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Geoff Hodge Web Editor Peterborough

I've been a horticultural journalist for 20 years, a gardener for longer than I want to think about and a veg grower for 25 years.

  • Date Joined: 21 Nov 2006

Phew, what a scorcher!

Posted by Geoff Hodge on 12 May 2008 at 09:59 AM

Another atypical early May weekend got me out of bed early Saturday morning to start the rounds of watering. By seven o’clock the hose was busy giving relief to gasping plants.

All the young plants in the lean-to frame needed looking at, so I got out my faithful flat Tubtrug, filled it with water and gave everything a good soak. This method not only ensures the compost is thoroughly moist, but gives me the opportunity to pick up each plant and give it the once over. A couple of the peppers had started to develop greenfly, so these were squashed before the plants had their much-needed soak. As everything is growing furiously it also gives me the opportunity to re-space everything, but this meant a few things had to come out to make enough space. The peas had already had a period of hardening off as Clare was going to plant them at the allotment on Sunday (I wasn’t going as I had the excuse of watching the last day of the Premiership on telly!).

Some of the tomatoes - the ‘Black Russian’ and the ‘Elegance’ from Suttons - were producing flowers, the ideal time to pot up into their final growing positions, so I planted these in their 25cm (10in) pots and moved them to the greenhouse.
There were still a few pots of pepper and aubergines seedlings under the growlights in the garage and these were potted up. Having been watered and re-spaced everything in the frame (and me) gave a big sigh of relief.

Out in the raised beds the broad beans are setting pods furiously and it looks like I’m going to get a good crop; again they needed a good soak. I decided to take a risk (apparently, according to some weather watchers, we’ve seen the last of the frosts for this spring) and planted out the dwarf runner beans ‘Hestia’. The French beans I’d also taken a risk with and sown outside a month ago, hadn’t done anything, so I felt it was probably safe to sow some more. I also put in a row each of radish, rocket and lettuce.

The potatoes in the compost sacks have been producing plenty of growth this last week and just about everyday I’ve been topping up the sacks with fresh home-grown compost. The sacks are now full and the potatoes are looking strong and healthy. I then remembered I’d received a ‘freebie’ bag of ‘International Kidney’ (that are sold as “Jersey Royals”) seed potatoes from Unwins the week before and planted up a few more sacks with these. You can never have enough early potatoes!

Next weekend I’ll be at Chelsea Flower Show producing the live online coverage of the show, so the final job of this weekend was to ‘walk the estate’ and make sure there was nothing obvious that needed doing. I’ll be at the show for four days and everyone knows how quickly things can get out of control when you take your eye off them. At least I’ll have a couple of evenings this week to batten down the hatches and make everything ship-shape before I leave.


scorcher | Fetion said:

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on 24 May 2008 at 04:25 AM