Monday, 12 June 2017

Drastically thinning the plums

Saturday 3rd June
Today I sowed the rest of my beans along with the sweetcorn, courgettes, pumpkins and celeriac. Finally virtually all of the veg beds have something in them.
I sowed more carrots and lettuce too as well as sowing my swede crop for the year.

With everything growing so well, the creeping thistles have poked their heads up in my young woodland and there are a couple of rather large patches which will get out of control if I do nothing about them. Don't get me wrong, thistles are great for wildlife and I even quite like how they look, but they are just too unruly. So I spent a half hour or so  mixing up the Grazon and spraying it liberally. The great thing about this weedkiller is that it doesn't kill the grass, it just takes out the broad-leaved plants, with a particular penchant for thistles and nettles. It's not organic so I wouldn't use it near the crops, but it is perfect used in the right place. Within 24 hours the plants will already be drooping.

Finally I got on the mower. When it works well it is great, but I have never been able to ride it in confidence. Today it broke again! I gave up.

Sunday 4th June
Job for the day was to thin the plums. Two of my trees have bumper crops this year - the Victoria plum and the Merryweather damson.
Tempting as it is to leave all the plums on the tree, the internet reassures me that this is not the best policy. The fruits need space to grow and they need air around them so they don't rot. Plum trees often suffer from branches breaking under the stress of a bumper crop of fruit - another reason to thin the young fruit. Thirdly, and I had not considered this, if the tree has put all its energies into a bumper crop of fruit it is unable to produce the fruiting buds for next year. This is why so often fruit trees go into the habit of cropping every other year.
And so I set about a drastic thinning process, leaving at most a third of the plums on each tree. It had better turn out well.

Monday 5th June
Following a dismal return from the 500 sweetcorn seeds I originally sowed, I ordered some extra seed from another company. Fortunately they were having an end of season sale, plus I receive a discount on top of this so I ended up paying less than 50% of the packet price.
But of course, while I was on their website, many other items caught my eye. In particular I discovered a good source of seed for my dyer's garden which I hope to develop next year. I also purchased some lablab beans. More on both of these later.

Tuesday 6th June
Boris needed his annual booster today so it was off to the vets over in Norfolk. Arthur came along for the trip too and I had a secret plan to take them both to the beach afterwards. But plans change. The weather was showery here, but by the time I had made the journey to Norfolk conditions were well and truly miserable. In the end we came straight back from the vets and had a lazy rest of the day.

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