Yesterday morning, I rather hastily rattled off a blog post bemoaning the English weather (especially the Peak District weather) and the fact that my planned weekend of planting out was waylaid by damp weather.
However, in typically British style, the weather perked up and I was able to get into the garden and start planting out the very first vegetables of the London Vegetable Garden this year! I had been especially keen to get this job done this weekend, since we are supposed to have some very warm weather this week – surely a perfect time to get vegetable plants outside and settled down into the outdoor climes.
The first job I needed to tackle ('tackle' being the operative word) was weeding the vegetable patch. As noted in previous blog posts, I only have a space about 4' x 5' in which to plant my vegetables directly into the soil: the rest of the plants need to be creatively distributed in pots, grow-bags and containers. Anyway, I set to work weeding, as illustrated by a before and after set:
With the ground prepared, I then proceeded to set up my cane supports for the runner beans. Initially, I had planned to place the runner beans along the right-hand-side of the plot; but realised that this would block a lot of the sunlight to the left of the vegetable patch. And this position does not get a great deal of sunlight as it is.
As noted in previous blog posts, I have conducted staggered seed planting this year, so the purpose of the day was to get a couple of the early vegetable plants planted out and then to see how they fare. If all is a disaster due to weather or pests, I have a reserve army of runner bean plants ready and waiting!
I dug a good hole around each cane support and mixed in some of my Miracle-Gro enriched compost. This compost has a lot of nutrients and plant food contained within it and considering the stony, dry nature of the soil I was planting into, I wanted to give my runner beans a bit of nourishment as I planted them out – hopefully this will help them to settle into their new surroundings.
Following this, I also planted out a few of my courgette plants. My early courgette plants have really started growing at quite a speed this week, helped in no small part by the warm temperature of the mini greenhouse. Their size meant that it was now time to get them into the ground and onto the next stage of their lives.
I feel that I could have planted the courgette plants a little more spaced out, but space is a premium and the plants are still relatively small. We'll see how they get on growing over the next few weeks. Needless to say, if all of them flourish and they actually do need more space, then we can simply sacrifice one of the plants to accommodate that.
So there we have it – the first veritable 'plants' of this year's London Vegetable Garden project! It's always a worrying time for the gardener: will the plants take in their new soil? How many problems will birds and slugs cause me? Will excessive rain or a sudden heatwave damage the plants? Who knows. But for now, we are out of the house and into the garden.
Onwards and upwards!
I also planted some peas this weekend, using a sack, some canes and only 2 feet of patio space. Next week I'll be showing you all how you can grow peas on a tiny balcony or on your city patio. Remember to bookmark the London Vegetable Garden, or get alerted to brand new articles by following me on Twitter @londonveggarden or by liking us on Facebook.