Posted by: Ealing Transition Community Garden | June 6, 2010

Another day in the sunshine…

Alas no photos this week as we were without photographer 😦

It seems like summer has arrived – for how long, who knows – but for the time being we are taking advantage.  As are all the weeds.  You turn your back and thistles literally spring up.  The bindweed doesn’t need much encouragement either – every single little piece of root that we didn’t manage to get out when we dug over the soil is a strangling, smothering plant just waiting to burst into life. And of course it is impossible to get every single piece out, so we just need to catch them as they start poking their noses out of the ground and dig them up – making sure to get all the roots.

Under the blazing heat, we had a productive morning.

I decided that it was time for the huge pile of weeds and overgrowth that Grant had cut down a few weeks ago now, which were now nicely dried, to go. So it was time for a bonfire. Which, I have to say, was hot work in the heat of the day. But you really can’t beat a good bonfire.

Elsewhere, Glendra planted some sweetcorn in the far, newly dug bed.  The aim is to have some beans growing up the corn, with some squash in between. The rest of that bed will probably be used for tomatoes, as it seems that we are to have a plentiful supply of tomatoes.

The slugs have had an absolute field day on the brocolli in the main bed and completely decimated them. We have now laid some organic slug bait, and hopefully they can recover. The brocolli in the little patch beside the patio were protected with some slug bait and they seem to be doing well.

Kathy and I shared a radish – the first of the crop, but there’s several more not far off. And Kathy discovered that the rocket that was interplanted amongst the broad beans is doing quite well. Katherine’s midweek soapy spray of the broad beans seems to have got rid of the infestation of black fly, but they still don’t seem be setting fruit despite being covered in flowers.

Speaking of fruit, we have strawberries starting to form (including a few alpine strawberries that have already been eaten), the raspberries are setting fruit and there are gooseberries and currents waiting to ripen.

We dug in half of the green manure, which is just on the verge of flowering. The idea with the green manure was to have something growing in a bed that we didn’t need for a while, keeping the weeds down, and providing some nutrients to the soil when it is dug back in.  And it seems to have worked pretty well. But now it is time to make some space for tomatoes. We’ve left half of the bed in for a little while longer in the hope that it flowers and attracts some more bees that we need for fertilisation.

The potatoes seem to be doing well – they got another mounding up of soil around them to encourage more potatoes and prevent the ones near the surface from going green and unpalatable.  Another month and they will be ready to come and out and be replaced with asian greens.

On the neighbour front, plot no. 2 has had some activity on it – the totally overgrown grass has been strimmed, and one of the beds that was dug out in about February has been turned over and it seems some broad beans have been planted. It’s been strange and frustrating from our point of view because they planted a pear and apple tree in about March, and since then there has been nothing done, and the plot has become completely overgrown. So the question is, was it the original plot-holders, who have been ‘encouraged’ to come and tidy up the plot by the council, or has Grant finally got a plot after being on a waiting list for so long? Next door on the other side at plot no. 5, there have been things pushing up the black plastic that is covering the plot to keep weeds at bay because no one is using it.  A couple of weeks ago I had a peek and thought they looked a bit like potatoes (albeit without many leaves because of the lack of sunlight). So I pulled back the plastic to expose a few of them to the sunlight, and sure enough a couple of weeks later they certainly look like potatoes. So we have pulled back the rest of the plastic to let the remaining 10-ish potato plants see some light – so we might get a few more potatoes than we had bargained on!

Join us next week on Sunday (yes Sunday – after a confusing double week of Saturdays due to 5 weekends in May) for some more fun in the sun, planting, chatter, no doubt some weeding, and some sitting on the patio admiring the fruits of our labours.

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