A Week Of Planting Tender Crops

The weather has been beautiful this week, making it a real pleasure to work at my allotment.

I’ve had a good week there, as I have started to plant out my tender plants.  These plants are the ones that can’t tolerate any frost, so I have kept them at home until this week.

Two weeks ago, I prepared the soil by spreading some blood, fish and bone fertiliser over the area where the plants were to go.

Unfortunately, the week didn’t start off too well as I had an accident with my first set of plants…I dropped a whole tray of sweetcorn, face down on my path!  Every one of my home sown plants either bent, or snapped in half and they were unusable. Only a ‘gardener’ can understand how upsetting this was for me, I just kept looking at them in disbelief!

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Luckily, a wonderful nursery in Syston came to the rescue and I managed to get some replacements.  They were really reasonable in price too, as they were £2.00 for twelve plants, which isn’t as cheap as growing them from seed but cheaper than buying ready grown, tasteless ones from the supermarket.

I planted the sweetcorn in a block.  Sweetcorn is wind pollinated and by planting them in a block it gives the male flowers at the top of each plant more opportunity to shed their pollen on the female tassels below.

Afterwards, I planted my butternut squash plants in between the sweetcorn.  I do this as it saves space, but also because the leaves of the squashes are quite large they help to prevent weeds from growing and help to keep moisture in the ground (as the ground is shaded from the sun).  I have grown my sweetcorn like this for a number of years and I have always had a good result.

My sweetcorn with butternut squashes between them

My sweetcorn with butternut squashes planted between them

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This week I planted my outdoor tomato plants.  They are a variety called ‘Outdoor Girl’.  I use this variety as they fruit slightly earlier than other outdoor varieties and this gives me a chance to get a decent crop before the dreaded ‘blight’ hits.  You can read about tomato blight here.

If you live in the UK, you can use a wonderful website called Blightwatch UK.  If you register, they will email or text you (free of charge), when the conditions are perfect for ‘blight’ in your area.  It doesn’t necessarily follow that you will suffer from blight, but it will remind you to check your plants.   You can find their website here.

I also planted some ‘Tagetes’ in between my tomatoes, as they are one of the best organic controls against aphid infestations, as their foliage has a scent which aphids hate….and they look nice when they are in flower.

My tomatoes

My tomatoes

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My courgettes and patty pans went in this week and my pumpkins too.  The allotment society is having a pumpkin competition this year and we were all given two or three seeds each to grow.  My daughter won last year’s pumpkin competition with a pumpkin that weighed 24.4 kg.  I wonder if we will be lucky again this year.

Last year's winner

Last year’s winner

This year's plant

This year’s plant

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I like to make sure we always have salad leaves, as we eat a lot of them in our house.  So I sow lettuces often through the spring and summer.  I planted some this week and I covered them to keep the birds away:

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Finally, I planted my celeriac (which incidentally need lots of water to get decent sized plants) and I also planted my swedes.  My swedes were still very small, so I put mini cloches over them (made out of pop bottles), to protect them from slugs, snails and flea beatles.  The mini cloches will also keep them in a sheltered environment until they are bigger.  You can see from the picture below that I also put a small cane in the cloche, this stops the wind from blowing them over:

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Things seam to be growing well around the plot at the moment.  I noticed my gooseberries seemed to have appeared since I last looked:

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and my strawberries seem to have grown just as quick…

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My poached egg plants that attract the bees and hoverflies are looking beautiful now…

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and the flowers in my flower bed have sprung into life, together with my ‘sink’ of alpines:

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I love days at my allotment when the sun is shining and the weather is warm.  Days like these make me very grateful for living the life I do.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Monday at 4pm.

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18 thoughts on “A Week Of Planting Tender Crops

  1. My deepest sympathy for your baby corn. My experience steers towards greedy slimy mongrel eating them right before I plant them, grrr grrrrr!!
    Tell me about your goosberry! I have mine up against the fence in a sunny corner,for the last two years, and year before last it was spindly at best, so I cut it back, and last year it wasn’t much better….is it too sheltered? Or is it the soil? Its good soil, but ‘ordinary’ good soil, nothing really flash. What have you done to/with yours?

    • My gooseberries sit in ordinary soil and I give them a handful of potash in the spring. I prune them overwinter so they don’t get overcrowed and the air can circulate too (so they look like a goblet shape) and I cut out any crossing branches…(this helps to reduce the chances of gooseberry sawfly). I also make sure they have nets over them as the birds love to eat the fruit. That’s it really and I get a good crop each year.

      Forgot to say they are in full sun too. Last year I did lose one of my plants to ‘Scale’ …have you checked yours all over to see if there is anything pests or diseases on it? Usual things are gooseberry sawfly: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=517 and American Gooseberry Mildew http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=739

      • Hmmm, well I do not get scale or mildew, (I checked the links). The plant is just a bit spindly…no fruit… I got plenty of leaves last year but the branches were all thin. It gets alot of sun, and the corner doesn’t get too hot in summer (or summers ger hot enough to burn the leaves right off the plants!) How low to the ground do you cut yours?

      • A couple of my bushes are very low, so I don’t think that would cause them to be spindly and thin, but do make sure the branches dont touch the floor. I think I would prune out the thin spindly wood and see what happens

  2. Oh dear – butterfingers. Enough to make you weep with frustration. I have been planting out the tender stuff too – trouble is the wind is still quite chilly here – just have to hope they do ok.

  3. Never heard of Swedes.
    We just planted a small block of sweet corn. Still my hubby and I like the yellow better. Although in store it seem they stock more white then yellow.
    It seem plants from the nursery in my area, 4 inch pot are in the three dollar range..$usa dollars.
    Looks like your gardens doing great.

    Coffee is on.

  4. Commiserations on you sweetcorn disaster, glad you found some more in time. My gooseberry has 2 berries on I guess I pruned it too late & cut the flowers off.Oh well you live & learn ! Guess I’ll still be buying Aldi’s gooseberry fools for this year !Are your allotments a great distance from your home ? Lots of lovely useful information as always.Thank you.

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