|Mr and Mrs Mallard are in the house.|
Thanks to our fairy-fed mother, Lynn (the local rep for the Federation of City Farms and Community Growers), who arrived with some beans from Poland (no Pole-bean jokes please!). These heritage beans apparently should be grown up something recycled for a project, so what could be more "recycled" than our lovely bicycle-wheel trellis?
|Trellis ready for beans.|
|One of the beans goes in. We'll keep you posted as to how |
well they grow.
The volunteers for today - Ash, Rowan, Chris and Tracey were delighted to welcome back old friend of the project, Matt Hilton, who cycled in, got his gloves on and got going.
Matt did a particularly good job of removing ant's nests from the polytunnel. We often just let ants get on with it, but as 3 groups had taken up residence, and were happily farming aphids on all our crops, we couldn't let them stay. If you didn't know, ants use aphids as a source of "honey dew", a nice phrase for what is essentially aphid wee. This sticky stuff is full of sugars, which the ants collect and take back to the nest for food. Getting rid of ants should help reduce aphids, as ants literally farm them - moving them around plants. We dug out the breeding chambers, and placed the eggs and ants in a part of the garden where they won't be a problem.
|Matt gets to grips with the ants.|
The rest of the group did lots of needed jobs outside - mowing the lawn, watering newly planted crops and finishing tidying up the last of the wood we cut this year.
|Ash watering with perfect colour-coordination!|
We also planted some more squash, the last of the baby corn (i.e. the ones that grow into little stir-fry corn cobs), and Chris, Matt and Tracey managed to do the first lot of planting in the polytunnel. We've now got a nice selection of tomatoes, some cucumbers, mouse melons (also known as thimble cucumbers, melothrie and cucamelons), galia melons and basil. The place is looking good!
|Chris experiences Gardener's Delight...|
|Cucumbers, melons and tomatoes. No ants...|
|Tomato ring-culture section|
Here's another little trick that's worth trying. With cut and come again lettuce, we are told to cut the outside leaves off the plant, and leave the middle. The only problem with that is that the stem gets long and leggy after a bit. We have a slightly different take on cut and come again.
|Lettuce harvested last week has already started to regrow.|
We know the outer leaves of lettuce are often a bit tough and get discarded, so we cut off the lettuce just above these. This leaves the middle of the lettuce looking rather bald, but it has lots of roots in the ground, so it soon sprouts new leaves from the sides. These grow quickly, so you can keep harvesting for quite a while from the same plant.
|2 weeks of growth.|