Troublesome temperatures

Hey, the Weather.. you know you’re not making yourself any friends here.

With dire warnings of the invasion of the monster slugs this summer, a week ago I applied slug nematodes and general anti-pest fruit and veg nematodes to the beds and borders, before the mixtures went past their use-by dates.

A nice top dressing of hailstones
A nice top dressing of hailstones

One often overlooked requirement of nematodes is that the soil mustn’t be too cold. Unfortunately the last seven days have been bracing to put it mildly, including sleet and hail. That’s probably killed the nematodes off, so I’ll have to buy more and do it all again once things warm up a little.

The pesky low temperatures also account for the rare sight of two completely empty mini greenhouses. They’re new, replacing a couple of tatty ones, and are safely tied to the south-facing back wall of the house. But until they warm up inside there’s an ever-expanding jungle of vegetable plants indoors.

Empty greenhouses and their new occupants waiting for contracts to be exchanged
Empty greenhouses and their new occupants waiting for contracts to be exchanged

I left an old thermometer in one of the plastic tents last night to get an idea of the temperature. The reading was 40 degrees centigrade. In my dreams ..

Sweet peppers and basil in one of the propagators
Sweet peppers and basil in one of the propagators
Chillis growing nicely in indoor sunlight
Chillis growing nicely in indoor sunlight

Empty greenhouses and beds alike seem to lull one into a false sense of having lots of space to play with. Which might explain why I’ve sown about fifty different things so far, with another eight or so still to go.

  • Basil (4 varieties): Siam Queen, Crimson King, Italian Clasico, British Outdoors
  • Beetroot (2): Boltardy, Cylindra
  • Broad beans (1): Sutton
  • Broccoli Raab (1): 60 Day
  • Calabrese (1): Autumn Spear
  • Carrots (3): Nantes 5, Rainbow, Sugarsnax
  • Chamomile (1): err.. Chamomile
  • Chard (1): Rhubarb Vulcan
  • Chillis (5): Early Jalapeño, Maya Pimento, Peach Bhut, Pink Tiger, Yucatan White Habanero
  • Climbing beans (1): Yard-long Red Noodle
  • Coriander (1): Calypso
  • Courgette (3): Firenze, Romanesco, Tuscany
  • Cucumber (1): Marketmore
  • Dill (1): Dill
  • Dwarf Bean (3): Purple Teepee, Bobis D’Albenga, Tendercrop
  • Fennel (1): Fennel
  • French Marigold (1): Golden Embers
  • Kale (1): Scarlet
  • Lemongrass (1): Lemongrass
  • Lettuce (4):  Rosedale, Mazur, Little Gem, Bright & Spicy Mix
  • Mangetout (1): Oregon Sugar Pod
  • Mint (1): Spearmint
  • Pak Choi (1): White F1 Hybrid
  • Parsley (1): Moss Curled 2
  • Parsnip (1): Tender & True
  • Peas (1): Kelvedon Wonder
  • Perpetual Spinach (1): Beet
  • Pickling Onion (1): Paris Silverskin
  • Potatoes (2): Rocket, Maris Piper
  • Radish (1): Violet de Gournay
  • Spring Onion (2): Shimonita, White Lisbon
  • Sweet Peppers (2): Montana, Thor F1 Hybrid
  • Tomatoes (4): Principe Borghese, Tigerella, Red Cherry, Tomatoberry
  • Turnip (1): Petrowski
  • Wild garlic (1): Wild Garlic

That’s as well as the overwintered garlic, onions, herbs and various established fruit bushes and plants.

And this was the year when I was going to concentrate on growing just a few things but in quantity. My planning spreadsheet is so convoluted that Excel is begging to be used for some nice simple quantum mechanics as a nice break.

Rampant Rhubarb
Rampant Rhubarb

Outside, the few spells of sunshine in recent weeks have really brought the rhubarb to life. I don’t know the variety of this one but have just planted alongside it a crown of the deliciously named Pink Champagne. I’ll drink to that 🙂


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