Posts Tagged ‘sweetcorn’

Wet and Damp – and some Fails

It has been very wet and damp these last weeks and now the sun is much lower during the day the garden does not get that much sun.  This means things will now be wet until the spring time and so I wonder how much more we will get out of the square foot garden until that time.

This weekend it has been different and not only sunny but hot too.  The garden is still soaked but I really did have to cut the grass before the lawn turned into a some wild forest.   Quite a challenge as the lawn mower no longer has any blades attached to it.  It is a cheap flymo rip off that we bought from B&Q a number of years ago for £10 or something silly and we have kept it outside ever since.  Probably not the recommended way to look after electric equipment and “don’t do this at home kids”.    As part of this the plastic blades get brittle from being outside and break all the time and currently we have not bought any more.   Amazingly, it does still cut grass even if it does no longer hover over the lawn.   On the wet long grass it was quite a job then to get it all cut, but cut it now is and all raked up.

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The square foot garden was in a bit of a sorry state and so today was chance to tidy it up a bit.  That cat is digging up as much as he can at the moment which was the end to some of our turnips the other week.    The turnips on the whole have not been a success.   Firstly the caterpillars stripped the leaves as quick as they could which was the end to many, while the others never really developed into much.   They all had roots but not as a turnip shape ball that you would want to eat, infact just the one was anything that looked like a turnip.   We did something a bit wrong here, off to look up what happened in my veg book.

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The sweetcorn I was not too surprised with our lack of result as they were planted very late.  Next year we will be much more organised and do it on time, I am thinking it this spot was still getting a lot of sun then we would have at least tiny baby corns.  As it is, we did have tiny baby corns but they were being eating by various insects and everything was extremely wet.   This was the first time ever for growing sweetcorn and we did not know what to expect at all, at least next year we will know a bit more and might even get to eat some of it ourselves.
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Not everything is bad though, our late peas have flowers and are podding and doing quite nice.  There probably won’t be a huge number of peas as we only did one square.  At this time of year it is clear now that these late plants could go in the majority of the free squares in order to get a good overall harvest especially peas which can be frozen once picked.      Doing well too are the late broad beans, despite the wind trying its best to keep knocking them down.   All broad bean plants are full of flowers and with hope might get to producing beans before the frosts come, these last couple of hot days will be a great help.

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The massive courgette plant is taking over the square feet, lots of leave but little else.   Courgettes come and go, mostly eaten by something or rotting before they get too big, probably too wet.   Keeping an eye on things each day and picking baby courgettes before this happens has given us a small harvest but nothing like last year when we had so many we ended up using courgettes in chocolate cake!

Winter onions are still there, some got dug up by the cat but the majority are hangining on.  We’ve never grown over wintering onions before and so I will be interested to see how they all cope with the winter and hope to have a good harvest.

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Sweetcorn tassels, red tomatoes and turnip seedlings

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The sweetcorn over the months has grown and grown and I was wondering if it was ever going to do anything but get taller each day  The other day I noticed tassles coming from the tops and gently knocking each corn I see small bits flying into the air which I suppose is the pollen, so I did that a bit with the hope that sweetcorn cobs may start to grow down inside the plant.   So far the sweetcorn has needed little attention.

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Meanwhile the tomatoes have started to turn red.  These have not been a deep red but quite pale and pastel in colour.  I picked one to eat this morning and it did taste very nice and so I can’t wait to all the others change colour and are ready for picking.   I notice no new flowers appearing and if I do I will pinch them off so that the plants can continue on the fruit on the bush at the moment and not any new ones which I don’t suppose would have time to all ripen if they were allowed to continue flowering.

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After a couple of days of rain and drizzle it was nice to see small parsnip seedlings appearing all over the place.  I did try to get just one or two seeds sown together each time but by the number of seedlings I clearly got a lot more in.    A came to take a look this morning and a cat had been and dug a load up which was rather disappointing.  Fortunately not much damage done, I managed to hopefully save the turnip seedlings that had been dug up and have since put something over the soil to stop the cat the next time.   This has been the first time a cat has damaged the beds.

Sweetcorn Planted Out

Sweetcorn planted out

These have been indoors in small pots up until the other week when I planted them out, four plants per square.  We have two square’s worth of normal sweetcorn and one of small sweetcorn.    We watch and wait now, we have never tried to grow sweetcorn before and so it will be interesting to see how we go.

Sweetcorn come out for the sun

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It is planned to have all these planted out this weekend and so all this week I have been getting them ready for it by putting them out for the day.  We have sweetcorn, a mixture of normal and mini ones, plus the pumpkins and courgettes.   I think it is four sweetcorn plants to a square, I will have to check.  One courgette for four squares and one square for the pumpkin if I plan to grown it vertically.  We shall see….

Seedlings in the Utility Room

Pumpins

From our cookery book for pumpkin tart we had four seeds to make a start (long term cooking!)   One seedling rotted due to over watering while another got knocked off the shelf by a bird (just don’t ask) which leaves two left.  Both doing well in the utility room.

Sweetcorn Seedlings

Sweetcorn is something I tried growing years and years ago with little success.  About 20 years later it is time for another go!   We have four normal sweetcorn and four small sweetcorn.   The four in the front are normal sweetcorn which was pre-sprouted, showing again that wile the pre-sprouting got them off quickly they didn’t keep going so fast.

Courgette

Courgettes here, only just planted and yet very big!

Sweetcorn planted in two different ways

Sweetcorn

Do not be alarmed, I know too well that it is cutting it a bit fine to start growing sweetcorn in mid May, that is partly why I have normal sweetcorn seed and seed for miniture sweetcorn too (like you get at the Chinese takeaway, lol!).   The little ones are quite happy to be started this late as they don’t have to grow that big, we will see how the big ones go.    I decided to start them off indoors and in two different ways.    I have seen the use of vermiculite on BBC Gardener’s World a number of a times for seedlings and thought I would try with the compost on one side (a mixture of compost and vermiculite) and vermiculite only on the right hand side.   For the vermiculite seeds I just put a sprinkling of them in the pot, put four sweetcorn seeds on top, and then put another small sprinkling on top of that.  I watered it until I could see the vermiculite had changed a darker colour.   This is all described in Mel’s book which I followed the instructions completly.

Just one week later and I am starting to see things happening, in the next 24 hours I would say we will have seedlings in both the compost and the vermiculite.   Possibly then both methods are as good as each other, although this is no scientific test.  The only advantage of the vermiculite route is that I have 100 litres of the stuff left over and it all needs using up!