Sunday, 11 May 2008

Toms, squash & pumpkins

Another lovely sunny day on the plot. Today was a day of planting and I did loads. We arrived at 10.30, the Hubby and kids stayed until 2pm and I left at 5.

HUbby put up my two new arches, while I dug over the bed ready for the pumpkins and squashes. It was a doddle. Even though it was full of weeds when I started they lifted with mimimal effort from the bed that has carrots in last year. I planted Jack-Be-Little, Ornamental Gourds, Small Sugar and Early Butternut to go up and over the arches - two of each variety on each side, In Bed 2 I planted Turks Turban (2) (lots of room all round), F1 Sunburst (2) and another butternut whose name escapes me at the moment (2) (bit closer together). I'm going to plant my sweetcorn seedlings in the same bed when they are big enough.

Bed 9 I planted up with the only Snowman pumpkin to germinate, Crown Prince (2 - swapped for at Ryton) and Jack-O-Lantern (2 - Whooooooooo!). All squash and pumpkins had some of our manure under them and loads of water to settle them in.

Above is Bed 2

Bed 9

The toms. I grew soooo many different varieties from seed. I culled a load (a very painful process!) which left me with about 4 of each variety. My first sowings were way too early which meant that they were very leggy indeed with only one or two trusses between them. My second sowings are much stockier and shorter - you learn as you go along I suppose, mosly to listen to advice given and go for the middle ground when looking at the sowing times on the packet. I'd already decided that this year I wanted to try a couple of each variety and then hopefully scaling it down to 3 or 4 favourite varieties for next year and just a couple of new ones (much the same as I've done with my peas. I've put one of each variety in the greenhouse and as far as possible two of each outside. Let the experiment commence!

The varieties I'm trying:-

Yellow Brandywine
Fantome Du Laos (from the US)
Sweet Olive
Golden Sunrise
Black Cherry
Red Cherry
Money Maker
Smadar (bush variety)
Sub Arctic Plenty (bush variety)

For hanging baskets:-

Garden Pearl
White Currant (from the US)
Little White Rabbit (from the US)

My leeks from last year never really made the grade. They have very little white stem, mostly made up of leaves and have now gone to seed (as expected). I'll get it right this year hopefully and think I'm just going to let a few of the leeks run their course to see what the flowers are like and maybe save the seed.
Strawbs are looking good!
I have my first baby broadies (forgot to take a photo) so I pnched off the tops to try stop the blackfly. Good job I did as there were already a few being farmed by ants!

I had been going on about needing a coldframe - until I realised that I actually already had one in the form of my carrot frame. With some plastic over the top if needed. It's working brilliantly!

And finally at home my countless varieties of beans (like the peas and toms!) are dtarted to pop up. The dwarf frenches are doing well and of the climbers the Cosse Violette are the winners! I cant believe how fast tehse things grow. Got up this morning they were like - this evening they are open and leaves out! They'd changed even in the first hour of being awake!! Fab!

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