Vision Of Things To Come ~ Thursday’s Special

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The endless envisioning of how plants will grow and crop is what keeps us gardeners gardening. In the face of failure we regroup, and start again – perhaps a different variety is required, or more careful cultivation techniques; maybe weather conditions were against us, so prompting us to think how we might come up with new strategies to reduce the worst effects if the same thing happens next year.

So it becomes an on-going pursuit of forward thinking, learning, re-learning and visualizing. I find it also helps to try and see things from the plant’s point of view. If I were it, am I getting everything I need: food, appropriate levels of moisture, protection from extremes (which among others can include ravages by aphids, pigeons, drought and tempest). With climate change we may have to rethink entirely the kinds of fruit and vegetables we grow.

This year I am probably growing too many sweet corn plants. I thought the first lot of seedlings were set to fail after being assaulted by several days’ torrential rain while I was away. Just in case, I sowed more seed. But then the shredded little efforts rallied, and the second sowing burgeoned, so now I have about three dozen plants on the go.  They are greedy crops too, and also need lots of watering, which is hard work up at the allotment where cans have to be filled and hauled from the water tank. The site is also very exposed, and its heavy soil prone to turning to concrete at the slightest hint of a drought.

To cope with this I have adopted two different approaches. The later batch of plants has been planted out in a bed of deep litter from a dismantled compost heap. Hopefully this will both shelter and feed the plants as they get going and stop them drying out or needing quite so much watering.

The earlier batch I set out in a plot where I have overwintered trefoil and fenugreek still growing. I sowed these plants at the end of last summer as a green manure, and had meant to dig them in this spring. Then I had a much better idea, one that relieved me of much digging. When it came to plant out the sweet corn, I simply popped the seedlings in amongst the green manure plants.

There are all sorts of advantages to this. The fenugreek and trefoil are nitrogen fixing so should nurture the sweet corn. They also act as weed suppressants as well as providing shade and shelter to the developing plants.

So far this seems to be working quite well. I’m also trimming back the trefoil and fenugreek as the corn grows, so acquiring a crop of green stuff for the compost heap and to use as mulch around the beans, which also like to keep their roots cool and moist.

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So now my vision is of summer’s end and lots of juicy golden cobs – perhaps enough for us and all my allotment neighbours. We’ll see…

 

Thursday’s Special: vision

51 thoughts on “Vision Of Things To Come ~ Thursday’s Special

    1. I’m sure you are not at all lacking on the vision front, Meg. Actually people in the UK may well need to learn garden vision pretty fast, those who have places to plant. The news is that even before Brexit gets us in its grip, the big growers are struggling to get enough migrant workers – on whom they have long depended in the harvest season. They are thus thinking of decamping to South Africa and Europe so we’ll have to import food stuffs we took for granted. All so unnecessary.

  1. Tish your still life photo is just gorgeous. I love sweetcorn and the shot had my mouth watering. I hope your crop comes to fruition and there are plenty of cobs to go around … lovely on the bbq with a tangy asian dressing and some grilled fish.

      1. You’re welcome. I’ve got the perfect dressing recipe that I’m going to post in the next day or so. Shamelessly lifted from an Australian Masterchef contestant!

  2. Beautiful pictures and write up Tish, do you also plant tomatoes? If you do, do you sow basil under the plants? Did you know that Basil gases off, and encourages ripening of tomatoes as well as fends off aphids? We always under planted tomatoes with basil, and a several years we planted a couple without and indeed the tomatoes did not ripen nearly as nice as the ones planted with under sowing of basil. Just curious. 🙂 Wish I was close enough to run over and look at your allotment. In my dreams ! LOL

    1. Hi Mitchell. I do have tomatoes in my polytunnel, and I’ve just planted out a few basil plantlets in there. But your advice is spurring me on to get some more going asap. Fascinating stuff this companion planting. I’d rather forgotten about it, so thanks for the reminder 🙂

      1. I am glad, we found that we could often direct sow the basil also around the plants, if we got it going when the plants went into the ground. I happened to think after I wrote yesterday, that we also would break out the lower leaves of the tomato plant to allow sun to get to the ground and basil below as we staked and they grew. Carrots do love tomatoes, a good under planting as well, however here in Virginia we never had good luck with carrots (anywhere we planted them)

