I love the process of filling my empty brown spaces with greenery from the greenhouses and yesterday (Friday) was a bumper day. Careful monitoring of the temperatures over the last week and studying of the predicted temperatures for the week to come, led me to feel that the danger of a hard frost had, for the most part, gone and so I could begin hardening off my plants, ready for planting out.
Hardening off, for those of you unfamiliar with gardening terms, is the process of acclimatising plants which have been grown under cover, to the outside world, so that when they are planted out into their final positions, the shock isn’t too great and they recover quickly. In my case this meant bringing three to four dozen plants out of the greenhouses each morning, for several days, leaving them outside for the entire day and then moving them back into the greenhouse overnight. I also took the bubble wrap off the little greenhouse.
Yesterday was ‘D’ day – or should that be ‘P’ day?
First job was to look at my garden rotation plan to see where everything was going and then to place the plants, still in their pot, in what were to be their final positions. As it was incredibly hot yesterday, I intended to leave the actual planting out until the evening when it would be cooler and therefore kinder to the plants and myself (I don’t handle the heat very well).
By lunchtime I had placed 30 sweet corn, 3 Cheyenne Bush pumpkin, 1 Hunter Butternut squash, 3 Hokkaido winter squash; 3 Galeuse D’Eysines Winter squash, 1 Big Max pumpkin and 3 Cherokee Trail of Tears pole beans in their positions, ready for planting out. To see how they would manage outside, I had also decided to to grow 2 of my cucumber seedlings up and along the post and rail fence which has been infilled with chicken wire, making it an ideal position for climbing plants and so these seedlings were also placed in their final positions in their pots.
After tea and with the help of Middle Mudlet, all the seedlings, along with three Czar runner beans were planted out. The pole and runner beans have been planted by the back fence where I hope they will soon provide a lovely covering of green foliage and flowers and produce an abundance of beans, as they grow up and long the bamboo and wire supports that are permanently attached to the fence.
With 1 Hokkaido squash and the remaining 6 sweet corn due to be planted out in a few days (once the sweet corn have developed more height), I needed to make some more room. So I also took the cover off the last of the grow houses and ruthlessly pulled out the broccoli and cauliflower plants which weren’t doing anything but I have been left with three plants each with a tiny cauliflower growing in their centre, the largest of which is about 1.5 inches across – even Mud was impressed. I have covered these with a piece of enviromesh to keep the butterflies off and I really, really hope that we can raise them to a decent size.
I had hoped to get the mangetout wigwams in place and get these planted out, not to mention the supports for the rest of the runner beans which will be planted into one of the raised beds but time was against me and so these will be a job for today, along with:
- Sowing more runner, pole beans and mangetout;
- Sowing some flower seeds;
- Weeding the beds – again; and
- Potting on the tomatoes.
It looks set to be a scorcher of a day and so I may well be moving my seed sowing process to the garden table which at least offers the protection of the very faded umbrella and, as with yesterday, once I have erected the wigwams for the mangetout and beans, I may have to wait until this evening before I plant the seedlings out.