Last week the kale was removed and the bed dug over despite the rain!
This week it was all systems go. The demonstration bed this year holds different varieties of peas and 4 of the varieties were planted out today – Progress no 9, Karina, Carouby de Mausanne and Suttons Harbinger, a heritage variety from Garden Organic. Mice do love pea – and bean- seeds so sowing direct is pretty chancy; growing on in pots gives complete germination. They were watered in and netted against the pigeons and rabbits.
Succession sowing makes the most of the growing season and gives later crops so we sowed another 3 rows of carrots – Heritage variety Manchester Table, Amsterdam Forcing and Long Red Surrey – and more beetroot – Pablo and Bolthardy.
The last of the new varieties of strawberries arrived last week and we started planting them out today. They are pricey but we should get a good crop of berries this year.
Spraying the gooseberries and redcurrants against the sawfly caterpillars has been a success. We used a spray recommended for organic use by the Royal Horticultural Society called Bug Clear based on pyrethum and it has worked. The plants will need to be checked regularly because there are several generations of the caterpillars over the summer but we only found a few today so the affected areas were sprayed again. Last year we used soapy water but it didn’t work and we ended up with the bushes stripped of their leaves. We also picked them off by hand but it is very time consuming and needs to be done every 2/3 days to catch the caterpillars as they hatch out.
We have had the last picking of purple sprouting broccoli and removed the plants. Normally these plants are out by the end of April but the cold weather gave an extended season. Unfortunately there is a very poor crop on the asparagus this year with most of the plants showing no growth and seeming to be dead. There was a good showing of ferns last year but perhaps the previous bad winters put the plants under too much stress.
Jobs for next week include planting out the peas and leeks.