Sunday, 12 August 2012

Veg patch

The veg patch here is not really the centre of attention in the garden.  I have been focusing my efforts on the flower beds around the house and gîte for the benefit of the guests.  This leaves me with little time for the veggies, and they tend to get overrun with weeds as the year progresses.

This year there has been a bit more time, and so here are the results.   I dug over a new area intended for Asparagus, during last Winter.   I did all the things you are apparently supposed to do: I dug it deep, filled it with manure and added sand (a deal with a local builder) and then dug some trenches for the plants.   I planted some Asparagus seeds in the Spring. The ones I put in a seed tray did very well; those that I put straight into the ground did not.  What you see here is the current state of this year's seedlings.  I'm quite impressed, and I'm hoping that next year, perhaps a few of the sprouts will be big enough to pick, even though I know you're supposed to wait three years....

The Onion Walla Walla also seems to have done very well, making some nice big bulbs.  That's a first time for me, with onions.  I might try Shallots next year, we eat a lot of those.

I have grown Leeks successfully in the past, and they look like they're doing well here too.   They seem to be less attractive to bugs and pests than most other veg, so that's pleasing too.  

The Artichokes are another experiment.  I tried them once ages ago and they never made it through the first Winter.  I have three plants all from seed this Spring, and they look reasonably vigorous, so I am hoping they will make it.  I'll cover them with some kind of compost or something to help ward off the cold, too.  You're not supposed to let them produce in their first year, so I have been cutting off the young flowers as they form.  I'm surprised by how many there are: I must have taken off 5 or so from each plant.

The tomatoes have not been a success.  The early Summer rains have caused them to rot, although they seem to have improved with the recent hot weather.  We visited a lady who runs a local bee farm and her tomatoes were fine, she said she sprayed them with Bordeaux mixture.  I might try that if faced with a similar problem next year.

Last year I grew a number of squash plants, and we ended up with too many Winter squash, more than we could eat or give away.  So this year I tried to plant fewer, and ended up with just one plant.  Typical.  I was worried that it was producing only female flowers, but some male ones put in a tardy appearance a few days ago and I fertilised the plant.   You can see thet fruit is growing already.  I'll limit it to four fruits, so they end up a decent size.

I've got a few Brussels Sprouts plants, and some purple sprouting Broccoli.  The sprouts have been attacked by caterpillars, and I had to spray them.  The Broccoli, on the other hand is less damaged.   We shall see if either of them make a useful contribution to the diet this year.

Moving on to the soft fruit section (that does sound so posh) the Raspberries are starting to produce.  I started off with one plant last year, and it is spreading through root suckers.  I'll have to take it in hand and train it, but until then it looks like it make quite a few nice puddings.

I have six fruiting Gooseberry bushes.  I started with one, and propagated it by cuttings.  I think that the fruit is nice, but I don't know for sure since the Blackbirds got the lot.   The mistake was to buy ones that turn purple when they're ripe, a colour that Blackbirds seem to love.  Some protection required for next year I think.

I had to buy some more Welsh bunching onion seeds this year because my stock of these, carefully nurtured and propagated from a plant given by friends some 15 years ago, got clobbered by the Winter.  These ones are supposed to be especially hardy.  I'll use some as Spring onions, and keep the rest as stock for future years.

Finally, I also use the veg patch as a nursery/holding area for cuttings.  Here's some roses from cuttings, courtesy of Leo.


the fly in the web said...

Watch the artichokes when established.
I found that if I let a plant run to seed it died of, so I cut the heads whether for eating or the compost.

And with the asparagus when established I used to cut for three weeks only (more or less) and then let the plant recover.

I brought seed here and next year should be able to have a proper crop (exotically the bed is shaded by a trellis of passion fruit which also breaks the force of the rain.)

Mark In Mayenne said...

I will watch for that on the Artichokes, I never realised.

Yes, I know one has to be very careful with sparagus. But I have quite a lot of plants so if I'm careful with them, I think they'll provide plenty. There's about 18 plants.

James Higham said...

Looks a bit dry there though green also, Mark.

The bike shed said...

Very poor year here for veggies - apart fro the beans.

On different note, must post a picture of new banjo - totally fabulous craftsmanship; just wish I could play it well enough to justify the price!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...