There is still time to plant out late-sown plants and hopefully they will give an extended harvest

You know the saying ‘your eyes are bigger than your stomach’? I am suffering from a similar thing, only it’s a case of my seed-growing capacity is considerably larger than the space we have for it!

We already had a healthy number of tomato plants when lockdown hit but I panicked and ordered a load more from Mr Fothergill’s. The rest of the world did the same thing because they took longer than usual to arrive, but they were sown, and germinated and now… I have nowhere for them all to go!

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It’s a challenge, but it’s a far preferable challenge to not having any plants and bemoaning our empty beds and greenhouse. We have aubergines, tomatoes (‘Alicante’, ‘Red Cherry’ and ‘Rosella’) and courgettes, not to mention the squashes, chillies and okra that were already growing.

The squash plants are going into warm, sunny spots with enriched soil wherever there is room

It is a little late for planting out but I am going they will still do well and that with a good summer the plants will still fruit. Worst case scenario is lots of green tomatoes for chutney!

Some have already been found homes and the early toms are going great guns in the greenhouse and the courgettes are growing happily in RootPouches and sunny beds.

Tomatoes go into grow bags in a sheltered area of the garden

Yesterday was the day for dealing with the rest of the plants. Some of the tomatoes and aubergines went into growbags outside, while a cucumber, okra, and e rest of the aubergines went into growbags and pots in the greenhouse. I’ll move the aubergines into a sheltered spot against a wall in the garden this weekend.

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Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted the self-seeded lambs ear by the tomato grow bags. It’s growing quite happily between two flagstones and I’m leaving it there because these plants are absolute bee magnets so I’m hoping the pollinators will pop over and pollinate the tomatoes as well, while they’re there.

Plants soaking in the bath overnight before planting

The squashes were dotted around various beds in the area we use for fruit and veg. Their progress will be carefully monitored as one of their number has been taken to London by our daughter and is growing extremely well. I can feel a spot of family rivalry brewing…

The latest batches of seedlings have been on windowsills indoors and the night before planting I stood them all in the bath so they got a good drink.

The okra will grow in the greenhouse through the summer

We’ve never grown okra before and of the four seeds in the packet, one is flourishing, two are fair-to-middling and the fourth barely left the starting blocks.

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The three survivors will stay in the greenhouse for the duration. As with aubergines, they are prone to glasshouse red spider mites that thrive in warm, dry environment so I must remember to mist their leaves with tepid water at least once a day in the height of summer.

It’s important to pinch out unwanted tomato shoots

As well as potting up the new plants I checked the more mature tomatoes in the greenhouse and pinched out any shoots found growing between the main stem and main branches. This makes sure the plants’ energy is channelled into flowing and fruiting and isn’t wasted on unnecessary extra growth.

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Although lockdown is easing, many people are still confined to their homes or concerned about going out because they are vulnerable to catching C19.

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John Negus is AG‘s long-standing problem solver

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