Just for the record here is the current progress with my very limited potatoes after 6 weeks in the ground. There may only be two short rows but I have very high expectations for them!
It’s all looking very good at the moment and there has been very little signs of weeds or pests (so far). Last weekend I even went through a token effort of earthing them up.
It may not have been strictly necessary to do any earthing up but the work helped to emphasise the progress the plants are making.
To my untrained eye these are looking good and I anticipate a first harvest somewhere around early July.
However I’m not sure I can resist the temptation to dig up one plant towards the end of June just to see how things are going.
I’m not so sure that my efforts with chitting in two batches has made any difference though. The row nearest the fence started chitting a few weeks ahead of the others but the plants all seem to be the same size at the moment!
The only remaining work that I really should get sorted out is to install a soaker hose which I plan to run off the newest water butt. At this rate I think the harvest may well be in before I get around to putting the irrigation in place!
Now that the dust has settled a little from the weekend exertions I can start to take stock of the progress made and the relative success of my efforts so far. I know it’s still early in the year and spring is squelching more than usual but I like to focus on the positive aspects where possible.
The most obvious positive is that the carrots I planted out about 2 weeks haven’t died yet and in fact are looking pretty strong. They have been under a cloche all this time so I suspect that extra cover has helped them survive the wet conditions lately. From now on though they are on their own as the cover has been put away.
The carrots have been joined by the first batch of leeks although time well show that these were planted out too soon I suspect. The planting was simple though as the leeks were sown in the toilet roll tubes and so I just had to drop the entire thing in the hole each time. Once they had been watered in that veg bed was looking pretty full for the moment – at least until the carrots get harvested in July.
The onion sets are already starting to show signs of life with most having strong green shoots. I somehow hadn’t registered how many onion sets were coming in my order so I’ve filled all the planned space for them and established some overflow into various pots around the garden as well. It seems a waste but the remaining onion sets will just go to waste I think as I can only do so much with the space allowed.
It was decided to give the chicken coop a good clean out with the disinfectant to keep on top of any possible problems. This decision seemed to be fully justified when I thought I saw some red mite but on reflection I realised that I wouldn’t know red mite if it bite me and it was just as likely to be my imagination. Either way the whole coop was dusted with mite powder as a precaution too.
In the meantime the chickens had their best day ever because they were given free run of the garden while the work went on. This went as well as could be expected apart from the regular hold ups while we herded them back to the furthest end of the garden in a vain attempt to keep some part of the garden in a presentable state.
The new water-butt is now installed and filling up nicely as a result of the rain on Saturday evening. The best I could get from our local B&Q was 200+ litres and maybe I paid a little over the odds at £30 but that should do fine for our purposes. I couldn’t see the point in forking out for a plastic stand at £12 as well so I just bought half a dozen breeze blocks and saved some cash as a result. Small and petty victories are the best!
Many of the non-vegetable gardening jobs didn’t get a look in again but at least I managed to get around to moving a small conifer which had got much bigger since we planted it. As a result the garden view has opened up a bit and an unsightly part of the garden has inherited an impressively looking shrub. Fingers crossed that it likes the new position and settles in well.
If only my first attempt at bread making had turned out so well but never mind, at least it was edible and tasted pretty good even if the rolls did look a bit like an accessory for the 2012 Olympic shot putt. I’ve learned some useful tips for the future and the next attempt should be a lot better.
Assuming that everything is still fine with the seeds I’ve planted and they haven’t completely dried out by the time I get home on Friday then I have a big weekend ahead of me.
Chitting time might be over
With luck I can possibly plant out the first batch of potatoes if the chitting has progressed far enough. I’ve had a cloche over the veg bed where they will get planted for the last couple of weeks so I think they’ll be okay, especially if I put the cloche back on them after I’ve finished planting.
There isn’t a lot of room for vegetables this year so I’m only planting two small-ish rows of potatoes with the first row at the back of the bed so it doesn’t block the light from the second row when that gets going.
When I harvest this first row of potatoes (in June/July with luck) I plan to have some runner beans ready to put in their place. It makes sense to get the most out of the three small veg plots I have for this year.
More seedlings to consider
It is unlikely that my leek and carrot seedlings have progressed far enough to consider planting out even with the aid of a cloche. However I’m always the optimist so I’ll take a look and maybe risk a few so they get a head start.
The marigolds for companion planting might be a bit further ahead so there’s always the option to plant out some of those if I can’t fight the urge and absolutely must plant something this weekend!
Internet + Credit Card = another project
After an unsupervised moment on the internet earlier this week I am expecting delivery soon of a second water butt to put behind my garage. The plan is to use this new water butt for watering the veg beds via a mechanical timer and an irrigation/watering kit which is also in the delivery.
I’ll get all the bits over time but the first task is obviously to get the new water butt in place and make the necessary changes to the guttering to collect any rainwater.
Not forgetting the chickens!
Of course there is also the rest of the garden which needs looking at sometime, perhaps a bit of lawn maintenance is also in order and not forgetting the most important part, a bit of chicken bonding. It’s been a while so I hope they remember me!