoes a firm beating down cutting out all the laterals that seem to appear overnight and staking them. Had to move three aubergines as the tomatoes had begun to crowd them out altogether. Also planted out the last three scotch bonnets and melons (after cutting the ends of 2 litre bottles off them) and placing them around the plants. Hopefully this and a liberal sprinkling of slug pellets and fingers crossed they will romp away. I re-sowed two cucumber plants as the ones I grew earlier were looking worse for wear. I have put it in though, planting it quite deeply and hoping that the damaged stem will shoot roots and romp away. I will hopefully move one back to the greenhouse at home once it has established itself.

Rosemary weeded all the grass and weeds on the side of the greenhouse which was starting to block the light into it and we laid some old weed suppressing membrane which hopefully will keep the weeds down a bit. She then planted out all the cosmos seedlings into the dahlia bed so we should have lots of lovely colour this year and lots for the vases.

I finally got the winter brassica and spinach bed weeded and turned over! Must admit the task looked quite daunting but I soldiered on and in no time and after a bit of a slog I had cleared it. Despite having kept the mint in containers last year, some of the roots had escaped and were making a bid for supremacy in the future corn bed.

We got the autumn sown broad beans picked and finally managed to pull all the winter manure that we had let flower in a clump. Was rather surprised at the good yield especially when remembering that the beans were quite pot bound when I planted them out way back when and never expected anything from them. Not a huge meal by any means, but served with mixed vegetables for tomorrows dinner will be great. Everyone will at least be able to taste what broad beans taste like. The bumble bees were still visiting the green manure flowers on the compost heap when we left. The spring sown broad beans are flowering and starting to set nicely.

The Hubbard squash we planted in the hotbox is looking pretty happy despite all the rain and all the squash plants seem to have made the transplanting. Yummy lots of lovely squash this autumn!! The peas Maureen and I resowed are coming up very well and the first batch is ready for picking. Byron’s jobs next time he is down at the lottie! If we just keep picking, shelling and freezing then eventually we will have enough to cook and serve at dinner for 9!

Managed to get 2 big bags of topsoil and 3 grow bags from the lottie shop so we can now finally plant up our hanging baskets for the summer.

All the gooseberries’ have disappeared – there were definitely a few a couple of weeks ago and I still thought that I must check whether they needed thinning. It was either the pigeons or rabbits. No sure which. That will teach me to net them when I net the currants! The Tayberry is recovering and has put on some new growth so fingers crossed it will grow big and strong and give us Tayberries.

My neighbour came over and gave me 6 sweet potato plants. I was really pleased with them because I only managed to grow one plant this year. I need to get some big containers and pop them in quite soon. Will place a wigwam structure over the pot so that they can scramble up as they are members of the morning glory family. That reminds me, I have a couple of morning glory plants that I need to put into their final planting positions for the summer.

The plum and apple tree despite having blossom earlier this year has produced no fruit whatsoever. My neighbour says that they had the same thing happen on their lottie. So it would seem that this year there is going to be very little fruit. The Bramley seedling and the apricot tree have some good growth this year but I do not think that I will be getting much fruit from it this year. My neighbour came and showed me that I need to shorten my plum tree’s laterals to 2 – 3 leaf buds. The cherry tree seems to have a lot of black fly so will need to give it a good trim when next on the plot. Also need to pinch out the tops of the spring sown dwarf broad beans.

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