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Grow It Yourself – May


May came in with a ground frost which killed the nasturtiums but not my runner beans, which are still alive and kicking in the veg plot!

May 3rd saw the first TTL Growers’ Market of the year.  It came with a cold start, which freaked out the poor tomato plants, but plenty of sun to bring out the shoppers!  The plants all recovered and we sold a lot. It was lovely to meet so many people and encourage them on their horticultural journey.  A big thank you to all who helped on Saturday.

Don’t worry if you missed it; we will be at the Food and Garden Festival on May 17th, somewhere in the town centre, and there will be more tomatoes, courgette, chilli and pepper plants, to name a few.  They will probably be more expensive than yesterday because they will have been potted on into bigger pots by then.

It’s still too early to put tender plants like peppers and tomatoes outside unless in a very sheltered spot but it won’t be long before you can.  I think it’s fine to plant out beans and leeks now, provided you have hardened them off first by leaving them outside in their pots for at least 3 days beforehand.  I have just planted my leeks out and there are lots of spares which I’ll bring to the food festival.  If you want them this week please let us know…

The main clue as to when plants need potting on into a bigger pot is when the roots start coming out below. The rule of thumb for tomato plants is to pot one size up, but that’s only a guide. In other words don’t go from a 3″ pot to an 8″ pot in one go.

If you are growing runner beans or climbing French beans, get your support frame up now and add compost to the soil, if you haven’t already done so.  Dangling a few old cd’s will scare off the birds.  Blue tits are notorious for eating the flower buds off runner beans!  Black fly might be a problem later when the beans have set so you could then remove the cd’s to allow the birds a chance to eat the blackfly.  It’s a fine balance!  Last year I discovered quite by chance that the blackfly prefer to settle on nearby yellow umbelliferous flowers such as the stray parsnip which was magnificent as a flowering plant even though the roots are rubbish in my ground.  I will always grow a few from now on, just for the flowers.

Keep sowing a few lettuce and carrots every couple of weeks to keep a succession of plants at different stages.  Remember that lettuce like light and carrots need protecting from fly by either sowing them in a pot and putting it 2 feet above the ground – this is above fly radar height.  Alternatively, cover carrots with a poly tunnel.  Planting garlic next to carrots them confuses the flies too.

Happy gardening and see you at Growers’ Market with your surplus produce!

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