With any luck it'll be a good year for fruit and veg, says Ruth as she sets about sowing late tomatoes and catch up with other edible jobs

After a slightly longer-than-usual delay thanks to C19, our veg seeds from Mr Fothergill’s finally arrived to great excitement. Hurrah! We have three varieties of tomato, chard, runner beans and courgettes.

I sowed the tomatoes first because it’s really a little late to be starting them now but my reasoning is that if they do grow well, they will be several weeks behind the others and will hopefully provide a glut of greenies for chutney this autumn.

If late-sown tomatoes don’t ripen they may provide ingredients for chutney in autumn

The varieties I chose are ‘Rosella’, which produces deep pink fruits, ‘Cherry red’, because who doesn’t love those sweet, juicy little balls of deliciousness, and the old trusty ‘Alicante’ which guarantees taste and large crops.

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I sowed them in trays of seed compost covered with vermiculite and have placed them on a light, war, windowsill so hopefully things will start to happen asap.

Courgette seeds are sown on their sides and germinate in light and warmth

The courgettes have been sown on their side in modules and, again placed in light and warmth. Like the squash that were sown a few weeks ago and growing gustily in the greenhouse, these are tender and won’t be planted out until the end of the month at the earliest.

Squash can be planted out in late May or early June when it’s reliably warm

As well as the peas I sowed outside last week, I also started a few indoors, growing them on in the greenhouse and hardening them off for a week or two. They have now been moved to a suitable container on the patio, potted up in peat-free multi-purpose with an added fruit and veg fertiliser.

Place pea sticks around peas for support as they grow

I inserted pea sticks to support them as they grow, and they will need watering and feeding throughout the growing process but will hopefully crop earlier than those sown direct.

Always wash used seed trays and pots before putting them into use again

I reused trays and pots for all the seeds and plantings and gave them all wash first. This is important as malignant microbes and pests might be lurking in the old soil clinging to the sides and it doesn’t take much to knock a seedling or young plant off-course.

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The fruit trees in the garden, pear, plum, greengage, apple and crab, were bridal-beautiful this spring, swathed in white and pale pink blossom. They are now laden with little fruitlets that, if they all mature, would weigh enough to do some serious damage to the tree branches.

Excess number of fruitlets will self-thin during the ‘June drop’

Luckily, we have the ‘June drop’ to look forward to in a few weeks’ time, and I’ll be telling you about that in the near future.

 

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