As promised, here's a rundown of some of the things we've been up to on the plot over the last seven days!
The main task has been to clear and dig the pumpkin patch - which is actually three of our square beds. These grew completely wild last year and were covered in nettles, creeping buttercups and teasels, and the year before that they suffered from tomato blight (the far square) and onion white rot (the near square) and had diseased plant matter left on them. (Careless I know. Must do better...) Because of this, we didn't want to put any of the weeds and soil from here into the compost, so we think we've solved the problem by clearing and digging two of the squares and piling all the organic matter onto the farthest bed, hotbed style.
I think I'll cover it in black plastic too, to try to stop anything in there growing, and I'll plant some of the pumpkins and squashes through the plastic into pockets of fresh compost. Hopefully the hungry squashes will enjoy the extra nourishment, and by the end of the year everything will have composted nicely and the disease will be pretty much dealt with by the lovely composting microbes. What do you reckon?
Everything's been enjoying the sun; myself included. The comfrey is bursting into flower, which the bees are loving.
And the broad beans are flowering too, even though they're less than a foot high! What's that all about? Can plants this small really bear that many beans??
The salad greens are coming on really well, and are due some thinning.
The near bed contains spinach and little gem lettuce. The far one has, from left to right, some rather pathetic red spring onions, three little rows of head lettuces and lollo rossa, some patchy beetroot, some very enthusiastic and very crowded radishes, and lots of green spring onions.
But the warm weather has brought these little blighters out too:
Since I started growing petunias under my asparagus, I've hardly seen any asparagus beetles, and certainly never had any eggs laid on my crop. This year there are quite a few about, and quite a lot of eggs too, so I squished as many eggs as I could, quickly weeded the bed again and planted out this year's petunias.
They usually hate being planted out, but these ones are settling in very well and are untouched by slugs too, which is a first! And do you see the row of sunflowers at the back of the bed? They are rather frostbitten, poor things, but I think they will pull through.
While I was weeding the asparagus bed I found a lot of these:
Has the asparagus self-sown? Or is this some weed I haven't seen before? They were all over the strawberry bed six foot away as well!
I've also planted out my runner beans. Well, all five of them. Only five out of 25+ seeds germinated - the rest rotted in the pots! So I have direct-sown some more.
I bought these obelisks a couple of years back to try to train cucumbers and trailing squashes up. It didn't really work, but I couldn't just get rid of them so now I'm using them for beans. On the top and left of this picture you can just about see my courgettes and crookneck squash as well, thriving in their new outdoor homes.
These perennial sweet peas are planted out right next to the compost bin to grow up and over it throughout the summer. I will pin some strings or mesh to the front of the bin to help them, and hopefully they'll die down in time for messing about with compost over the autumn and winter, then come back up next year. Well, that's the idea anyway. I'm not very familiar with sweet peas so I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow. And if it doesn't work there will be plenty of self-sown nasturtiums around, as always, to step in.