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what to plant next!!

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what to plant next!!

Post  AnnD on 7/16/2012, 4:38 am

Hello again!! well I started my first two boxes at the beginning of the year and thanks to everyone for their advice and support. Since then I have been snorkelling up and down the garden and have called my boxes noah and ark - honestly I know I am English and we bang on about the weather but seriously this year is WET.
Progress so far..... started first with the radishes, just a couple of weeks and something to eat, it was like a miracle. (I have been re-sowing those ever since they are French breakfast ones and delicious. salad has been stunning, crispy, plentiful and fast, and certainly haven't had to use the shade netting I bought in anticipation of sunshine! carrotts are slow and beetroot, last year was my first attempt at growing something edible and I put both in buckets of soil and they romped away. Maybe it is the weather?? have had a few very small carrotts, still waiting to see if they might grow a bit !! Beans, are 7ft tall, covered in red flowers but I haven't spotted a single bean. Peas, I thought they were easy, but I had one !! albeit delicious and crispy and sweet - one!!! Embarassed Cauliflowers, I was told by a couple of people that they were impossible where I live (hertfordshire UK) but I love them, planted 16, and I have 16 cauliflowers, I ate a couple at just over tennis ball size because I couldn't wait and the rest are gradually getting larger, and are now about 7 inches across. Oh, one went brown when it was golf ball size, then I learned to cover the leaves over it and the rest have been fine, brown one is now compost Very Happy red spring onions are gorgeous, oh and courgettes are just mad, put in two plants because we love them and next year I will plant just one and share it with the rest of Hertfordshire !!! Tomatoes are a failure it is just too wet and cold I think, well not cold but no sun!!!! they are small and green and are also going to be composted.

Any Ideas given the time of year and this wet dark weather what I can plant in place of the cauliflowers I am pulling - In fact this is more like spring weather I think ?
Strawberries it was their first year so did what I should and pulled off the flowers, there were lots so I am very hopeful for next year and I have lots of runners so I think I can make more plants for some new boxes we will make over winter. The cauliflower leave are so huge they are started to cover them over so some bad planning by me, but I had no idea how tall/wide any of the veggies got and cauliflower shocked me, they are huge!!

I'll stop rambling now, any tips gratefully received, especially if anyone knows when the slug olympics start, I will be entering some for sure, I am soo glad I got some slug stuff in early and was ready this year - in fact my first few months of SFG has seen the invasion of the giant slug and flooding of biblical proportions and I am still very very keen or maybe even a little mad, but happy!!
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  walshevak on 7/16/2012, 6:51 am

I would say replant anything that you grew in the spring. Peas, Kale, more cauliflower ect. I have a feeling England is not going to have even its normal sunshine this year. If you don't need the space, try leaving the tomatos alone until the end of August. I don't think it will make any difference, but Mother Nature has been known to fool you.

I had to recheck were Hertfordshire was in relation to London and I see it is just on the north edge of Greater London. I think your climate is very near like mine was in Croughton. I didn't try to grow veggies, but a neighbor did and they put the tomatos in a season extending plastic greenhouse. The 2 summers I was there were warm and sunny, not typical. I had some georgeous flower though.

Kay

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  AnnD on 7/16/2012, 8:02 am

Thanks Walshevak! I hope nature does fool me - it doesn't take much Wink Do you think I really have enough time to try more peas? they few I put in have hardly grown but could run out and get another type and try those? so that is what I am going to do, I am already soaked to the skin so might as well just wade out and buy new pea seed!!

I am going to have some sort of greenhouse for the tomatoes and cucumbers next year, thought I would try outside anyway but what year to try !!

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  walshevak on 7/16/2012, 5:35 pm

At least peas like cool weather and can take a light frost. However, all plants need some sun and you have been really short of that this year. At this point all you can do is try. A popular saying on the forum is "it's only seeds"

Hopefully August will have a bit more sun before the days start getting so short again.

