Saturday, May 17, 2014

A squeeze on time and space

If you thought that all my focus on the Gardeners' World show was affecting my planting and growing for the suburban veg plot you wouldn't be far wrong.
I think I've managed to keep up with some things; we have peas and broad beans planted out and flowering already, the potatoes are in and growing vigorously.

Exquisite Aquadulce broad bean flowers
But I've sown only one set of beetroot and carrots and the tomatoes are sulking in their very small pots in a corner of the greenhouse.
It's a matter of space at the moment – the tomatoes are usually potted on into their pots or grow bags in the greenhouse by now, but that space is still needed for my plethora of chard, basil, cucumber and cucamelon plants for at least another two weeks. I spent most of yesterday moving pot after pot of lettuce out to the cold frame, which now being fully glazed is fairly slug-proof.

The cold frame filled to capacity

Chard 'Bright Lights' for my Gardeners' World raised bed
Thankfully, I have a lot of fruit that are perennial - from blueberry bushes to raspberry canes, tayberry plant to wild strawberries, so all of those seems to be taking good care of themselves and seem to need only water from me in order to do their thing.

Apple cordon with lots of buds - sadly, none of them have formed fruits.

And below, raspberry and tayberry flowers respectively. I have high hopes for a good harvest from both of these in 2014.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Colour, structure and support

On Thursday 12th June, the BBC Gardener's World Live show in Birmingham will be ready to open and my Edible Patch raised bed will be fully planted up and awaiting the view of the paying public.
Overall, things seem to be on track. The broad beans have grown well and are in their final containers. I have grown the crimson-flowered variety – mainly for their vibrant flower colour and currently have 68 plants in various stages of growth. This should mean that by the time we're on site, I will be able to display plants both in flower and producing pods.

Last week, a lovely local hedgelayer, Stephen, delivered a batch of 12 hazel bean poles (9 foot tall!), which will form the basis of my 3 wigwams for climbing plants. They are being cut down to size a bit as I am allowed a maximum height of 2.5m in situ.

And supporting the climbers, I'm using a wonderful sustainable product called twool. This is produced from the wool of the Whitefaced Dartmoor sheep. It is used in exactly the same way as the typical jute twine that many of us use around our garden, but it is made entirely in the UK, supports the farming and preservation of this ancient sheep breed and involves 8 other British industries in its production. I recently received a selection box of twool and twool rope from Twool HQ to use in my raised bed display – and it will certainly add some colour to my display. Look out for the Twool stand at Chelsea Flower Show this month if you're attending – their new twool rope is an RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year finalist.