Paul’s Patch – A vegetable garden update

This is Paul’s second guest blog post for Beyond The Wild Garden and this time Paul is updating us on what has been happening in his vegetable patch since we last heard from him. Make sure to check out his first blog post here to learn a bit about Paul and why he is growing his own.

 A vegetable garden update

Things have been steadily moving on in the garden, even if the gardener has been a little slow to get going! Between the usual exams and deadlines the veg garden took a back seat but I’m slowly catching up.The plot was ploughed in early April. It was then tilled and rotovated, which is the source of an annual argument between my dad and myself, as I don’t think it’s necessary (our soil is very light) and rotovating has only every propagated scutch grass.

 

However, he always wins and the scutch has been very successfully propagated for this year too! The potatoes were planted on the 12th April. Then the plot was ridged using the planter, a good test for tractor driving skills! Get it wrong and it’s an entire year of listening to everyone comment on how wobbly the drills are!

Tractor and Potatoe ridger

It wasn’t until the end of April that I found a spare evening (when admittedly I should have been studying!) that the first of the seeds went in. The usual suspects were planted, carrots, swedes, peas, beetroot, parsnips, onions, shallots, and elephant garlic, which I know should have been planted months earlier, as garlic need a cold spell, but it will be interesting to see how it does.

Garden

Inside the glasshouse and tunnel, seeds have been growing steadily from mid-April and as I type are all ready to be planted out. Leeks, some named onion varieties, cabbages of all sort, courgettes, pumpkins and squash all await planting outside. The sweetcorn went in a few days back. It too is an experiment. I bought a pack of Early Bird F1 seeds, but also planted some that I had saved from the year before, as I’ve always thought they were expensive for what you get. The home saved seed had about a 50% germination success, but I had enough seed for a plantation! It will be interesting to compare how they do.

Tomatoes and cucumber are all waiting patiently for me to clear the tunnel of everything I’ve acquired over the last few months. I have some Isis Candy, San Marzano, Paul Robertson, Sungold, Alisa Craig, and the old reliable Gardeners Delight, as well as some black and yellow fruiting types I got form Clare Garden festival! I was reliably informed that I can save the seed from them myself for next year and they will stay true.

Artichokes and strawberries

It shaping up to be a bumper year for fruit, with the currant and gooseberry bushes all laden down. The Plum tree too has a crazy amount of fruit, which reminds me… it needs thinning! The strawberry plants are doing really well and are the best they have ever beenand the same can be said about the raspberries which are doing great.

My peach tree that a neighbour very generously gave to me, flowered well and despite the glasshouse been taken away in the storms of last winter has managed to fruit really well and I’m currently trying to thin out the fruit. It really is a learning curve as I’ve never even seen a peach tree before this March and now have to look after a mature one.

Peaches

All in all it shaping up to be a great year. The potatoes are flying at the moment and have just received their first spray for blight this weekend. Yes, we’re not organic, but use chemicals responsibly and only when they are needed. In fact the potatoes are the only crop that we do spray. Everything else in the garden is doing really well and after the planting out, the battle with the weeds begins. It has already started but when the garden is full it is a constant battle. Still, it’s more fun than browsing a supermarket for you veg 🙂

Paul.

 

Paul Smyth

Paul Smyth

Editor Notes:

Paul is a 21 year old horticulturalist who has just finished his final year of BSc Horticulture course in Waterford IT. Paul grew up in rural Co Carlow on a small farm, and had an interest in horticulture from a young age. He loves anything to do with plant propagation, in fact anything that involves being outdoors in general! He is the official head gardener at his house, where he manages the vegetable garden and around the house, which has seen its lawn gradually getting smaller and poly-tunnel get fuller as his interest in growing food and plants grows!

You can find Paul on Twitter and his first blog post for Beyond The Wild Garden can be found here.

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