I’m running out of room! Already! This Cavallo Nero is occupying the spot where I want to plant this baby button squash. If leafy greens this time of year are hard, fruiting annuals are dead easy. The problem is that they tend to be large plants with triffid-like inclinations. Every year I swear I will plant just one cucumber each planting break, every year they seduce me with their cute little tendrils and zest for life, and every year by summer I am up loading up every poor unsuspecting visitor with huge green creatures from the black lagoon.
The fallout is that by summer I have run out of places to plant another round, which means that the glut is followed by a shortage as they all die off at the same time. I am usually saved by the fact that, this time of year they are so easy to grow that they grow themselves – there is often a self-sown wild one that is inappropriately climbing up the clothes line or the garden setting to fill in the late season lean time.
This year the chocka moment has come early, mostly because the cooler and wetter than normal weather means that more of my spring crops are hanging on. Most of my peas succumbed to powdery mildew a month ago, but one little area of late planted Telephone peas are still bearing, right where I want to plant tomatoes.
Advanced seedlings are the answer. I will plant the squash at the top, and the tomatoes waiting for the pea spot to be vacated, into larger pots, with a good handful of compost to keep them going and a weekly watering with seaweed brew. I would be giving them the compost when I planted out anyhow, and the seaweed brew will help them develop the nice thick cell walls that they may need to combat fungus diseases in this wet season.
They should, with luck, be happy like that until next fruiting break, by when the kale and the peas should surely be finished and ready to come out. There will then be just a matter of weeks when that particular spot in the garden is not actually harvesting, before I can start picking squash and tomatoes. I can’t easily increase the size of my garden in space, but I can enlarge it in time.
I shall also plant another round of seed, just one cucumber, I promise, and one squash and one zucchini, and a dozen beans – brown seeded snake beans this time I think – and three more capsicums and some red eggplants. I shall leave the corn for this round. It doesn’t like being planted like this, in small quantities in succession. It needs a block at least half a dozen rows deep to pollinate reliably, and I already have about 80 plants in, and I really have run out of room for more!