May II: the garden in mid-May…

The garden is now in its ninth week of unusually dry weather. A couple of sharp showers gave the occasional decorative touch, but watering has been necessary for five weeks now.

Most vegetables are performing well, but the onions are not. Whether it is disease, drought-caused or otherwise, is unclear. It is the first potential failure of the season.

The chard is about to finish and has been less abundant than in wetter springs.

However, as the feature image shows, the potatoes have all progressed rapidly and the first earthing up has taken place. The warm weather has meant regular watering of the  first earlies grown in pots, with half a gallon per pot given on hot days.

 The carrots sown on 31st March and April 9th have done well, with the latter currently having radish harvested from the rows:

The parsnip have also germinated well and are also ready for the radish sown at the same time to be harvested.

Lettuce are doing well and should start harvesting in the next 7-10 days:

Beetroot roots from the mid February Boltardy sowing are now visible and the April sowing has been transplanted after radish:

Spinach is being harvested along with turnip tops and spring onions, providing plenty of greens:

Broad beans are now 5-6 feet tall and the first pods are just setting. The potted plants for seeds have a few pods further on:

Peas are in the ground, but not yet really accelerating. Finally, asparagus harvest is in full steam ahead mode.

Comfrey is ready for its second cut:

In modules, cabbages are progressing well at 4 weeks and tree cabbage/perpetual spinach is healthy at two weeks:

Both leek sowings are doing well at 4 weeks and two weeks:

Finally both chard and May beetroot have germinated well.

Despite the late April cold, both apple trees have set fruit beautifully:

All in all, things could be a lot worse, especially as heavy rain is finally expected over the next 36 hours.

Author: Rhys

Rhys trained as a research biologist, working for a decade in the cancer research charity sector, before completing an MBA and working in management consultancy, technology transfer and early technology investment spaces, mostly working with UK academics to turn their scientific discoveries into value for society. AS a younger man, he was fascinated with mountains, both climbing them and ski-ing down them. Whilst living in Scotland, he completed a round of (then) all 277 Munros, the independent mountains over 3000ft originally complied as a list by Munro. He also spent his holidays representing the Ski Club of GB, as a Representative and Party Leader between 1990 and 1997. During that time, he found to his bemusement that he was able to predict, without understanding fully why, to a remarkable degree of accuracy, when good snow conditions would occur in the Alps, gaining an unworthy reputation for predictive genius in 1990 when predicting the evolution of the 1989/90 winter in Wengen, Switzerland for his CEO boss. He used this skill for the next seven years to ensure that he enjoyed powder snow pretty much every time he went ski-ing. An MD student he was training in Oxford also impressed his wife by taking Rhys' advice about when to take her to Italy in the mid 1990s! In recent years, Rhys has turned his mind toward how to grow prize tomatoes, winning several prizes in local and London shows and has, in the past 3 years, moved toward taking over a 50 square metre urban vegetable patch, which he has turned into a no-dig area since autumn 2014.

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