Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Hardening off

 You can't be sure that the risk of frost is over yet, but you have to make your own decisions.  Space in the greenhouse or under cover is limited.  This is a Swiss Chard plant I sowed from seed one year ago.  It overwintered in the garden and has really come to life.  These can be perennial if you look after them. I had one in my last garden for a number of years, it just kept coming up.  Actually I prefer Swiss Chard to spinach.  The white ones tend to be bigger and healthier, but the other colours are beautiful too.
 I am gradually hardening off my cucumber, courgette and squash plants.  In a small courtyard garden where space is at a premium, my plan is to grow upwards!  Climbing plants can make the most of a South facing brick wall.  Climbing courgette Black Forest is one of m all time favourites.  Small Winter squash Uchiki Kuri can climb up a wall or up a sturdy tripod.  Cucumber Delizia will climb up a wall too.   I usually companion plant some climbing beans around them too.  Climbing bean Blauhilde is a 'good do-er' and provides great colour too.
 I grew these Joe's Long cayenne chilli from seed.  Really prolific, producing lots of long chillis, usually around 9" long on a large plant which is about 4 foot tall.  They do need an early start as they are slow growers.  I planted these back in February and have them under a growlight indoors.  Gradually hardening off outside on mild days, the movement of the gentle breeze outside develops stronger stems.  Plants grown indoors on a windowsill will get spindly and soft if you don't keep them moving.
 Morello cherries can grow almost anywhere,even against a North facing wall.  So to make best use of my small space, I planted this against the house which is a West facing wall.  Looks like it has set well and little cherries are beginning to appear.  Brick walls can be dry so I am making sure it is well watered as the fruit grows.
So against my East facing shed wall I have my soft fruit.  Rhubarb, raspberries and a Tayberry can do without full sun all the time, so as long as I keep this bit well watered and fed it is doing well.  Daisy is becoming interested in the bees which are pollinating the flowers. Watch out or you will get stung Daisy!


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Goodness you are on top of everything - you are making us look bad! So glad all is growing and Daisy looks so beautiful as always xx


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