Wet weather on the veg plot

Posted: Tuesday 12 June 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

Like so many other gardeners right now I’m despairing, so I think I'll have a good moan and see if it helps.

Salad protected by a cloche

Like so many other gardeners right now I’m despairing, so I think I'll have a good moan and see if it helps.

In my soft southern garden (as Eric Robson from Gardeners’ Question Time would call it) I’m usually starting to harvest courgettes by this month. This year the poor plants went out late because everything was frosted and frozen.

Having started to wilt when the sun was hot, the courgettes are now slowly drowning, whilst struggling to keep themselves from being plastered down onto the wet soil by the howling gales. I find myself trying to create some form of shelter for tender plants. My tiny courgettes and squash are living under bell cloches, and just about everything else is under some form of fleece, micromesh-covered tunnel or frame.

Now, though, these weather resistant structures are coming loose, so I'm raiding the wardrobes, and seizing any metal coat-hangers I can find, to make extra-long ground pegs to keep the frames in place. After all, if the soil is like un-set jam, and the winds are strong, you can’t really expect a standard-length ground peg to work, can you?

I’m using massive quantities of twine as I have to keep tying things in. My unusually slow runners and climbing French beans need to be re-tied into their wigwam, the peas keep veering downwards, and the sweet peas too have lost their usually tiger-like grip.

To cap it all, our lovely rescue hens, are almost completely un-waterproof. What were they fed on?

So, as once again, I come in covered in mud and drenched, is there any good news? Yes: first, the peach leaf curl-infected leaves have all been blown off the tree (so there’s no need for me to pick them off).

Second, it keeps raining so much that I don’t have to worry about keeping the soil moist, to ensure that my recently applied nematodes can move about and attack the slugs ... they must be holding a swimming gala down there!

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Talkback: Wet weather on the veg plot
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YewJay 14/06/2012 at 18:14

Luckily, all my vege crops are either in a polytunnel or in raised beds. I mean RAISED beds 28" high and with a special mix which is water retaining but free draining so the vegies are fine. The courgettes are in the tunnel and are producing profusely: broad beans just big enough to pick - also in tunnel, and the runners were raised in roottrainers and are happy and healthy at 2foot plus high. They have a 2foot 6 fleece protection about 2foot 6 away and it helps!!
Outside veges are grown using 'square foot gardening' with a mix of one third each - compost, peat and Insulation Grade vermiculite (very thick pieces)plus fertiliser which is topped up each season. This has been working well for the last 5 years. Square foot gardening is great!!

the tidy gardener 14/06/2012 at 19:47

I agree with all of this.I went to leicester market today,bought 2 large baskets of strawberries for £1;7 peaches for £1,peas,potatoes,all cheap and delicious.And my poor vegetables are either drowning or sulking in mud.Why do we do it?!!I'm afraid its an addiction.
My father got me into this gardening lark and now Im hooked.Oh well;better get the wellies on!

rena05 15/06/2012 at 09:05

The sweet peas are standing still. The weeds love the rain and are hiding the onions.
When I come in from the garden I can hardly lift my feet because of the mud on the soles of my boots.

Catherine Moore

Graham Morgan 15/06/2012 at 09:22

Don't get me started on the weather, me taters are rotting under 2" of water, onions just started to grow and stair rod rain just bounced em out of the ground, me strimmer packed in so while it went for repair the weeds just ran amok and the grass on't lotment is the home for all kinds of fierce creatures, shed has sprung a leak and I can't even sit on the chsair it is soaking wet, Still look on the bright side just when everthing is growing nicely it will be winter and the ruddy frosts will kill everything off, and don't get me started on mud and clay. I blame the Weather men on telly they are all warlocks and witches predicting rain/floods/drought, gail force winds etc etc etc, get rid of the lot and return to looking out of the window to see if the crows are flying backwards, AHHH good old fasioned weather, I am old enough to remember when we had seasons.
Mr Grumpy

Sandie3 15/06/2012 at 10:30

what can I say about the weather - polytunnel blew away in the high winds in May, a small apple tree the only thing that kept it from completely blowing away. 50% of small plants it covered killed by frost week before, and the rest transferred into the conservatory were eaten the next night by slugs. Other plants if not slowed down by cold weather keep thinking they are 'water lillies', my begonias that always give great display of summer colour and would normally be pushing up flower buds now are looking drowned and new bulbs put into pots over a month ago are just starting to push through the soil. The only good thing don't have to worry about plants drying out due to the summer sun.

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