Monday, 2 June 2008

Weed Madness!

I can't believe how much everything has grown in the 6 days we were away - including the weeds! The piccy above is my lovely little Eriba caravan at the campsite.
I got back to beds full of the dreaded docks and my poor little parsnips were nowhere to be seen as the docks and other weeds were so big they covered them! I've basically had Sunday and yesterday flitting around not knowing what to do first, but have finally gotten myself organised and sorted my strawberries (netted), beans (slimy critter munched) and today weeded the parsnip bed. I think in my head I had it sorted once we had finished digging the last bed and had visions of me just wandering around the plot sowing, planting and harvesting! I guess not then! So, Plan B is to weed a bed everytime I go to the plot for a proper session and that way hopefully keep it under control. I am also going to mulch like mad!

The strawbs now netted. I had been watching my first fab strawberries ripen, though always in the back of my mind I knew I really needed to put netting over it. Well Saturday it had been nibbled and yesterday both had disappeared. Served me right. I hope the creature who ate it enjoyed it as that's the last one they're getting!

Somethig slimy has had a right go at my beans. To give you an idea of what you are looking at in the pic above:- Slightly to the left of the cane is the straggly sweetpea I put in, then next to that the stick is what is left of the bean. I think its the doing of a big snail I found hiding in the rocket! He's blackbird fodder now! Anyway, I sowed a couple more beans at each station of the worst affected and will pull out the weakest ones before they really take off.

I'm now getting peas coming on. They look good though are not filling the pods yet. Didn't stop me opening up my first pea pod and trying the baby peas. They were Rondo, sown in Autumn (though not strictly an overwintering pea, it managed to make it) and tasted delicious!

Below are pics of the parsnip bed. You can see where I have started to weed one half of the bed and how full of weeds the other half was. I'm not saying there were no weeds in it last week - there was a smattering, but it then went crazy! The next pic shows where I have weeded the rest of the bed (properly, digging out ALL the roots) and have started to add the strawy manure as a mulch to try to keep the weeds at bay.

On Saturday I dug up the first potatoes of the year. One Red Duke of York and one Maris Bard plant. There wasn't the greatest amount of spuds on each one but they were fabulous! I dug some up on Tuesday and this time I dug only a RDoY plant and there were loads. As much as both of the previous plants put together. I dug a plant of both up again yesterday and got the boy to give them a wash. He loved the whole experience - like digging for treasure - now if I could only get him to eat them without pulling a face and smothering them in ketchup :o)

A creature (I'm thinking fox) dug up one of my Turk's Turban squashes and the other looked a bit mauled too. I planted it back in and have my fingers crossed for a full recovery. I'd be sad not to have them this year as I only planted two in total and gave the rest away as they get so big!

In the greenhouse everything had also gone mad and they all seem to have doubled in size. I've a few toms swelling now too. The happiest are definately those sown later. I must keep my itchy fingers under control until at least March. The earlier ones are taller and actually have some toms on them, but look really skinny compared to the much more robust later ones.

Below - a pic of my Saturday bounty! I made a onion and spinach tart and french onion soup from all this. I now understand what happens to the middle of a leek or onion when they bolt - but they still tasted yummy in soup mmmmm!

And finally a pic of bees on my chives. At one point I counted 5 bees within a square foot! I do love bees!

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