Tuesday 2 July 2013

The Victory Garden - May - The Merry Month

"Button to chin till May be in, 
Cast not a clout till May be out"

Wow honestly where is the time going! June has whizzed passed me in a blur and April & May seem to be almost a distant memory now, so it's no surprise that I am way overdue with another instalment from The Victory Garden!
The Victory Garden - White Damson Blossom shot against a pale blue sky
Finally, some beautiful spring blossom, crossing my fingers for some damson berries soon!!
So May in the Victory Garden was mainly...

The Victory Garden - View of Allotment in may
Weeding : I managed to keep on top of the weeds, just! Please don't look too closely at that bottom section, it's rather green and lush but not from veggies!

The Victory Garden -Young rhubarb plant in a pot covered in rain drops
Watering : The February planted Rhubarb is looking good!

The Victory Garden - Potatoes peeking through the earthed up banks
Covering: The Potatoes finally were sprouting enough needed earthing up!

The Victory Garden - Young Leek seedlings looking like grass in the seed try
Nurturing : The leeks were slowly getting bigger and bigger won't be long before they can be planted out! 

And last but not least Planting:

Wartime Seed Varieties: Long Surrey, Red Elephant, Scarlet Horn, Standard, Sutton's Scarlet Intermediate Early Horn, Early Market & James Intermediate.
Sow seed thinly in drills drawn 1 ft. apart and 1 in. deep. As carrot seed is small, mix a little dry earth or sand to avoid too thick sowing, which wastes seed and means a good deal of thinning. First thin in the seedling stage and keep the bed free from weeds by frequent use of the hoe. Plants should finally be 6 in. apart. (Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945) 
The Victory Garden - Seed tape Carrot seed Packet

I had no luck at all with the carrot seed, the only thing that grew were weeds, in the photo below you can clearly see a sparse row of radishes (to the left) and to the right there should be three rows of carrots, lots of weeds are sprouting, not one carrot seedling to be found :( Still there is still time to plant some more so fingers crossed!

The Victory Garden - Radish and Carrot seed have been planted in a raised bed
Radishes and Weeds where my Carrots should be!
Wartime Seed Varieties: Crimson Giant Forcing, French Breakfast, Long Scarlet, Long White Icicle, Scarlet White, Scarley Olive, Spanish Black, Scarlet Globe & Parkler.
Don't forget to sow them little and often, if you like them. Sow very thinly and there will be no need to thin the seedlings. A useful idea is to sow a few radish seeds in the drills along with onions, carrots and beet. Plant one seed every 6 in. or so along the drills; they grow quickly and show you the line of the drill before the other seeds germinate. Hoeing and weeding can then begin earlier.(Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945)
The Victory Garden - A bunch of french breakfast Radishes

As I mentioned above I managed to grow a row of french breakfast radishes which were really delicious, I have planted my next lot in my back garden so that I can pick them as soon as they are ready and make very fresh salads!

Wartime Seed Varieties: Best of All, Emperor Improved, Emperor White, Hollington's Pinceps, The Marvel, Hackwood Park Success, Prizewinner, Scarlet Emperor, The Czar, White Dutch.
The plants are very tender and seeds should not be sown in the open until May, though early crops may be secured by sowing in boxes in a frame or a greenhouse and transplanting later. In the open, sow the seed in double rows with 9 in. of space between the plants. For single rows, the plants should stand 12 in. apart.(Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945)
The Victory Garden - Scarlet Emperor Runner Bean Seed Packet

