Growing Fruit & Vegetables at Home – 7th May 2021

Although there are lots of things I have written about before, I’m going to treat this as a start-up. 

As I said I have a spreadsheet, it consists of three parts:

  • Calendar:which lists what I’ve sown, transplanted, and harvested by date. All years are concatenated so I can see everything I’ve done in previous years;
  • Harvest: week by week list of the weight of things that I’ve harvested that its reasonable to weigh (so things like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc. but not leafy vegetables such as lettuces, swiss chard, etc. (although they get listed in the harvest of the calendar);
  • Tomato Summary: A list of the tomatoes I’m growing, when I sowed them, planted them out, etc., and (most importantly) whether I want to collect seed for future years. The weight of tomatoes (in total) is in the Harvest.

As we’re at the beginning of May, some things are being harvested, perennials and overwintered from last year’s sowing. So as a starting point:

Harvest

Of the weighed things, we’ve harvested 2.4kg of Rhubarb (from essentially one crown), first crop at the end of March. Based upon previous year’s records, I would expect that that is all for spring and we’ll pick some more at the end of July.

We’ve also been picking: 

  • Lettuces: (All Year Round and Black Seeded Simpson) one or two a week to go with our salads; and
  • Swiss Chard: both for salads and cooked. The stems make a good substitute for spinach and comes at a time where there aren’t many greens.

We could be picking:

  • Spring Greens: we have eight (bought) spring cabbages that can be used but they’re in competition with the vegetable boxes we get, it seems silly to throw away bought vegetables when the garden ones will keep. However, they need to be eaten sometime soon to make space.

In the Ground & Growing

In the ground and growing we’ve got: 

  • BroadBeans (planted out in October last year and flowering now);
  • Overwintered Lettuces (All Year Round, Black Seeded Simpson);
  • This Season’s Lettuces (Tom Thumb);
  • Strawberries (Newly planted last autumn);
  • Alpine Strawberries;
  • Raspberries (Autumn Fruited);
  • Radishes (Sown direct in the raised beds at the end of March);
  • Carrots (Sown direct in the raised beds at the end of March but not doing well).
  • Peas;

Sown & Growing in the Greenhouse

Sowing direct in our soil is always a bit hit and miss. Like all clay soil its cold and damp in the spring, then when it warms up it goes like concrete. So most vegetables are sown in plugs or pots and then transplanted when they’re established. The bad thing about growing like this is a tendency to sow things too early and then spend time mollycoddling the resulting plants without the space or temperature to do anything with them. So, at the moment we have:

  • French Beans (Dwarf (3 varieties) & Climbing (4 varieties));
  • Courgettes (5 varieties);
  • Tomatoes (Bush & Cordon);
  • Parsley;
  • Lettuce (5 varieties);
  • Cucumber;
  • Pepper (Sweet & Chilli);
  • Swiss Chard;
  • Beetroot;
  • Physalis;
  • Basil;

All taking up time and space in the greenhouses. The tomatoes & peppers are the most awkward as the overnight temperatures are too low to risk leaving them in the greenhouse overnight so they are carried out in the morning to get the sun and back in at night. That will stop in the next couple of weeks or so when I’ll plant them out in MFBs to grow on in the greenhouses.

And Finally

A picture of our apple tree. We have two, an eater (I think its Discovery) and a cooker (which I don’t know what it is). Whilst the Discovery has lots of blossom, my concern is that the cold weather is keeping the insects at bay and we won’t have as good harvest as might appear. (Though even if we do, we will – as always – have a battle with the grey squirrels who want to eat the apples before they’re fully ripe). 

Our Discovery Apple Tree (the cooker is hidden behind it)

So, that tells you where we’re at

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