Catching Up

We returned from a fantastic two weeks away about on hour south of La Rochelle (pictured), on the west coast of France, last weekend and there was lots of catching up to do on the plot.

The cucumbers (Carmen) in the greenhouse are coming on well. There’s six plants in two growbags on the staging which I’m training up and across the roof. The growbags are laid on large trays with a layer of gravel to act as a reservoir for water which is drawn up through the cuts in the bottom of the growbags – this has proved an effective method to make sure they are always well watered whilst I’m away. Picking off any sideshoots and tendrils as they develop so all the energy is concentrated into the fruits, plus removing the lower fruits that would not be able to fully develop without touching the staging. Hopefully I’ll have an unmarked pair for the New Forest Show which is three weeks on Tuesday. I won’t be giving them my full attention though with a three day stag do in Dublin and four days walking the Pennine Way between now and the show. Fingers crossed the hands off approach will pay dividends.

Alongside the greenhouse the Goldstar tomatoes are between five and six foot high with some of the fruit on the lower trusses forming nicely. As with the cucumbers I’m keeping them well watered and feeding regularly with a potash feed.

One of my main hopes for the show is a pair of cabbages (Ramco) – difficult to get a decent photo of them as I daren’t lift the net tunnels off them for fear of breaking some of the leaves. This won’t happen until the night before the show. Fingers crossed they’ll heart up by then and remain bug-free. A liberal sprinkling of pellets every so often has helped keep the slugs off them up to now.

I’m concerned the long carrots won’t be thick enough as they’re behind last year and I’m also hoping a set of stump carrots will be ready in time.

I’m not entering celery in the show as this is my first real attempt at growing this difficult veg, but I’m pleased with progress so far. I need to swap the collars for longer ones to draw the plants up further for a good blanch on the stems.

And the potatoes are looking good, with really healthy looking haulms which are in flower. These are in polypots filled with a potato mix from Medwyns so they are my best hope for the show. As with all the veg a question mark on whether or not they’ll be ready in time – never sure what’s underneath. They’re all coloured potatoes so I’m hoping for a decent matching set. Next weekend I’ll cut the haulms and move the bags under cover to dry out and let the skins harden. Hopefully I won’t be looking at a bag full of marble-sized spuds after that!

This is also the first time I’m growing peas and the pods are starting to fill out nicely.

On the harvest side we’ve had loads of soft fruit this week, the usual strawberries and raspberries and also these gooseberries for the first time which all the family loved!

Also some shallots, a mixture here of Hative de Niort and Jermor.

And finally some mangetout and calabrese as well. Not a bad harvest.

It’s not all be great news though, up at the shared plot I lost most of my squash and pumpkin plants to slugs but up at the allotment the sweetcorn are doing well and no sign of the dreaded deer so far. It’ll be a busy few weeks as everything comes to fruition and also getting in some late sowings to take us through Autumn. Have a great weekend everyone!

11 responses to “Catching Up

  1. You got some good quality stuff there mate
    Cabbages do look very good but is that a slug I can see?

  2. With all that going on you’ll be wanting another holiday in a few weeks time!
    It’s all looking good in what has certainly been a difficult year, and that cabbage is looking brilliant!
    It’s been so bad that I’ve heard of some summer shows being cancelled due to a lack of exhibits, particularly vegetables.
    Thanks, and you too! Cheers.

  3. It seems most people are having squash problems this year – ours didn’t even germinate!

    • Thanks Darren I bet there’s a slug in there somewhere – hopefully a dead one!

      Flighty – I hope the New Forest Show will be well attended but we’re all in the same boat I guess so we’ll have to wait and see if numbers are down on last year.

      Sue – it was disappointing but there’s plenty of other great veg in on the plot. I’ll try again next year.

  4. It’s the only thing with holidays. You’re so busy when you get back you need another one. Pickings on the plot on the whole are good so far. So plants seem to be loving all this rain. My celeriac is growing really well and all the soft fruit the later crops such as cucumbers, courgettes and squashes don’t seem quite so happy.

    • I’d have planted celeriac if I knew how wet it was going to be – I have a load of plants still in seed trays that I need to get out but fear it’s too late. I think it’ll be another poor summer for squashes.

  5. John Martin (Hoss)

    Hi Damo. that picture of La Rochelle brings back memories. As an 11 yr old kid we went on a school trip on SS Uganda to La Rochelle. Your veg is looking well. I’m struggling this year with the cold wet weather and probably trying to grow too much. The only NVS show I can attend in Scotland is the Scottish branch (there is not a DA near me) which is at Kelso a mere 4 & 1/2 hrs from me. Its on the 26th August so I’m hoping to get down to it with some tatties and possibly caulies but who knows. All the best for New Forest.

    • Hi Hoss glad the mention triggered some good memories for you. That’s a fair trip to the branch show, our DA hosts the Southern so it’s only about 40 minutes away. Fingers crossed we’ll both have something worthy of the Show Bench.

  6. Looks like its going to be a bumper harvest! Fantastic looking veg, whats your trick for keeping pests away?

    • Thanks very much. Firstly I’m fortunate not having many slugs/snails – I’d like to think this is my doing but I suspect it’s due to our next door neighbour having a few ponds – there are plenty of frogs about. And all brassicas are under enviromesh tunnels to ward off pigeons and cabbage whites – although with the weather we’ve been having I haven’t seen any butterflies!

  7. wow – this all looks amazing and now I’m starting to see what some of my growing should look like (which none of it does) haha!!

    Oh well there’s always next year

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