The sweet smell of success (or ‘you stink of Jeyes fluid’)

27 April 2008

An unexpected window of sunshine allowed a couple of hours digging this afternoon. But, I gave in around 5.30 and collapsed into the bath.

Not that I wasn’t busy in the morning. Jeyes fluid made another appearance as I disinfected a whole load of small pots in preparation for sowing seeds. Late sowing, this was.

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We are well behind on greenhouse crops. Not that this leaves us worried. There have been enough disappointments in the past: see above. So, waiting until late April to sow tomatoes and cucumbers is not such a big deal.

I hope.

Tomatoes have never been our strong suit. And, I think it’s down to not understanding which shoots to prick out; too many plants craving too little sun; too much or too little water. Whatever it is, I’m determined that we do better this year. A little light reading in the evenings from my extensive, yet hardly touched, gardening library should put us right.

From this disastrous experience, we plumped for a couple of varieties that any idiot should be able to grow.

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Moeymaker: just the name inspires confidence. ‘Well known for reliably producing heavy crops.’ Er, not in our experience, but we’ll give it another go. It is a medium sized fruit on large trusses, so a bit of scaffolding might be required.

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Gardener’s delight: it sure should be. ‘Bite sized fruits…sweet flavour. Heavy crops…’ Can’t go wrong! (Note: The tray also contains some parsley I sowed.)

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One of last year’s surprises was some success at cucumbers. We’d not tried them before and because we crammed the greenhouse full of tomatoes, the cukes wound up outside. Three plants ended up under a cold frame and half a dozen or so lived in one of the few sheltered spots in the garden on the greenhouse staging.

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Not the greatest yields, I’m sure. The leaves got a bit brown and powdery, a sign, of some horrid bug. Nevertheless, we got a steady stream of 10-15 cm or so fruits through until September. I love cucumber, so a bit of a bonus.

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Let’s see how Green Fingers -‘early cropping, high yielding baby cucumber…powdery mildew (ha!) resistant’ – do.

Let’s go for it!

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As a coda, I popped in one of my maincrop potatoes – Desiree – into a pot to sit in the greenhouse next to my thriving first earlies.

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Later on, I trundled up to the allotment for some back torture. The trip did yield something tasty: some lovely purple sprouting broccoli and spinach, courtesy of Barry (not his real name, of course).

I benefited from scone and tea around 4.30.

The late planted onions are starting to produce green shoots. I felt the earth yesterday and it has definitely warmed up, so no excuses now you boys!

Another four potato plants have poked above the soil. Another three of four spots show cracks in the soil, so the shoots are about to reach daylight. (Eight weeks from planting to digging: six weeks to go then.)

Bathed before dinner – including purple sprouting – but I still smell of Jeyes.


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