Potatoes, broccoli and bumblebees

by Jane Moore

The purple-sprouting broccoli is providing a lovely source of nectar for all the bumblebees in the area.

Bumblebee visiting flowerOnce spring is sprung it really does get going! My plot is a mass of potato leaves creeping out over the mounds of ridged earth, seedlings sprouting sturdily out of the ground almost as I watch. But of course, there's a hearty selection of common or garden weeds for good measure, just in case you thought it was all a bit too idyllic.

It's been a week or so since I last popped up to the plot and things have grown hugely in that time. Some plants have gone over already - the last couple of leeks have produced flower buds and the purple-sprouting broccoli which was cropping fabulously only a couple of weeks ago has gone to flower.

It seems only a couple of weeks ago that I was harvesting tight clusters of purple-sprouting for the steamer but almost overnight those buds have burst into the prettiest lemon-coloured blooms. I've left them for the moment as I don't need that bed until I put my beans in, which aren't yet big enough to survive the attentions of slugs. After last year's rain there seem to be more slugs around than ever before - or maybe I just forget from one year to the next what a haven my plot is for wildlife, good and bad.

Anyway the purple-sprouting is staying in full bloom for the moment and is providing a lovely source of nectar for all the bumble bees in the area. Given that they're endangered, that must be a good thing.

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Gardeners' World Web User 25/05/2008 at 13:18

My Potatoes looked fantastic but never did flower and have no potatoes on them not even small ones can you tell me why.I did plant them in new soil that I bought by the lorry load by the way I live in Spain and I am growing them under cover. Can you help Regards D Burgess

Gardeners' World Web User 29/05/2008 at 17:55

I reused my recycling boxes last year to plant salad and veg (we now have green wheelie bins) and am now getting bigger with raised beds. I have to inspect them every morning!! How does anyone stop caterpillars from eating everything?

Gardeners' World Web User 04/06/2008 at 18:37

I planted some broccoli & cabbage earlier this year, however, they have been eaten by something. All that is left of the leaves is the veins. I don't think it is slugs because I've put pellets down. The strange thing is that all of the lettuces that I planted in the next row haven't been touched. Has anybody got any idea's what it could be & how I can deal with the problem?

Gardeners' World Web User 11/06/2008 at 07:37

James, I expect your greens have been eaten by pigeons. Only solution is to net them. If the growing point is still there, they will regrow. Good luck! (Maybe they don't like lettuce - they haven't touched mine either)

Gardeners' World Web User 21/06/2008 at 20:23

New to the veg. garden, so want to know is it too late for me to grow either bean in containers? My garden is very small, have got potatoes growing in large tree pot, but would like to do something else too. Would have to be container grown as well. Linda

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