I detailed earlier in the year the experimental method I was trying with my tomatoes and peppers. While the peppers don’t seem to have liked it so much, the tomatoes are having a field day with it!
Many years ago I was helping a local lady in her house and couldn’t help noticing her tomato plants. They were heavily laden with beautiful, fat tomatoes, but the rest of the plants were cut back to the quick almost, with a wee sprouting of leaves at the top and a single stem to support them. I had to ask her about them as I’d just started trying to grow my own tomatoes. She explained to me that the leaves and the side shoots steal growing energy from the fruit, so it’s important to prune them off if you want to get plentiful fruit. She also explained that you need to start pruning once the second truss of flowers appears. I applied it to my own tomatoes and we got a magnificent crop, so I’ve followed her advice every year since.
Today was the first day of pruning for the year, and it always makes me feel like I’m being utterly savage with my poor wee plants.
We also fed them for the first time today to make up for the savaging. It’ll need doing every two weeks until they are done flowering. I’m going to soak the clippings to turn them into plant food, which is also a bit savage, but it will return the goodness the side shoots and leaves stole from the baby tomatoes.
The sun has dared to shine two days in a row, thus drawing me out to put my baby veggies into their beds.
All the glass corn in a row. A rogue slug has nibbled on one of the smaller ones. Must get crushed shells down to deter them!
All the french beans and lettuces now out. The lettuces needed a bit more breathing space.
It was too bright to see the screen on my phone, but it looks like I managed to get a pic of the carrots in their bath.
These are the winter broccoli. Just like the carrots I’ve cut slits in weed guard to plant them into. Hopefully this means minimal weeding! The broccoli are still in their original pots, I’ve just cut the bottom off to minimise root disturbance and maximise root depth.
This stuff will be ready by September.
Tomatoes also planted with their original pots. Again deeper roots, but also better moisture retention.
Chilli peppers in double pots for root depth. Still a few to be potted up. Iain found another stash of deep pots today while garden tidying.
Everything is watered and in it’s oroper place now. Lots of zero food miles, organic, homegrown veg just waiting for summer! Fingers crossed.
Been busy out in the garden today, indulging in some typically eccentric gardening practices. It’s certainly been the day for it.
We have a burgeoning food philosophy of our own at this little Crow House. It’s basically about eating low (or preferably no) harm foods. By harm, I mean foods that cause harm in their production. So, while this means I eat a mostly* vegan diet, the focus is broader than just harm done to animals. I like to minimise the environmental impact of the foods I choose for us to eat and I like to minimise on other aspects of harm like buying Fair Trade foods and boycotting Israeli produce. As far as I can I only buy fresh food grown in Western Europe because of the carbon footprint.
Anyway, a huge part of achieving these goals lies in what we grow in our garden. Today, after planting lettuces and french beans, potting up loads of chillies, weeding and tidying all our various deep beds in preparation for some planting and generally getting my hands dirty making food for the summer, autumn and winter, I decided to document the progress so far this year.
First stop on the tour of eccentric garden practices is the upcycled shelving deep bed complete with perching cold frame. We had to put the cold frame in as the Glass Corn in this wee section is taller than the deep bed frame and still vulnerable to the throes of Galloway’s spring weather.
The Glass Corn is planted straight into grow bags to save on weeding. Once we think the frosts are by, the cold frame will be moved and there should be plenty of sun in this spot for the corn!
Behind the corn, I’ve put in a grow bag of lettuces and one of French beans. Later I’ll put in another bag of each.
This is our bio-mass pellet boiler. It does the central heating and hot water. Just another wee facet of the harm reduction philosophy. It was kindly fitted by our very local housing trust when we asked for it.
Here you can see a little more evidence of eccentric practice. We’ve kept as many baby plants as possible in their original pots and simply cut the bottoms off. This deepens the root space and disturbs their wee roots much less.
Still got more little babies in our conservatory, so lots more still to plant!
Now I might actually remember next year what worked this year!
* I use local free range eggs in some baking and support local honey makers because bees!