Potting up kale, borlotti and the tomatoes I got in the post

While Gwenfar looks after my sickly cosmos and broad beans—here’s a heartrending picture of the last five cosmos that didn’t die in my B-rd n- M-n- compost:

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Some things have thrived better than others in the compost: basil has largely died off, looking weak and yellow if not given seaweed solution; purchased coriander seed has done OK, but self-harvested has mostly gone; parsley went all right, until I started to pot it up further. And the remaining broad beans that Gwenfar isn’t babysitting are OK, but corkscrewy:

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Anyway, with all of these ailing plants in mind, I decided to plant up as much of my remaining veg as I could.

I’ve been growing some kale in the vague hope that maybe this year I won’t get cabbage white on brassicas (I’ve noticed kale is the least palatable to them) and am still risking them unfleeced right now. In addition, the Welsh rose’s mother gave me some borlotti beans that I didn’t have the heart to throw away (the pak choi went up in among the garlics; the mustard she also gave me blew almost immediately to seed and was composted!)

But the star of the show are the five Gardener’s Delight tomatoes that I ordered from The Organic Gardening Catalogue as plantlets, and eventually arrived from Rocket Gardens, wrapped rather nicely in straw, but a little bit unpromising all the same.

I’d potted them up and plunged them into water almost immediately:

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And they recovered so fast, despite the poor compost, that I was fearful of them becoming too leggy by the time I was able to pot them up:

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So I set to work, and used the biggest pots I could find:

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I put stakes in them, and assembled them on trays, giving this ensemble picture:

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Meet the band; anti-clockwise from bottom-left:

  1. Three lots of borlotti: two pots of three, staked; one pot of six, awaiting some more empty pots to transfer them to.
  2. Three tomatoes in a growbag tray, with two more tomatoes behind them in their own saucers.
  3. A partly hidden, flopped Delphinium.
  4. Those corkscrewing broad beans in the top right.
  5. An orangey Geum “Prinses Juliana”, and some herbs: salvia, rosemary etc.
  6. Three pots of kale, just at the top.
  7. A long grey planter of Pea “Latvian” and parsley as a catch crop.

Most pleasingly, I was able to use our own compost for all these pottings: the pine from the cat’s litter tray wasn’t entirely rotted down, but I also watered with a seaweed solution that should hopefully buffer against the locked-up nutrients. And I’ve also received a phone call about pallets, which means I can build a second composting bay soon enough, and then hopefully alternate, and always use well-rotted material.

This leaves a number of parsleys, plus some spring onion “White Lisbon”. I’m hoping I’ll find a more permanent home for them once I’ve done the levelling-off, but when that’s going to happen is anyone’s guess!

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