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May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

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May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

Post  plantoid on 4/25/2012, 8:13 am

"If it's drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you'll get it. You will know the thrill of battle fighting foes that will beset it. If you long for entertainment and for pageantry most glowing, plant a garden and this summer spend your time with green things growing."

- Edward A. Guest









Well , who'd have thought it , May is here knocking on the door ready to let April out.

April showers ( an understatement and a half ) really have kicked up the May flowers here in South Wales UK . The flower beds are a mass of greenery just aching to show what's within once we get a few days of sunshine .



Vegetable wise in the ANSFG beds it is slowly starting to come together for me with my almost virgin new beds that got changed over from a well manured mother earth soil to the full Monty of MM at the end of January and finally completed just before the end of March

As I have 12 beds for vegetables running at 3 x 3 feet ( 900 x900 mm )to feed three of us I think I'll have ample space to do a SF per 10 days or so of 16 carrots . There are already six under crop some two inches tall some just peeking through the surface with tender grass looking first leaf's.

Thankfully I've been using premade masks with set out holes to lay on the square foot and then sow through the holes , not only does it keep weeds down It will be easy to see the carrots in the grids instead of weeds .

It has been such a success that I've ended up making some thirty masks & pegging the masks to the beds and leaving them there . For my MM was made using 1/3 of 30 yr old leaf mould and 1/5 of 1/3 four old left on the heap horse /stable muck that was not hot composted in any way shape or form .

The tiny weeds in it have come up in the beds that are not masked off making for more weeding with scissors than I'd hoped for . Those that have come up thorough the unplanted masks are so easy to snip off .



Last night I was sitting in the office playing at organising my seed library , it struck me that as I have over 50 different seeds for vegetables & flowers I should start making a list of those packets that are used or well past their sell by date . So when it comes to the end of year sales in garden centres or shops around 2nd week of November as they sell off seeds cheap to make space for the Christmas stuff I can take my list out of my wallet and see if I can buy the sale seeds at half price like I did with some last year ..



May is really the most hectic of months for not only do we sow the salads stuff , we sow summer crops & towards the end of May can also be sowing some of the late & over wintering things as well .

I'm not going to bother listing the plants you can so I'd be sat here for hours .. A wee book by Dr. D.G. Hessayon covers most of the UK grown stuff it is titled The Vegetable Expert and can be found in most garden centres and on the likes of Amazon . It covers sowing , pests and plant care etc . ( No I'm not relate or on commission etc. )

Fortnightly to three weekly sowings called " successional sowings " are the key to keeping your beds growing & under effective crops for as long as possible .



In his book All New Square Foot Gardening ( 2006 edition ) Mel' talks about working out what your likely to be wanting to eat in a given month week by week and work back from there using his seed to harvest charts at the back of the book to know what , where & when to sow & roughly how much to sow .
It took me years of trying to get that total concept installed and ingrained in my head .


Here you have it all laid out , easy to read and understand in a few well researched tired & tested pages , all in one book courtesy of Mel.

.

Being an optimist I usually have continued to sow well into the last recommended month for sowing and used fleeces etc to try and bring on the crop .. I feel it's worth while doing this for you only lose a few pennies worth of sees if they don't grow , but you do stand the chance of some of your own food worth many times the cost of the seed if they do.



In the glasshouse things are well underway not only for vegetables but for flowers and cuttings .

I have a stack of geraniums grown from seed ready for taking cuttings and so many plants for putting in the hanging baskets& front flower beds . I'll be glad when the 12 May comes and my usual last frost date arrives so I can plant up the baskets and get them hung outside .. But I do have plenty of fleece to peg a cover over things if a frost is forecast after that date.

My peas are a foot or so tall and I've used some scrap pig fencing wire stood on its end . Cable tied to two poles to keep it upright and secure to grow the peas up.





Several tomatoes are through that were germinated in the airing cupboard in mini pots enclosed in poly bags , once showing a tiny yellow leaf they wee advanced in poly bags on the kitchen window cill which faces south . They are now hardening of in the glasshouse before planting into tubs in the glasshouse .