Kay

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  AnnD on 7/17/2012, 2:27 am

thanks Kay!! I managed to get some peas, meteor? and one other but the name eludes me at the moment, both are meant to be ok fot later planting. Actually the week my current ones sprouted was the one hot week we had, so that might be why they are not doing well, anyway I am having another try with these two type and seee if they fair better, and yes, only seeds Very Happy but I am so excited when they work, and totally devasted when they don't Sad

I need to relax !! thanks for the advice, they are going in this morning. Shsss but we actually have sun at the moment and no rain forecast today!!

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  walshevak on 7/17/2012, 6:55 pm

Don't say that too loudly. You might scare it away.
Razz

Kay

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  AnnD on 7/18/2012, 2:32 am

You weren't wrong - it is 7.20 am and I have been out and put a few more seeds in, lettuce and more peas, due a downpour any minute! Forget sunshine it is pitch black out there!

I very stupidly calculated my MM very accurately and didn't allow for adding my handful every time I harvested so I had two beautifully filled boxes but none left over!! So late yesterday afternoon I had a mad rush around and got a selection of composts and got mixing while it was dry, just a bucket of each this time though so I have two large compost bags full ready to go now. What a silly thing to do Embarassed !!
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  camprn on 7/18/2012, 8:07 am

AnnD wrote:You weren't wrong - it is 7.20 am and I have been out and put a few more seeds in, lettuce and more peas, due a downpour any minute! Forget sunshine it is pitch black out there!

I very stupidly calculated my MM very accurately and didn't allow for adding my handful every time I harvested so I had two beautifully filled boxes but none left over!! So late yesterday afternoon I had a mad rush around and got a selection of composts and got mixing while it was dry, just a bucket of each this time though so I have two large compost bags full ready to go now. What a silly thing to do Embarassed !!
One doesn't need to add more MM but simply compost when refreshing an available square. That should make it a bit easier next time. Very Happy

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  cpl100 on 7/18/2012, 8:28 am

camprn wrote:One doesn't need to add more MM but simply compost when refreshing an available square. That should make it a bit easier next time. Very Happy

If we don't have our own compost made, do we add any one of the original composts or should we mix the five again and add that when we do that extra at re-planting time? I am thinking the latter but wanted to be sure.

This aspect has always gotten me wondering what happens to our boxes over time, too. Re-adding compost to every square 3 times per year will eventually change the make-up of the box, won't it?
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  AnnD on 7/18/2012, 8:58 am

Glad you asked that!! things like my cauliflowers, when they come out they are taking quite a bit of MM with them, despite my efforts at knocking it all off, and the level is sinking, oh well I have done it now and used the MM but will be still be interested for the reply. I know I read a handful of soil in the book, but logic told me I would eventually change the mix ratio . It doesn't take much to confuse me!!!
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  cpl100 on 7/18/2012, 9:19 am

AnnD wrote:Glad you asked that!! things like my cauliflowers, when they come out they are taking quite a bit of MM with them, despite my efforts at knocking it all off, and the level is sinking, oh well I have done it now and used the MM but will be still be interested for the reply. I know I read a handful of soil in the book, but logic told me I would eventually change the mix ratio . It doesn't take much to confuse me!!!

I've read about people having to top off their boxes so maybe we are to add enough 'mix' to top off and then add a trowel full of just compost for nutrients. That makes sense to me but I am guided solely by logic and not by gardening knowledge. Wink
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  AnnD on 7/18/2012, 9:32 am

that sound like sound logic to me, I am going with that as I have no gardening knowledge at all Very Happy
I did put a trowel full in when I finished the salad squares and the smaller stuff, but the cauliflowers got me panicking, oh well at least I have more MM mixed up, and I will certainly need it I am already planning another couple of boxes for later this year, I want one just for strawberries, they are doing so well.

Actually not sure if this is sensible, but I have picked of the first year flowers but let the runners grow, didn't have much choice they just did it and hid under leaves!! so I have put little pots of mm on the surface of adjacent squares, under courgettes which are growing vertically Very Happy and beans, and pegged them in those, and they are rooted. I plan to sever them and make a new 4x4 square of just strawberries and those plus those plants I already have will give me enough to fill one!
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  camprn on 7/18/2012, 9:52 am

cpl100 wrote:
camprn wrote:One doesn't need to add more MM but simply compost when refreshing an available square. That should make it a bit easier next time. Very Happy

If we don't have our own compost made, do we add any one of the original composts or should we mix the five again and add that when we do that extra at re-planting time? I am thinking the latter but wanted to be sure.

