Weed it and reap!

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Spinach, rhubarb and radishes

Well it may not look like much, but we’re very proud of this colourful selection of crops so far this year.

This afternoon we spent 90 minutes at our allotments. While we’re confident that all the digging, rotivating and covering will pay off when it comes to keeping the weeds down, it’s pretty annoying to see so many causing trouble! We know what we’ve planned will work – keeping to summery crops, planting seeds at home and growing on till they’re strong enough to plant out, harvesting often and preserving as we go – it means that although it’s June, there’s not much fresh veg to eat yet!

For the first year this year we did not get to plant broad beans before

Monty Don with a broad bean plant – one of my gardening heroes!

Christmas. They went in just at Easter, and it looks like something went through and dug up about a fifth of what was planted too. Thankfully, we planted some in modules at home too, and we’ve filled in the gaps. Last summer the children played in a ‘bean forest’ as the plants grew about 5 foot tall, and they’re looking forward to doing that again.

Onions and shallots went in at Easter too, along with the potatoes. The alliums are doing fine. Only two or three spuds up so far though. I’m hoping that I planted them deep enough to give a good crop without earthing up, but not so deep they won’t see the light of day! Given that we’re still finding spuds in all parts of the allotments that have been left from other years, I’m pretty sure we’ll be safely eating our own in August.

Today I also planted out 6 cucumber plants and one lonely courgette. Other courgette seeds didn’t germinate, so I’ve planted another couple now. It’s not too late, they crop until October if the weather stays mild.

Peas have disappointed. I have now planted twice and they’re being chewed by something around the edges, despite being covered. Looks like Pea Leaf Weevil.

Poorly peas

Chinese veg is being nibbled by flea beetle, despite enviromesh, but hopefully they will regenerate their greenery soon as the flea beetle’s life cycle moves on.

A very successful new crop to us this year is Chinese Broccoli, which has not fallen fowl of the flea beetle, nor has the spinach planted alongside. The radishes planted as a catch crop have done their job as seen in the photo above. Some of them will be stir-fried this evening.

Common fumitory – carrot like leaves, in a carrot patch! Aargh!

A good hour’s weeding by Shaun and I had most of the main veg plot looking like it wasn’t abandoned any more. Once we’d confidently identified something that looked like a carrot as a weed, we were pretty sure of the other seedlings and able to pull the weeds getting in the way. Unfortunately some of it is bindweed, but we’ll keep pulling and pulling in the hope that we’ll get our own crops too. Beetroot, carrots and parsnips are all coming up fine, and the flowers we planted will look lovely in a month or so.

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