“Really Knowing Your Onions”
E40 – W26
Nasturtiums infestation – blackfly and below closer still.
I suppose it’s hardly surprising that the growing season is all over the place. Up and down the country l am hearing, seeing or reading of disappointments regarding gardens and their yields .. it’s been a clumsy season and an awkward year – so far!
Sam, next door has already said that his vegetables that were in a much more advanced state of growth last season are well behind this year, Suze’s son talks of struggles with his own vegetable garden and even our own WP Gary has made several comments on the slowness of vegetable growth from his neck of the woods in Yorkshire. Down here, this far east of Kent and so close to the coast – the salt content has been much higher which can hinder growth – and the weather conditions have been alarmingly bad this year too. Not just for private growers, but equally dismal reports from agricultural and commercial growers alike – bad weather, bad conditions have led to poorer stock, crop and harvest efficiencies.
Borage under blackfly swarm infestation.
However all that is irrelevant in truth to a garden that is being deconstructed mid season – yes we have encountered and experienced poorer yields and crops on certain plantings and yet others have done exceedingly well and in some cases way better than last year.
Hoverfly close up on borage plant with ants and blackfly.
The poorer quality and constantly changing weather has also made an impact climatically in other areas – l have seen huge swarms and infestations this year of blackfly, greenfly and aphids.
The courgettes, borages, nasturtiums, cucumbers and the runner beans have huge problems with these this season. In smaller numbers none of these species are really that big an issue ……….
BUT in much large quantities they do become a bit of a nightmare and various parts of the garden especially sheltered areas can suffer terribly. Of course we have more shade in the garden than last year because of the bloody great tree that blocks out most of our south facing garden sunlight! The tree casts more shadow and shade into the garden and this of course encourages more ‘infestations and swarms of pests’.
Blackfly and the rest can weaken a plant’s integral core, distort and stunt plant growth – but in the main it is simply easier to allow them to stay where they are – eventually they will fall victim to predation of various sorts and die back. I could if l truly wanted to treat the plants accordingly but with everything else going on and the garden being deconstructed there really isn’t need.
I will write an episode next month on infestations and swarming problems but l just need to get the house moves out of the way first.
Yesterday various things had to be dug up … the nasturtiums was on the list of must go as the flowers were dying off anyway, l decided to keep the borage going as the bees and butterflies love it so much.
*** It’s All About Soil These Days!!***
Main task for Friday – spring onion bed.
The main task for Friday with the good weather – yesterday’s weather was superb, hot and and dry with a gentle breeze as opposed to today’s wet, damp, dank, grey and windy – was to harvest off the spring onion raised bed, dig out the nasturtiums and transplant the celeriacs if possible. Also, to dig out, bag up, empty off and pack away the second maedium sized raised bed.
The garden is slowly and surely starting to break down, in some ways it’s just painfully slow because of the sheer amount of soil that must be dug out and bagged out and in many cases found a new home as neither Suze and l can take it all with us. It’s also confusing as well because we are trying to identify what we intend to grow ourselves. As we have two very different garden styles to cater to it makes the allocation of soil and container and or vessel containment difficult to plan and coordinate.
The spring onions harvest was a huge crop even if perhaps a week or two earlier they were still a quality crop. The raised bed was dug out and bagged up and folded up and stored ready for collection by Suze’s brother tomorrow.
Suze has lawn and l have a courtyard – both of us will have both raised bed and containers – ‘like now’, but much smaller. I have room for containers but not huge ones meaning l can only really have large pots over containers. I can have raised beds but can l have one or two and or does that mean if l have one does Suze have room for three? Sure! It’s all schematics … but these are things that need to be identified and planned in now.
65% of the soil to be taken care of is now bagged and awaiting reallocation or collection! I am getting to the point of being tired of seeing soil!! In this image above there is 41 bags of soil and there is still 35% of soil to be dug up and bagged and 16 bags of additional soil have already gone to Sam next door.
Where l am, l don’t have the easiest pathway to take soil into the garden – it’s either through the house direct or through a series of backgarden passages – all fine and dandy when the main house move is underway but now when it might be in bits and the weather’s not being friendly and wet bagged soil is devil heavy! So l try to avoid lifting and moving that.
The celeriacs were quite an easy transplant – split into two pots of two over one pot of four, it means that Suze and l can both have a pair in our gardens – the vegetable however now has one of two choices to make – it can grow or die. I say this, because some vegetables don’t take too well to being shifted around during their growing stages and more so once past seedling stage.
As annoying as the rains are today, as celeriac is a root based celery type plant it is a water guzzler – so there is a good chance they will survive the transplanting because of this weather which will water them in and ground them to their new containers.
I will write about this next month properly, but since the 6th June l have been trialing out Bokashi composting – you will have seen me pay reference to it in recent episodes. Bokashi relies on bran to break or process your kitchen wastes into a food conversion to compost through the fermentation process. The end result is it will produce a nutrient rich organic compost tea for your plants.
I started with one Bokashi bin, but l have since invested in a second – the June bin can be seen above ‘fermenting’ under the yellow lidded box, whilst the July ‘green’ bin is for this month. I opted for two bins on account of the new hot compost bin not being here just yet but also to ensure that the 10 day fermentation process isn’t interupted.
Yesterday’s spring onion crop had to be washed, stripped and cleaned and stored and await either distribution to the neighbours or storing for our own use. Suze is not a big fan of onions but l am, however we don’t need this quantity of crop. But l will be growing these next year and again opting for the ‘plug grow method’.
Next week l will be harvesting the garlic and tomorrow getting ready to harvest the worm farm ready for Monday transporting to the new house and potting compost worm farm.
Till then, thanks for reading, catch you next episode.
Catch you in part 5.