This aspect has always gotten me wondering what happens to our boxes over time, too. Re-adding compost to every square 3 times per year will eventually change the make-up of the box, won't it?
You will get best results with a compost mix. It is recommended by Mel to just add compost, there is no tremendous benefit to adding more peat and vermiculite. Neither of those contribute to the fertility of the mix.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  cpl100 on 7/18/2012, 10:49 am

camprn wrote:
cpl100 wrote:
camprn wrote:One doesn't need to add more MM but simply compost when refreshing an available square. That should make it a bit easier next time. Very Happy

If we don't have our own compost made, do we add any one of the original composts or should we mix the five again and add that when we do that extra at re-planting time? I am thinking the latter but wanted to be sure.

This aspect has always gotten me wondering what happens to our boxes over time, too. Re-adding compost to every square 3 times per year will eventually change the make-up of the box, won't it?
You will get best results with a compost mix. It is recommended by Mel to just add compost, there is no tremendous benefit to adding more peat and vermiculite. Neither of those contribute to the fertility of the mix.

Right. I did know that they do not add fertility but I thought their inclusion was to allow for optimum soil density and moisture retention/flow. Perhaps I misunderstood their use/value.

I love to be corrected prior to erring because I hate doing things wrong and having to correct later.
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/18/2012, 5:28 pm

cpl100 wrote:
camprn wrote:One doesn't need to add more MM but simply compost when refreshing an available square. That should make it a bit easier next time. Very Happy

If we don't have our own compost made, do we add any one of the original composts or should we mix the five again and add that when we do that extra at re-planting time? I am thinking the latter but wanted to be sure.

This aspect has always gotten me wondering what happens to our boxes over time, too. Re-adding compost to every square 3 times per year will eventually change the make-up of the box, won't it?

You are right about topping off a box with MM when the contents have settled! So add more MM then. When you pull a plant out by the roots, it does still have some mix still on no matter what you try to do, unless you dip it in water and then pour it back in your beds. The loss of the peat and vermiculite are negligible. Probably over many years there may be less of each but I wouldn't worry about replacing the peat ever! Mel's book mentions putting a trowel full of compost in the place where you harvested. That replaces the nutrients the plant used and will be all you have to do. It will feel different since you have worked so hard up to this point.

As for the compost, the best would be making your own. There are numerous posts on the forum on how to do that. So you did the right thing if you made enough of the MM to just fill your beds, except that there is some settling. You can make more MM to top it off. If you haven't been able to make your own compost (which is probable because you've been busy with everything else) I would go and buy the five types like you did to begin with and mix it up good and store it til you need your trowel full. When you get a chance, start reading about making your own compost and start saving your kitchen scraps (fruits vegetables, egg shells, peels, but no meat), get manures, grass clippings, leaves, straw, coffee grounds (including filters) etc. then when you learn how to combine them you will have them handy.

Ann, you did right by adding the trowel of compost when you harvested your lettuce. Picking the first year's of flowers for your strawberries was correct. You may want to double check to see if you should let the runners go. That may only be for when you have fruit but you don't so letting the runners run may be ok.

You are both doing very well! You may already know this but in the left column where it says "Latest Topics" go down to the bottom and type in your question. There are great lessons and also additional questions and answers. Keep up the good work and ask as many questions as you need!
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Re: what to plant next!!

Post  walshevak on 7/18/2012, 10:49 pm

+1 on starting a compost pile if you can and have the space. Having a batch of 5 blend available is very handy. I have space so I also have a spare bag of vermiculite and a spare bale of peat on hand. If I need to pot of something fast, I can mix just the one container full.

Another possibility is a worm bin. It takes up less space and worm castings are very rich for both adding to the squares or making compost tea. I recomment worm bins for apartment dwellers who are gardening on balconies.

As to the vermiculite and peat depletion, maybe in about 10 years (I saw this on Mels blog). After all, Mel teaches 3rd world countries how to SFG in straight conpost. We are just lucky to be able to make real MM.

Kay

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