Branching Out

We’ve reached maximum capacity in the poly tunnel and now that the weather has cleared we have started outside planting.

This involved a great deal of rotavating the soil and pulling out couch grass, thistles and nettles. We also had to move the courgettes across in order to rotavate and square off our patch. (In our haste to get them planted out of their tiny pots we hadn’t worried too much about their positioning.)
Once we had a square (ish) patch sorted we started dividing out our rows and paths with string and bamboos as per the plan so we could quickly get our salad leaves planted out in order to stick to our succession crop timetable.

string markers for rows on green cottage vegetables outside growing space
Outside rows all marked up ready for planting with Courgettes looking happy in their new position on the side.

Unfortunately the amazing weather we had at the beginning of May fooled us into thinking our freshly moved courgettes were safe at night. They were not. The last frost of the year killed every last one of the outside plants, flowers and all. We promptly planted up some fresh seeds in a tray in the poly in the hope they would catch up quickly enough for a good summer crop.

So with lettuce seeds in the ground outside, polytunnel plants growing steadily and courgette seeds germinating in the warm tunnel, we managed a quick break to Devon to celebrate my birthday. (Big thanks to Hugh and Alison for watering everything while we were gone!)

Upon our return 5 days later we were flabbergasted! The tunnel had gone berserk.

Our courgettes, just starting to flower when we left, were waist high with bushy leaves and bursting with budding fruits. Our Tomatoes had grown inches and sprouted flowers, the chillis and peppers were bushing out nicely, and our salad was bursting from its designated row to say hello to its neighbours. The purple sprouting broccoli had shot up to above the knee and the aubergines had doubled in both height and leaf count.

And that pesky couch grass? Well, the less said about the state of the weeds the better!

As I’m sure you can imagine we’ve been rather busy getting everything under control and harvesting our first crops, so I must apologise for the delay in blog posts. Don’t worry though, over the next few days I’m going to get you all up to date with everything here and there’ll be plenty more pictures too.

Check back soon for updates on our first crops, pollinating aubergine flowers, our giant anti-bird cage, alternative fertilisers and some top tips for pest control.

Cheers,
Pippa and Theo

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