Mighty Mangetout

Mangetout still flowering in December
Mangetout still flowering in December

How can my mangetout still be flowering a few days before Christmas? Is it just not cold enough?

Like last year, approaching the end of 2014 we’ve had a few frosts and some low night temperatures but no snow and no truly icy weather. And with that comparative mildness this single Oregon Sugar Pod mangetout is still flowering and producing pods. It was sowed in April, so has enjoyed a long season.

Oregon Sugar Pod mangetout
Oregon Sugar Pod mangetout

In neighbouring beds I have over-wintering onions and garlic, both of which appear to have rooted well and are topped by strong green shoots. The garlic has been sheltered by a couple of sowings of green manure.  Although it really doesn’t need any weather protection, the mustard manure plants do help hide the shoots from birds, who have an awful habit of ripping them up.

Germidor garlic over-wintering
Germidour garlic over-wintering

They’re big enough to survive avian attacks now though, so I’ll soon be chopping down the mustard plants and digging them into the soil to add a lovely boost of organic matter for next year’s crops to feed off.

At the same time I may well try digging up my shallots and moving them. I’d carelessly planted the bulbs next to some over-wintering Douce de Provence peas. Only later did I realise that peas and alliums make awful bedfellows, being one of the definite no-nos of companion planting.  No wonder the peas have grown poorly, with just a few small plants showing through.

Pea plants top left, not faring well with shallots nearby
Pea plants top left, not faring well with shallots nearby

If the shallots don’t survive being moved I won’t mind too much; I’d rather succeed with the peas. Come the spring I’ll be trying to grow some lovely-looking German purple-podded marrowfat peas called Blauwschokker.  Yum!

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