  3. Your garden is an inspiration. Right now in Oz I’m growing bonsai vegies! Miniature spinach that feeds the snails nightly is my latest specialty. I’m thinking I’ll dig it up and try it in a pot on my verandah for the winter months.
    I love using fenugreek but haven’t been able to buy it in the local supermarket for a while. I must try and find some seeds. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. haha… your comment made me laugh Suzanne! I seem to have the same problem. I sprayed my hosta plant with a garlic spray (supposed to be a turn-off for snails) and I swear they just licked their lips and said, yummy! Hosta in garlic sauce for dinner…

      1. So very true. I am busy compiling a list of plants that are S&S resistant. Other than herbs I am not sure any veggie is safe from them!

      2. Mine are still dithering in their pots, as I can’t make up my mind where best to plant them protection-wise. Have to cover them against wretched allium beetle, but then if it’s already in the soil…

      3. Oh I didn’t know about that beetle. I don’t think we have it over here. Can you do some companion planting to repel it? Garlic? Marigolds?

      4. It’s imported from somewhere and nothing seems to repel it, only protecting plants with fine mesh in April and Oct. But if becomes endemic, as things tend to at the allotment, then it’s going to be in the soil anyway. Last year I grew some v.good onions and a few leeks in my polytunnel, so may put some leeks in there, though it gets a bit hot for them.

      5. These pests that come from elsewhere are a real problem. I was amazed to learn the Australian eucalypts that I love so much are a real problem in parts of southern Europe. The same can be said for English bunny rabbits. Over here they are a plague.
        It is hard to work out where various vegetables grow best. Part of the fun I guess – there’s always more to learn. 🙂

      6. Globe artichokes. Broad beans. Also my peas have been remarkably unscathed. Even the pigeons have been fended off. Beetroots, chard and perennial spinach seem to get by too, though the SS squad like yellow beet seedlings, and they’re best started off in pots.

      7. Only two of my broad beans emerged, I guess they are better started off in strays? My dwarf beans, which I did start off in pots, got chomped the moment I put them in the ground, but I have grown more and left them until they were bigger before planting out. I may get the hang of this eventually! Radishes seem to survive!!

      1. Yep. I potted up the spinach and moved it to a warm window sill today. It looks happier already.

  4. Must have been hard work in the heatwave! But the vision of fresh sweetcorn is bliss! Dripping with butter and dipped in salt – yummy! Must try the fenugreek and trefoil planting, hopefully it will keep off the neighbour’s cats too. And as an expert allotmenteer, what do you know about goosberries?

    1. They are not my favourite fruit so I only have one little bush, and I notice it has shed its fruit in the heatwave. But they do need to be pruned in the autumn/winter to create an open aspect for the branches – no crossing stems etc. They like full sun and a good mulch too. Sulphate of potash in spring for all fruit bearing plants. Taking my Percy hat off now 🙂

      1. Mmmm… that might be too much work. Still I shall consider them. I quite fancy the Cape Gooseberry (sweeter) and there is a red one too.

  5. Tish I shall need a nap reading of the hauling of water. Between your landscaping and gardening should I need a car lifted I shall be sure to call on you! Ido love fresh corn. Let me know when its harvest time I will drop by to help. 🙂

  6. I love the first image, Tish! It’s wonderful to have veggie garden. Water hauling is a lot of work…I used to have a veggie garden and had fun. We use our kitchen water for flower beds. 🙂
    Beautiful post!

  7. It’s like Percy Thrower’s corner round here, Tish! I feel I should be taking notes rather than drooling over thoughts of barbequed sweetcorn and gooseberry crumble. Thanks for the tips and the beautiful images. 🙂 🙂

    1. You’re the second person lately to say my blog post made them drool, Jo. But as long as no one’s planning to eat me, I guess it’s all right. I think a Percy Thrower corner’s a great idea, and especially if it prompts recipes like Su’s. Must look out for her post. Happy weekend to you both.

  8. You humble my paltry … and frustrating efforts to grow stuff and I have so many things on my side.
    You are the Wellington-Booted Wonderwoman of (Much) Wenlock.

    And thanks to you, I am weeding less!

    I shall be having a serious talk with my chillis tomorrow and anything else I find cowering in the veggie patch. I may even show them photos!

    🙂

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