Life on The Weald (and in isolation) - May 2020
|Rainbow chard - 1 May|
|Silver leaf chard - 1 May|
May Day on the allotment was a time for gathering chard and the following day, to amuse myself in isolation, attempting to create a collage and, with a pack of puff pastry and some cheese, some mini chard pies, roughly using the recipe for Spanokopita
|Chard and cheese puffs|
The first early Duke of York potatoes were beginning to show signs of flowering.
|First early Duke of York potatoes - 4 May|
|Duke of York, beginning to flower - 4 May|
May Day (Friday) had been cloudy with a maximum temperature around 14C falling to 12C over the weekend but feeling much colder due to the wind. The first full week was sunny, however, with the temperature rising to 17C and a high of 22C on Saturday 9 May. But it was not to last as rain came on Sunday 10 May with temperatures falling dramatically by 10 degrees with strong winds.
I had grown some butternut squash plants indoors and had put them out in the garden to harden off but, even in the warm temperatures, they had taken a battering from the wind although they had been covered with a cloche overnight. On Sunday 10 May I decided it was time to bring them back indoors - I doubt whether they would have survived outside and it remains to be seen whether they will recover indoors.
I acquired a yellow courgette and a Crown Prince squash from a neighbour on the allotment and although they looked OK in the sunshine on Saturday, I also brought them indoors on Sunday.
It was a bit breezy on Monday 11 with a high temperature of only 11C but it felt much colder, so I spent time indoors potting up seedlings that had been sown in seed trays in March and April. These included a number of chillies which had been sown from seed acquired at Seedy Sunday in February. Some of them are extremely powerful on the Scoville Scale (see my blog February 2020)
We had our first picking of broad beans on 4 May - I picked about a kilo which yielded about 250g of beans. They were beautiful but the pods had not filled out as well as I had hoped. I put that down to a lack of water at the crucial time in April, but there are many more to come both from the November sowings and the later January/March sown crop.
|Broad beans picked 6 May|
|Irises by the pond|
|Water irises about to flower|
|Roots of pot-bound Moroccan mint|
|a friendly slow worm|
|Early showing of gooseberries|
|Gooseberries - 11 May|
|Celery 11 May|
There was a good showing of plums that had set on the trees at the back of the plot but very little sign of fruit on the other ones.
|Plums - 13 May|
Whilst clearing weeds from the potential brassica patch, I acquired a new friend!
|My new friend|
|Looking for worms?|
Having cleared a suitable area, I took a risk and planted out some kale, cavolo nero and kalettes
|Kalettes 13 May|
With the weather forecast predicting temperatures approaching 20C for Sunday 17 May, I planted out some butternut squashes but hope it was not a mistake as the temperature didn't get above 15C and there was a cool wind. I did provide a bit of protection with improvised cloches made from plastic bottles for both the squashes and the kalettes and kale so hope they will survive.
|improvised cloches for kale and kalettes|
The week beginning 18 May saw continuing sunshine and no rain, so watering the newly planted vegetables was important. The kalettes, cavolo nero and kale planted the previous week were doing well so this prompted me to plant out the first of the runner beans which I had grown in pots at home.
|First Prizewinner runner beans planted|
And the good news..........at last the Borlotto climbing beans sown some weeks ago have not been eaten by rodents, and they have germinated and are beginning to break the surface.
|19 May The first sign of Borlotto beans - Firetongue (Lingua di Fuoco)|
|Rapidly constructed wigwam for runner beans -22 May|
Having cleared the area around the pond, it was time to plant something. I had sown some wild flower seeds earlier and hopefully some will germinate, but I have added some aromatic mints - pineapple and grapefruit - and planted out some English Mace (sweet yarrow or sweet-nancy)
|planting out around the pond|
At Christmas, my son Toby and his wife Jane had given me some bean seeds that they had harvested from their crop last year - they were black and white, Ying-Yang - I checked with them that they were not a climbing variety, as I had run out of space for any more frames, and reassured that they were a dwarf variety I sowed some in pots at home.