Three vegetable crops to sow this weekend

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m planning my gardening tasks for the weekend. Certainly there will be plenty of weeding required and also keeping on top of pests like caterpillars and slugs… And then there are those pesky starlings that seem to love young, tender and particularly fragrant plants like herbs. They just snip them off and take them to their nests. But there will also be sowing of seeds…

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It might seem a bit late to sow seeds in the middle of June but there are some vegetables you can still sow for the later season crop. So the seeds I will be sowing are:

Perpetual Spinach

If you like spinach then perpetual spinach is the perfect thing for you. It tastes like ordinary spinach but you don’t need to keep sowing it as you do with ‘real’ spinach. The same plants will keep going for months. I usually do a very late sowing (August) and if the winter is mild we usually have enough greens to take us through till the spring.

Spinach needs plenty moisture at the roots and lots of nutriens so digging in well rotted garden compost before you start sowing is good. Since spinach prefers shade you can consider intercropping with veg which will provide it. Sow the seed directly in drills about 1cm deep in rows 30cm apart. Thin seedlings out to 15cm apart. Harvest little and often. It’s perfect for freezing too!

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Peas

Fresh peas – oh my goodness, what could be better than eating peas seconds after picking them. A real treat for kids too! Definitely better than sweeties. And the great thing about growing peas is that is easy (peasy). All you need is a small area, bed, container or a pot. In order to maintain a steady supply of peas through the season sow an early variety every four weeks.

Peas like rich, moisture-retentive soil so again adding compost or well-rotted manure is ideal. Peas dislike hot weather so they do well in Shetland. To sow peas make a single V-shaped drill, approximately 5cm deep and sow them 5-10cm apart.

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Beetroot

Beetroot is simply amazing. Probably usually enjoyed more pickled or cooked however when eaten raw, beetroot is full of vitamins and minerals and it is also packed with powerful antioxidants. But most importantly beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver. Sometimes I add beetrot to my fresh juice (nice with carrot, apple and ginger). And nothing beats borscht soup.

Beetroot grows well in an open, sunny site in well-drained, fertile soil. My friends in Scalloway seem to be able to grow any amount of beetroot in a small, relatively unsheltered space without any difficulties yet we have never really succeeded with beetroot yet. On the other hand they have not had much luck with garlic which we seem to be able to grow really well here.

Sow thinly, in drills 2.5cm deep, 30cm apart. Thin out if necessary (approximately 8-10cm). Tip: in the polytunnel we always leave some beetrots over the winter and in the early spring you are guaranteed lovely, colourful salad leaves full of vitamins and minerals.

Happy sowing!

 

 

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The garden’s coming on

It’s almost midsummer and things in the garden are fairly coming on. Particularly on a glorious day like this all the hard work is worth it.

In the polytunnel:

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First of the baby courgettes.

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The first of the bullet-like green strawberries have formed.

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The strawberries in the grow bags are a bit more advanced so hopefully they will be ready to go with Champagne and cream in time for Wimbledon…

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Self propagated raspberries – glad I didn’t pull them out as there is a lot of fruit showing on them.

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Peas – plenty of flowers on the first mini pods are forming.

Outside:

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A good crop of goosberries coming on nicely, just hoping Gooseberry sawfly leaves the bush alone this year.

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A pot full of good cuttings going on – next year’s Alaskan willow and blackcurrants.

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Kale (Shetland cabbage) and neeps.

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This is the first time we’re trying to grow Shetland cabbage but I have seen a few Cabbage Whites about today so might neet to keep an eye on these.

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Growing garlic is really easy – will post about that another time.

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The best bit – the harvesting!

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… and enjoying your crops on your plate.

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… and also getting some cut flowers.

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… and seeing the wildlife too!