I have one very sturdy beefsteak tomato plant that I laid *& covered in a 6 inch long 4 inch deep trench in a big tub of MM , when it was 9 inches tall so there was just a couple of inches of greenery showing .

I inserted six of the slow release plant food sticks around the general area of the covered root and where the new root would form . After watering it in well & snipping off two leaves that were touching the damp MM , I've kept the MM in the middle of moist 200 mm down in the MM on the scale of my push in 200 mm long probe moisture meter.

The tomato has responded well, for there is now a foot of greenery against the support pole I put in the tub when I planted the tomato . I'll soon have to tie it to the pole & strip off a few leaves here & there to get it rushing upwards to the top of the pole .



I'm also now slowly organising a few more manure runs and some wet straw bales to make next years compost .. Now I have plenty of time to do it with good weather in the offing unlike the manic rush of trying to get it during November to March



Water restrictions wrt hose pipe bands for most of England that have been in place for nearly a month & look set to continue right into next year or further . If you're registered disabled & in possession of a blue badge for a vehicle I do believe you and only you, not your family are allowed to use a hose pipe to water your garden but not your lawn if needed .

You are also allowed to use dripper watering systems on your food plants ( can include edible flowers )

If you check in person with your water authority they may make you buy a hose pipe licence& fit you up with a domestic water meter if your property does not already have one if you water under these terms . So perhaps checking on line is the best thing to do initially .
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plantoid

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Re: May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

Post  FMC on 4/26/2012, 3:01 am

Hi Plantoid
Let me start by saying I'm new to vegetable gardening and even newer to SFG. I moved to South Wales (Carmarthen) a year ago. I came across an article on raised bed gardening last year and managed to put together 3 raised beds before winter arrived.Then a few weeks ago I came across SFG, and decided to use my raised beds for SFG. I'd used decking planks for the beds 7 1/2'x 3 1/4' x 6". Then last week I came across this forum which luckily for me has you in it. You are from the same area and have such a great knowledge and passion for SFG that I have started working my way through all of your posts, and trying to correct some of my mistakes. Got a bag of vermiculite from T&P last week. Thanks for the lead.
In fact thank you for all your posts. I have learnt a lot from them already and still have hundreds more to read.
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Re: May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

Post  littlejo on 4/26/2012, 10:05 am

Hi Plantoid,

I know I'm not from 'Europe' but, I read most of your posts for you are very knowledgeable. I do have a question. Here is a quote from above passage:


"I've been using premade masks with set out holes to lay on the square foot and then sow through the holes , not only does it keep weeds down It will be easy to see the carrots in the grids instead of weeds ."

Can you describe (or direct me to a post ) . It sounds like something to try here, especially for small seeds. I have more weeds this yr. probably because of birds and wind bring in weed seed.

Thanks, Jo
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Re: May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

Post  givvmistamps on 4/26/2012, 1:01 pm

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Re: May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

Post  plantoid on 4/29/2012, 8:02 am

Thanks putting the thread up Michelle.

FMC if you have wheels , I'm about 15 miles away from you just off the west end of the M4 . If you feel like visiting and meeting up PM me and we'll run through it. I'm disabled & retired very early so am here most of the time.

I have discovered a gardencentre in PONTARDDULAIS ( YES IT IS SPELT CORRECT Laughing ) , where the owner is prepared to buy in a 100 litre bag or two of horticultural fine grade vermiculite . Estimated price is £26 . Which would work out at a fraction of the 5 litre bags the cheapest being £ 6.99 that I have seen on sale or two for a tenner. Perhaps you or any one else reading this are might be interested in adding to an order sometime soon. If we get enough firm paid up front orders perhaps we can get a discount and pay the refund on collection of the bags by the customers .
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Re: May .... Ne'er cast your clout till May is out

Post  FMC on 4/30/2012, 1:35 am

Thanks Plantoid I will take you up on the offer. I will PM you soon. As I'm off to Bluestone Holiday Park today, thanks to my name being drawn out of the hat at the National Botanic Garden not the best prize with this weeks weather forecast.
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