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Happiness is orange and green.

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We’re now into ‘flaming’ June, can’t you tell, and my hammock didn’t cause the cooler weather, honest. A lot of things are now into the ground and growing, so it seems like a good time to take stock and see what we’ve got. I’ll start at the shed and work our way down toward the greenhouse. Come with me on a vegetable mystery tour (cue Beatles music)…

The parsnips are up and doing well. The first row (that were planted from the u-tube method – I may patent that!) are now about 12 inches tall and looking very healthy. The ones sowed direct into the ground are now about 2 or 3 inches high, but still doing well.

The turnips are all doing well, some are a lot bigger than others, but generally they are bushy and happy. Some of them are about half inch thick, so I am just expecting them to bulk up before being eaten.

The swede are up and quite small at the moment, a few sets of leaves and about 3 inches tall, so they have been netted to keep the birds off. Mind you they look like having a good crop. I’ve thinned them out already so it’s just a case of watering them and watching then go.

The carrots range from baby carrots to seedlings at the moment. They have at last been thinned out a bit (a combination of things to do, my timing and the weather has stopped me so far). They are doing nicely as well. More on the thinnings later on.

The spring onions are coming along nicely, They are about the size of chives now and are definitely filling out.

The mange tout are about 18 inches high, are all a lovely colour and quite bushy. They are growing up the pea canes nicely. They’ve even started flowering.

The brassicas have got to the stage when I have to take the chicken wire mesh from them. They are up to the top.of the hoops and nearly pressing on the wire, so I have released them to the elements and let them do their own thing. I have some that went in later that are a lot smaller, so I shall leave them covered.

The spinach has provided me with quite a good crop, but with the hot weather it is now starting to bolt, so I’ve taken another good crop or two from it and then dug it up and put it on the compost heap. I’ll probably put a few tomato plants in it’s place. Anything to fill up the gap.

The broad beans are all covered in flowers and emerging pods. At the moment the pods are just under half an inch thick and up to about 4 inches long. The signs are good for broad bean frenzy later in the year.

The runner beans are about a foot tall now and some are starting to twine themselves around the poles all on their own. Very clever plants. How do they know where to grow towards ? Something nasty has had a leaf or two from them. I’m guessing it was slugs. The beans do seem to be bouncing back though.

The French beans are all up, some of the ones I transplanted now have small flowers or buds on them. The ones that were sowed direct to the ground are still only a few inches taller and just a few leaves, so they have a lot of growing to do still.

The peas are up and climbing around the poles or the netting and some are starting to flower. Some of the pea plants are quite small (6 inches or so) and some a foot tall or more, so they are hopefully staggered and will provide peas over a good few weeks. We’ll see. They seem quite slow but not too bad. The ‘late peas’ are just showing their heads so I have covered them to protect them from the evil pigeons.

The potatoes are all up. They’ve been banked and are doing well. You can definitely see a time progression in planting dates from the firsts to the main crop. I have noticed lots of flowers on the firsts and buds on the seconds. The spuds in the tub are going really well, are very bushy and very happy. Hopefully they’ll be out soon as I estimate 12 weeks from planting is around 13th June. I may give them one week extra before I explore the potatoes. The clock is ticking for them. When the firsts are up I will put some lates in (though I need to buy some first).

We’re at the onions now. They are all in a variety of stages, some quite tall , some just sprouting, but most of them seem to be growing. There’s probably a few gaps, but nothing serious to worry about. The garlic is nice and tall. It could be wet garlic time soon.

Lovely Leeks. These are growing nicely as well. There are a few noticeably empty holes probably from the weaker plants that I put in, but from the 200 or so that have gone in there is probably only 12 or 15 that have failed to grow, so that’s not bad. I probably won’t bother replacing them, it’s not worth planting so few and there’s already a decent amount there.

Beetroot. I love beetroot. Pickled sliced beetroot is something that I associate with my childhood, and even now I can’t get enough of it. That being said I have also recently discovered the joys of roasting them, and a friend makes a very good chocolate and beetroot cake. So lucky for me that the three rows of beetroot I have growing have taken well and are coming along nicely. I still think they need a lot of water in the heat but they are rooted now and doing well.

The squashes are undergoing mixed reviews at the moment. The courgettes are all okay, have lots of flower buds on them and are doing well (interestingly, the one I have spare in the greenhouse now has a courgette on it!). The butternut squash are the mixed results, one is badly eaten but is coming back slowly, the other 2 are doing well. The pumpkins are still going nicely. I think they have got over their initial shock and are establishing themselves well.

The sweetcorn has bounced back. The cool weather (and probably more the cold wind) did turn the foliage yellow, but I did notice that they are now a lot greener. It could be the tomato feed, it could be the warmer weather, but they are coming back. This could be a mixed thing, as preparing for the worst I planted some more sweetcorn, most of which has come up as well. So I may well have another 20 or so plants to go in. I may well extend the sweetcorn so it goes over the pumpkins. I know that native Indians all over the Americas grow squash, beans and sweetcorn together so I am not too worried, more happy than anything really at the prospect of a lot of corn.

The cucumbers and the tomatoes in the greenhouse are coming along nicely. One tomato looks a bit sickly, so I have replaced it with a nice one from my supply of spare tomatoes. I have 7 spare ones left, so replacing the spinach isn’t a problem.

Fruit wise, everything is covered in fruit and flowers, raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries too. The black currants are a bit sparse but that is probably down to my negligent pruning last year. Still, should be a nice crop later on. I emptied the slugs from the beer traps as well. I don’t know how often you should replace the beer but I’ll say every week at the moment. I replaced it and had about 100 slugs in the 4 traps, so they are definitely working.

About the only other thing are the herbs. The coriander is doing so well it’s flowering, so I have sown some more at home and pinched out the flowers to prolong the life of the plants. The parsley is doing well, the chives unfortunately seem to have been smothered or aren’t doing well on the allotment. The one’s I’ve planted in pots at home are doing a lot better.

Still. It looks good for the moment. On my tour of the allotment I’ve had a quick weed of the allotment, just to keep on top of it, and then I gave it a little water (even though it may rain tomorrow) so I am done for the day and I can now relax at the weekend, watch the mountain of rugby on Saturday (there are 5 games on tomorrow) and do some work for mrs MK on Sunday.

The thinnings. Last night I had my first crop of baby carrots, so along with the spinach and some home made sausages (Lincolnshire) it was a meal fit for a king. If the new spuds had been ready then it would have been perfect but you can’t have everything in life – but you can try …

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My goodness, you've certainly tried your best! And why not crow about all your hard work, you deserve it! Only wish my garden was bigger so we could do more in the way of quantity. We've decided we'll build a raised bed at the bottom of our garden instead of building a paved area with a pergola. We want it at waist height, (well, high anyway!) so will need to buy lots of wood! Lol!!

We'd still never reach your produce tho' but as you say, we can certainly try!

10 Jun, 2009

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