I’ve not been getting so involved down this new plot. I keep meaning to spend more time down there, but mostly I’m barely nipping down to empty the kitchen scrap bin and just about keep up with the weeding.
I think there’s a few reasons; first I don’t have the facilities to really grow, and crucially, harden off, at home. I can get things going, but they’re so tender and delicate grown inside that they just get scoffed immediately. I’ve managed to successfully plant a grand total of 1 tomato plant out, from all the stuff I’ve tried to start indoors. The chard, kale, other tomatoes, melons, courgettes, pumpkins and various flowers were gone within days. It’s a bit dispiriting. So everything has to be started straight in the ground, which is slower and later, and it often just becomes slug food in the first few days anyway. Stuff that was totally reliable back in Bristol just doesn’t like it here, and completely fails. It feels like a big step back on the learning curve, figuring out what will do well here.
I’ve got more time now, as Uni has broken up for summer, so I am trying to get on it properly. I’ve got a few things going finally, through a combination of sowing, resowing, slug deterrents, and finally giving up and buying plants.
It’s not all bad though; I’ve been picking broad beans from my overwintered plants for a few weeks, and the garlic looks nearly ready to harvest. The onions are looking good too; back in Bristol I lavished care on the things, and the sets came out about the same size as they went in. I stuck some sets in here, very late, having forgotten to plant them, and they’re all visibly swelling and looking very happy. The runner beans are just putting out their first buds, and the sole surviving courgette has its first female flower (and a few leaves the slugs left it). I should have strawberries too any day now- late, I know, I should have already had some, but I didn’t realise a squirrel would magically appear and snaffle every fruit as it ripened, but the plants are now netted.
The one really exciting thing for me in the last few weeks is; I have BEES again! A swarm, collected from a very nice local couple, who had them in the porch. It was a bit interesting to collect them, as they were somewhat established (they thought the swarm had just arrived, but they were already building comb), and in an enclosed porch with limited access, that meant taking the ceiling partly to bits while balancing on a chair. All suited up in roasting heat.
They seem like a lovely swarm though, very little aggro, and within a week they’d drawn out 4 frames of new fresh comb, filled half of it with nectar and were laying eggs.
The queen looks good (marked with a red dot for ease of keeping track) and they all seem to be getting on with it properly. I’m just keeping an eye on them now and hoping they’re as good as they look!