Too much of a good thing?


Tomato Gardeners Delight planted out in the greenhouse

I wasn’t ready for all this good weather.  Unfortunately neither the climate nor my garden seems to understand when I’m too busy to keep up with it.  While I was on holiday it decided to explode into a weed infested jungle.   Because of this, I’ve been far too busy attempting to tame the beast, while unpacking, getting the kids ready for school and getting myself ready for working again, to even think about writing about it.

After a few days of intense activity at the end of the holidays I’ve barely scratched the surface.  However at least it can’t be said that things are slow to develop.  My tomatoes and chillis are huge, the broad beans and peas are shooting up nicely, the basil is bushy, and even the French beans and courgettes are poking through.  My approach of sowing the lettuces in modules this year (except for the cut and come again which I’ve sown in pots near the house) has worked much better, as usually the tiny seedlings get lost among the weeds.

My first job was to plant out the tomatoes into their pots and construct the frames which will attempt to support their gangly habits, although I’ve never quite got the hang of this whole pinching out thing yet, which sounds a little too technical for me.  Although there’s still a risk of frost and I haven’t yet managed to replace the pane on the door of my greenhouse, the plants had simply got far too big for their windowsill position (the benefits of sowing in late January) and I am hoping that the fact they are now well developed will work in their favour.

After trying tomato plants in a few different ways in recent years, I’ve opted for the pot rather than the growbag option, partly because it’s cheaper, and partly because without an expensive grobag support it’s impossible to construct a frame in the shallow foundations of the grobag, unless you have an earth floor in your greenhouse (I have concrete).  Internet advice suggested the best thing to do was to stick bamboo canes in the pots and tie the tops of them to the top of the greenhouse.  However the author clearly did not have a greenhouse quite as small as mine with virtually no supports apart from a bit of the frame that has come loose and is hanging from the ceiling, so there is now an elaborate threadwork of twine connecting my canes to this loose piece of metal.

The potatoes had not just chitted but were attempting to escape from the shed, so both first and second earlies are now in, with only the maincrops to go (my mother in law did manage to locate some Shetland blacks in the end).  This means I will have three beds taken up with potatoes and will have to forget my annual dream of planting an asparagus bed.  So this summer we’ll be putting aside the pasta and rice and rediscovering the joys of the potato.  After the digging I have done this week, if my girls so much as mention not liking them there may be some flying around the kitchen.


Lettuce and spinach

At least all this activity seems to have had an effect on the kids.  I caught my eight year old with my bag of seeds sowing various varieties indiscriminately all over her bed.  It will be interesting to see what comes up, and how well it does, and if nothing else will be an interesting experiment in companion planting!

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post