• Kay

Distracted by Sweet Peas


I was outside quite early but quickly became engrossed with tying up sweet peas around the fruit cage. I am holding my breath with these sweet peas, so far they are looking good, which is a massive relief considering the work that went into planting them. They look healthy and quite a few are flowering and there are some beautiful varieties. I think they appreciated the compost filled trench they were planted into, I think they also like the netting of the cage behind them for support and they've definitely enjoyed the rain. They are the best 'outdoor' sweet peas I've ever managed to grow, so now I just need to keep them going. I've been meaning to tie in any stems that need support, for some time, but it is a fiddly job. In the end I'm there for nearly two hours, whilst doing this job I also take out any obvious large weeds from the beds surrounding the fruit cage. A constant dilemma I face is correctly prioritising jobs... it is so tempting to start weeding or tidying up where I'm working but there is almost always something more important to do and I have to stop myself from being distracted. Some weeding does become essential like around the young onions or the buried celery and celeriac, but most of it can wait.

Before I started tidying the sweet peas I had extricated two root containers of dwarf French beans from the middle of the tomato bed that needed planting out, by the time I returned, they had started to droop, probably because they had partly rooted themselves in the polytunnel bed and I had upset their roots, so I hurried to plant them around the edge of the Borlotti Bean bed, using up the spare space. It is unbelievable that even with 56 raised beds I sometimes struggle to find room for everything!

I then return to the polytunnel to water it, and realise that the tomato plants have grown so much that they need tying up as well - when you water them they fall over! This takes almost half an hour - you can spend all day watering, dead-heading and tying thing up if you are not careful!

I then retrieve a root trainer of Edamame beans and a root trainer of soya beans - are they the same plant but different varieties - yes, the Edamame beans are a type of soya bean. I plant them round my bamboo cane 'pop-up tents' although I'm not sure they will need support. I then planted the purple Kohl Rabi - a wonderful plant that is so curious looking, it looks like an alien landed from another planet! Again, these were squeezed into a spare corner at the end of the broccoli and Chinese cabbage bed.

Whilst in the brassica area I notice a very persistent pair of cabbage white butterflies who very annoyingly do not seem fooled by my plastic decoy butterflies. This might be because the day is very still and my plastic butterflies threaded on fishing line across the beds are motionless. It was such a lovely idea to think that I might succeed in deterring Cabbage Whites with my little plastic butterflies and I'm very disappointed to think it hasn't worked. In fairness, I think it has been partially successful because I think it has reduced Cabbage White activity. I will now have to use the best organic gardeners weapon - my eyes - to keep a look out for eggs and caterpillars.

I finish the day before departing for two rehearsals, St Mary's Youth Choir followed by Trinity Orchestra, by starting to weed the lettuce beds in preparation for planting out the new lettuces.

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