Catching up on the new season

SAT 7th June 10.30 – 4.00pm SHAFTESBURY PLACE. Celebrate 150 years of Brighton to Seaford railway with coffee/tea and homemade cake, exhibition, open garden, model railway display, music, picnic, guided walk, etc.  More under ‘Events’

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It’s a typical May Bank Holiday, which means it’s raining heavily. Time to catch up with what’s been happening in the edible growing plot at London Road Station. We’ve had a month of sunny and rainy weather – great for growing, but our warm and wet winter also provided perfect conditions for slugs, snails and aphids.

Shady leaf bed

Sorrel cavalo shady bedWe’ve moved our exuberant mint and have devoted the shady bed by the wall to cavalo nero, lettuce and some variegated sorrel. The slugs of course went for the cavalo shortly after we planted it, so that we renewed some of the plants last week. We have had to resort to organic wildlife-friendly slug pellets.

West bed

Potatoes in west bed 2 c

This bed is looking good cleared of raspberries, now growing in various large pots by the railings. Sue planted three seed potatoes – a first for the garden – and they are doing very well. We prepared the bed for climbing beans, mixing Veolia’s soil enhancer into the soil. We’ve not been very successful with germinating beans from seed this year, but we do have some plants ready.

East bed

We planted onions here earlier on, and they’ve overwintered well. We now have chard and spinach in this bed, growing well.

Apple and pear orchard beds

Parsely by apple treesThis year, we’ve got lovely flat-leaf parsley and lollo rosso lettuces growing here – both doing really well. The lettuces are nearly ready to harvest. We’re holding on to see if they will last until our event on 7th June and can be part of the ‘Pick and Cook’ demonstration.

 

StrawberriesWe’ve kept the strawberries in the second raised bed and they seem to be doing well, though with more leaf and fewer fruits than the ‘left-over’ strawberry plantlets, abandoned to do their own thing in an old window box by the pear-trees. The soil in the raised bed may be too rich – too comfortable – so the plants are growing lush greenery, not fruits: back to the principle that a little stress stimulates fruiting.

Salad and courgette in apple bedIn the pear-tree bed, we’ve got spiky oriental greens and three courgette plants. These are dwarf bush plants, requiring about 60cm space between each plant, so it may be that they’ll sulk at some point. We’ll need to keep an eye on ensuring sufficient water in this bed; as for nutrients, the soil, enriched with our compost, Veolia and ‘Black Gold’, should be able to sustain them. They will require careful management as they start to grow outwards, downwards, every which way. Contrary to our experience with courgettes last year, these plants (Franchi ‘long’) are doing very well indeed.

As part of catching up, I’ve also gone back through e-mails and texts recording what was going on in the earlier part of the year. Thanks to Diane for keeping in touch!

Tuesday 4th March 2014

A beautiful early Spring afternoon made for some really enthusiastic gardening (and talking about gardening!)  Very pleasing to survey the plots and share our thoughts.  The shady triangle is really coming into its own with a specially good show of ‘Golden Daffodils….’ with the last of the cyclamen doing their best.  We decided the miniature daffs are by far the best, much less subject to the wind blowing them over, and providing good patches of colour because of the dense planting.

The veg garden stays tidy, with buds appearing everywhere.  We are still getting used to the fruit trees new angle, but they look good, specially as Mark disentangled them from the now redundant canes.

We planted some little sorrel seedlings (the red variety) just to see what they would do, and we harvested some more leeks.

The greenhouse plants are racing along now, and we were pleased to see new dark green shoots coming from the base of all the parsley plants we potted on only last week..  We harvested the lettuce, and then planted seeds for the next crop. Then time for tea, and planning!  Which variety of beans to grow?  where to site them?  Among other important topics.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Tuesday was dull, weather-wise, but in every other respect it shone!  We potted on the parsley plants, tended the greenhouse (actually, should say ‘admired’ as Mark and Daphne have done all the tending and it looks really good!) and the basil seedlings I didn’t bring home for tlc are doing fine now (M and D’s magic touch again!)

The highlight of the afternoon was Bryn’s visit.  He was fulsome in his praise for our fruit trees – the best of the bunch he is ‘overseeing’. They are vigorous, healthy and have flower buds to prove it. The main task was to pull each little tree(not so little now) down to an angle of 45 degrees.  It did seem a bit brutal at first, but the trees didn’t mind, and they look very comfortable in their new positions.  We, well 99%Bryn, tied the branches in with the plastic tree ties, and snipped off a few small branches which were heading towards the wall.

Bryn will be back to look at how they are doing in late June/July.  In the meantime we need to water well when needed, and stop feeding as they will get too leafy and big, and not concentrate on fruiting. There are other things to do at solstice time and early August, and we had instructions about how and when to remove excess fruit to ensure good harvests. The plum tree received some training to fill its allotted space efficiently – tied in with inner tubes this time – a brilliant tip.

We ended the afternoon with a leek harvest – leeks in cheese sauce for Bryn and the De Boissieres, leek and potato soup for Diane and Simon.   A delightful way to round the afternoon.

Tuesday 18th February 2014

It was a worthwhile afternoon – and the plots felt quite spring-like!   Just a bit of general tidying, weeding the tree pit  (and I harvested some chard for a savoury tart!)The greenhouse is looking good, just a little bit of watering to do. The geraniums in the conservatory also had a little drink.   The sun was pouring into the conservatory by 3, so it was certainly time to sit down with one of Elspeth’s gardening books, feet up, cushions in place……. I woke up at 3.45!   Thank you, Elspeth for sharing this little bit of heaven with all of us! The basil which is now on my windowsill is hanging in there, five of the plants look really viable now.

 

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