I chose Scarlet Emperor as they were a wartime variety and I have been planting successive trays of runner beans eight seeds and a few weeks apart at a time since may! The First batch went into my newly dug 'Anderson Shelter Garden' and the remaining will be put in the allotment when they are ready!
The Victory Garden - Runner bean plants beginning to grow up a cane pyramid
Anderson Shelter Runner Beans
Wartime Seed Varieties: Green Bush, Green Trailing, Pen-y-byd, White Bush, White Trailing.
Choose a sunny corner for your marrows, digging in some well-rotted manure or compost into the bottom of the bed, which should be taken out one spit deep. Sow towards the end of May, placing groups of four or five seeds about 6 in. apart and 1 in. deep. Eventually thin to two plants, 12 to 15 in. apart. (Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945)
The Victory Garden - Long Green Bush Marrow Seed Packet from Premier Seeds Direct

I chose Green Bush variety from Premier Seed Direct as I have grown them in the past and they have always grown well, I love the fact with Marrows you can harvest them when they are really small, for Courgettes/Zucchini or leave them a while longer to grow into fully fledged Marrows.

The Victory Garden - Marrow Seedlings in a seed tray

All of the marrow seed I planted have germinated this year, which is lovely and also a little worrying as I am not entirely sure I will have enough room for them all!

Wartime Seed Varieties: Canadian Wonder Select, Masterpiece, Monster Negro, Canadian Wonder, Excelsior, Green Gem, Green Haricot.
The ministry's cropping plan provides for two rows of dwarfs. The plants of dwarfs are tender and should not be sown in the open until mid-April in the south and mid-May in the north. Successive batches can be sown until mid-July. Rows should be 2 ft. or 2-1/2 ft. apart, with 9 in. between plants. Use a dibber, or draw a shallow trench with a hoe, about 2 in. deep.(Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945)
The Victory Garden - Dwarf French Bean Sprouting from a seed
Dwarf French Bean
I have chosen some Dwarf French Beans called 'Borlotto Suprema' which I got from Rabbit-Nutrition on Ebay.  I know More Beans!!! I am certainly going to have to find some really good recipes for all the different beans we are going to be consuming shortly, any suggestions?

Wartime Seed Varieties: Ailsa Craig, Early Dawn, Early Prolific, Holmes Supreme, Kondine Red, Market King, Paynes Royal, Stonors MP, V.C. Open Air & Sunrise
Judging by the response to the Ministry's advertisements in earlier years, the tomato is crop No.1 with war-time gardeners and allotment holders...As with so many gardening jobs there is no fixed date for planting; it varies from about May 20 in the south-west to the end of the second week in June in the north. Little is gained and much may be lost by rushing plants out of doors a week or ten days before the weather has warmed up. (Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945)
The Victory Garden - Alacante Tomato Plant growing in a Paint pot

I was kindly given four 'Alicante' tomato plants by my adorable next door neighbour, Richard - he manages to grow the most amazing crops from is a very small veg garden, it's truly inspiring.  I was going to put these into the allotment, but decided to keep them at home so I could keep a controlling eye over them and stop them from getting too wild and woolly, which seems to happen very quickly!

The Victory Garden - Alacante Tomato Plants Growing in a grow bag and paint Can

They are currently growing on my patio, three of them in a Growbag and the forth in an old emulsion paint can - nothing is wasted here!

So that was May, and what a busy month it was, next up June!
Wendy x


  1. It's all coming along nicely. I too just grow so many types of beans. I'm hoping to pick the gooseberry this week.

    1. Thank You!! Ooh Yum, I've only got one single gooseberry this year, I guess its payment for moving the plants so late in the year! xx

  2. Great to see how it's all coming along! X

  3. You have been busy. Your tomato plants look great - I wonder if we'll have a decent summer this year and get fruit! Last year I think I got about three tomatoes, but 2013 is looking a bit better.

  4. Thank You Mim! Oh I do hope so, I had a similar thing last year, I had quite a few tomatoes but sadly they all went black from blight! xx

  5. I never knew the beginning of that rhyme before, and now I do! As we don't have a proper garden we have a tub of runner beans which is growing at the rate of knots and also a strawberry plant which has been in the same hanging basket for two years or more and has been snowed upon and out in nasty frosts but it plods on and we still have strawberries!