Tundra cabbage, the flowering tops of Delaway winter kale, the first young garlic and a few garlic scrapes will make a wonderful stir-fry

It’s the middle of May and the last couple of weeks have been very busy, catching up with planting, transplanting and sowing.  The brassicas I sowed in late March needed to be transplanted into their riased beds.  I noticed that the dreaded Small Cabbage wWhite is around and found a few clusters of their yellow eggs on the underside of some of the leaves, so I decided to cover immediately with a fine mesh to protect the crop.

cabbage and cauliflower transplants on 5th May

The cabbage and broccoli I transplanted back in March are growing on well and should be ready for eating in the next few weeks.

Greyhound summer cabbage and broccoli with transplants behind

This very dry spring has been a challenge.  Not only do salad crops need lots of water, so do peas and carrots  Yesterday I installed a trcikle irrigation system on a couple of my raised beds and over several hours emptied a large water butt onto them.  You can see the system at work in this photo.  Highly recommended I say.  I bought enough tubing and connectors to irrigate 6 of my beds at any one time for just £29.  It’s worth checking out 

I am a passionate advocate of polytunnels.  They extend the growing season dramatically.  Having had problems with overwintering broad beans suffering recent very cold winters I sowed Aquadulce in a polytunnel last November and am now able to harvest a good crop of lovely beans.  With my second lot of early potatoes, the delicious variety Accord, now eating well another feast tonight is in order

Tender young broad beans ready for picking

Spring harvest


As well as transplanting cabbages last week I have also transplanted one of the tastiest squash I know, Pompeon, into one of my polytunnels.  I am growing aa American heirloom Armenian cucumber too.  I planted four rather straggly plants, two-feet apart in the greenhouse on the allotment and plan to train them up canes and along wires.  I also planted a couple of melon called Sugar Baby with which I have had some success in the past.

Young Armenian cucumbers with ripening strawberries on 15th MaySyrian courgettes transplanted on 8th May under bell cloches

I like to give my courgettes plenty of room so plant them at about three-foot intervals. I’ll keep the bell cloches on them for a couple of weeks until they are growing on strongly.  Courgettes, like all cucurbits are greedy feeders in need of lots of water.  I will eat some of the crop but plan to select a number of courgettes to grow to full maturity so that I can save and share the seed.  I amexcited about this local Syrian variety as the ones I ate in Syria in April where firm and tasty, a marked improvement on most courgettes I have eaten before.


  1. hi adam im new to gardening but really enjoy it, this year i produced some great courgettes. its tomatoes i want advice on, my tom plant is huge almost 6ft in hight and cained to keep it upright, its covered in tomatoes but there not ripe. at what stage should they be? or is that down too the sun? which we dont have… when should i dispose of the plant?? its outside in the garden which is now frosty… help as i want to learn for next year… thank you.

    • Dear Joanna, Firstly, I am so sorry not to have got back to you sooner, but I have simpl;y not been keeping up to date with posts. Now then, if you are growing tomatoes outside in the UK then I would recommend you do not let them get too tall. Pinch out the top of the plant after you get four trusses of fruit. Tomatoes take longer to ripen if you just let them keep on growing more flowers. Always grow them in a warm and sunny location. Green tomatoes can be picked and put in a draw lined with newspaper in a cool, dark place and they will ripen over several weeks. Outdoor tomatoes were very slow to mature in 2011 because of teh cool summer so hopefully you will have better luck in 2012.
      Best wishes

    • Hi Joanna,

      Your tomato plant is probably well and tuly dead by now. If you are planning to grwo again outside this year then I would suggest you sow seed of an outdoor variety in AMrch somewhere warm like a sunny window-sill. Check out my website on ho to sow etc. I have a variety called SAlt Spring Sunrise you might like to try. Send me an s.a.e and a few stamps and I’ll send you a packet to get you started.

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