No dig diary, 19th June 2021

Things seem to have slowed down in the veggie plot a bit, partly because I was ill for the best part of a week, but also because there doesn’t seem to be much to do. Many of the plants I sowed in May expecting to be planting out now aren’t actually ready yet, which perhaps isn’t such a bad thing as quite a few of those I’d expected to be gone by now (to make room for the new plants) aren’t even ready to be harvested.

In the polytunnel, the tomatoes seem to be doing fine, as are the couple of butternut squashes I planted under cover. All the peppers are a bit of a disaster area though. I’m really not sure we’ll get any fruit from them at all. The remaining lettuces are running to seed, which is a bit of a problem as the ones I sowed to go outdoors aren’t ready yet. The garlic looks to be doing very nicely.

In the main plot, the potatoes need earthing up, but the plants are really not that well developed. The sweetcorn is making some progress, but is hardly huge and the squashes planted between them have been very slow off the mark. My runner beans are doing really well, but the borlotti beans and french beans, sown at the same time and planted out a week earlier, are struggling. We’ve eaten some of the first planting of beetroot, which are a little smaller than tennis balls now, and the brassicas, parsnips and carrots seem to be doing nicely. The broad beans have had very little in the way of flower despite being very healthy plants and the onions also look very strong, but whilst the stems are thickening, they’re not really forming obvious bulbs. The outdoor garlic is actually starting to die back. I don’t think it will be long before I’m harvesting that. Happily there’s no sign of rust on it, which I was expecting. The carrots and all the brassicas are still under mesh, but I’ll probably uncover the broccoli now to make it easier to cut (and once we start cutting, the butterflies can’t really do any serious damage to it anyhow).

Today I sowed kale, winter cabbages and swedes, along with another batch of radishes and spring onions, and put in strings to support all the cucumbers and melons. The weather looks a bit uncertain for tomorrow, but I’m hoping I can get the potatoes earthed up and thin the carrots and parsnips and perhaps plant out a few more brassicas if I can find room.

I have new plans for the longer term, too. My wife would like us to grow some asparagus, so in the autumn I will probably make another no-dig bed as there’s no way I’m going to have space in the existing plot.

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