Monthly Archives: May 2013

Beans, beans, and more beans

Tackling the weeds

Today was a hard one. One of the two beds designated for legumes in this rotation was previously home to overwintered leeks. The remaining few had thrown up a flower spike and the rest of the bed had become overgrown with weeds. Fortunately, most of the weeds were shallow rooted and readily pulled out – helped by the loose soil that comes from these lightly cultivated beds. They seem barely compacted by the winter and spring rains, and need little more than a light raking to prepare for sowing. Continue reading

The hidden menace strikes again

From 19 plants, only two have survived unscathed. The rest have been decimated by some unknown, yet particularly hungry, pest. Bait blocks and slug pellets remain untouched, yet more cucurbits have been reduced to mere stalks. Once again, with a lack of slime trails, slugs or snails are looking increasingly unlikely suspects. The damage has all the hallmarks of a larger toothed menace. Two mouse traps baited with peanut butter have been added alongside the surviving melons, to see if some furry fiend is responsible. The strange thing is, the other side of the greenhouse has some nice ripe strawberries that I would imagine being the first thing to disappear. Continue reading

Winter squash planted out but a menace lurks under glass

After a weekend of heavy weeding, the smaller of the ‘wedge’ beds was cleared of the worst of the explosion of spring growth. A nasty assortment of annual and perennial weeds had taken over, including thistles, nettles, couch grass and the ever present creeping buttercup and some as yet unidentified but not quite so invasive sort. We should have covered the bed with weed fabric over winter until ready, as we did with most of the other beds – next winter we plan to cover all bare soil as crops are cleared. It makes life so much easier when planting comes around once again. As much as possible of the perennial roots were dug out, but no doubt some remain. What small growth was left was hoed off and the soil raked over ready for planting. The soil appeared rich enough from previous applications of manure so nothing more was done. Continue reading