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Nasty little frosts

Posted by Guy Barter on 23 May 2008 at 05:28 PM

Colder weather has led to nasty little ground frosts that have nipped the spuds.  Only the ‘Charlotte’ has been badly affected, where about half the plants are unlikely to come to anything now.  The others should all recover soon.

Perversely, salads begin to mature when the weather turns chilly with the lettuces and cabbages bought as plants in March are hearting up and radishes and salad onions reaching a usable size.  Warming lettuce soup might be their fate.

Broad beans, sown in October, are almost edible size.  At the moment all usable ones are nibbled as an allotment snack, but substantial pickings should be available soon.  Blackfly have invaded but inconsiderately not via the tips so plucking these off has not helped at all.  However a good blasting with a soap-based insecticide at dusk, to spare the many bumblebees working the crop, has knocked their numbers back and ladybirds are also present so I hope this will be enough.

October sown mange-tout peas are ready to pick, and the follow-on crops sown in March are in full flower.

The dry spell has been ideal for hoeing and the plot looks very clean at the moment.  Parsnips were thinned and hand weeded, while carrots were given their first hoeing to keep the rows clear of weeds until the seedlings are big enough to handle.

Now that rains are forecast planting of my many transplants can begin.  These have been shifted to the allotment, watered and fed and left to harden-off under fleece.

I have not bothered to do any watering yet, but if the forecast rains don’t entirely top up the soil additional watering will be given to all the calabrese, turnips, cabbages, salad crops, seedbeds before sowing or where the seedlings have merged, and to those peas and beans in flower.

Lack of warmth so far this year has put the crops behind by a couple of weeks, but some mild, rainy weather could remedy that.

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