Living Soils, Growing Food Projects

Experiments

On finishing the Grow course Living Soils, Growing Food I found that there were lots of great experiments being set up and lots of great conversations happening. I know that I want to keep up to date on how those are going and that I would miss the conversations. Hoping to collect people under one thread so we can continue as we began.

Cheers,

Alan

66 comments

Hi Alan .

You are right and this website is a good place to continue our learning too . By the way your blog is nice :) . How is the weather in your area now ? Do you still have snow ? Have you read the book : Weeds Guardians of the soil by Joseph A. Cocannouer ? Have a great growing season .

Cheers

Ionuț

Hi Ionut, Thanks. Wish I had more time to spend on my blog. Finally got rid of the snow. It's been in the mid 40's F until this past Wednesday when it jumped into the low 80's. I'll be hitting the garden this week end. Haven't read that book yet but I'll put it on my list. Hope to hear how your project progresses.

Cheers,

Alan

Hello Alan and Ionut, I've just finished preparing my site and plan to mark out the plots this weekend. I hope the Grow email arrives with the instructions soon so that I can get started with sowing the seeds.

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Hi everyone, happy to be in touch here and follow your experiments

Hi all, have ordered all my sensors for my plots. Looks like I'm going to have the rare confluence of good weather and a weekend coming up so I hope to get my plot set up tomorrow. I'm considering expanding my original plan so I can also run the polyculture experiment in the same area. Glad some people were interested in keeping the conversations going.

Hi Alan .

Sometimes it’s hard to find time to do even small things .

It’s great to hear that the snow it’s gone but now will only get busier .

I know what you mean about weather , here was freezing and in two weeks time it’s hot and the weeds are knee tall :)!

The book it’s very interesting , puts weeds in a better light at least .

I’ve started sowing the seeds and planting the germinated beans but it’s already getting confusing .

  1. My choice is 2 m by 3 metres but I don’t want to step on the plot .

  2. I’ll need to sow more seeds than planed so there’s less space for weeds .

  3. I’ll have to water them at least 3 times a week .

But I am also looking forward to see how it evolves .

Let me know how you get on in the weekend .

Have a great weekend !

Cheers ,

Ionuț

Hello Diane .

How are you ? Is the weather getting better in Scotland too ?

How are you planning to start your beans ?

I’ve got another 10 soaking for the next plot .

Or if the the little munchers get the one I’ve planted out today .

I hope you’ll get your email so you can start the experiment .

Have a great weekend .

Best wishes ,

Ionuț

Hi Janna .

How are you ?

Are you taking part in the experiment ?

How is the weather now in your area ?

Can you grow anything outside yet ?

Wish you a great growing season .

Best wishes ,

Ionuț

Hi All,

I’m glad we are continuing the discussion!

@Alan what is you blog and where are you based (ie country)?

@ Ionut it certainly is the case in the U.K. that plants have really sprung to life over the last couple of weeks or so. I can’t wait for my strawberries next month.

Good morning Helen .

How are you ?

Yeah , it’s nice to continue the discussion :)

How’s the weather in Leeds ?

I hope it’s nice so you can do some gardening .

The strawberries in our allotments are flowering and some are setting fruits already !

Looking forward to taste some too :) .

Have a great weekend .

Ionuț

Hello Ionut The weather is not good for the time of year, so the soil is too cold and wet to plant the beans out directly so I'll start them inside in newspaper pots and transfer them when things warm up, if ever! I have always had trouble growing radishes here - they get eaten by mice, voles etc. The planting plan shows we have to plant them round the edge of the experimental polyculture plot so I doubt I'll get many to the edible stage in there! I usually have marigolds and nasturtiums as companions so they might help.

Hi Helen . Personally the idea of having them around didn’t work . So I just scattered the seeds around the plot , it’s a polyculture experiment anyway :) . Marigolds are my idea of companion plant and might sound weird , plantain .

Have a good day .

Ionuț

Morning Ionut and Diane, you were up as early as me!

Anyway, it’s beautiful weather here at the moment - I enjoyed my breakfast walking round the garden.

Last night, I sowed some beans directly into the ground. Since my soil is sandy loam, and is most definitely not too wet, I think it will be suitable, especially with increasing temperatures this weekend into next week.

There are marigolds which survived the winter and are already in bloom. I don’t know if they stop any insects etc but they must attract the right sort at least :-)

Morning all,

Ionut, 2m x3 m seems really wide. I would have left a path down the middle so I could weed and harvest more easily. Even 1 m is too wide to comfortably work from one side.

Helen, I'm in the US, east-central Ohio. It's the Appalachian hill country. My blog https://robertsroost-alan.blogspot.com/ is my ramblings about our life on our little farm (mostly). I'm trying to get back to writing more regularly.

Sounds like everyone is making good progress. The sun is shining this morning so I'm hoping to make some progress too.

Hi All, Diane, I am in Scotland too, and wondering how the french beans will do up here. I have started the indoors in loo roll tubes. The weather here has warmed up beautifully the last couple of days, long may it last! Not many days ago we had frosts and then a lot of rain, and now warm sun.

Alan, I follow another blogger in Ohio. Of course, this person might be a long way from you but to me it seems like a small world!

Anyway, thanks for the link to your blog. Looking forward to reading it.

Alan, not sure if the comment I posted on your blog will come up - I seem to have difficulty interacting on blogspot.com.

Anyway, you asked what readers think sustainability is. Maybe we’ve gone past the point where we can have sustainability now - regeneration and resilience might be a more appropriate focus?

Helen, not sure whats going on with the comments on my blog right now. Blogger sometimes has issues. I'll look into it. Looking forward to discussing sustainability with you. Back to the garden for now.

Hope you can sort out the comments issue on your blog.

Good afternoon to all . What a great weather ! Now it’s too hot :) , just joking I like sunny days . Sorry Diane I wrote Helen by mistake earlier . Hopefully you’ll get some radishes this year . Have you manage to find the Record Sheets ? I don’t know where you can find them . Good luck with the experiment ! Best wishes . Ionuț

Hi Helen . Sorry for earlier , the second message was for Diane . I guess it was very early :) . Me and my nearly 3 years son were watering in the allotments at 10 . Must’ve been nice to have breakfast in the garden ! :) Do you have any idea for slugs any snails ? Marigolds are great plants , do you know they are edible and used in herbal remedies too ? Also pollinators like them , especially hover flies . Good luck with the experiment ! Best wishes . Ionuț

Hi Alan . For some reason , I made the mistake of thinking the polyculture plot is 2 by 3 metres :)) . I thought the same , normally double reach beds are my favourite too . I’ll adjust it in the next week hopefully . Thank you for the suggestion . How did you get on today ? Have you managed to sow the seeds yet ? What kind of sensors are you using ? I hope you managed to get it started . Cheers , Ionuț

Hi Ionut - not to worry, its easy to do! No I can't find the record sheets so I'll just keep notes till we have to send our results in. best wishes Diane

Hi Ionut. Lunch break for me. Getting lots done. Not sure I will sow seeds today. Our last frost date is May 28th, and the long-range forecast has us dropping temp again. Don't want to have things sprout and then freeze. May start some in pots inside. I do have my tomatoes out today. I take them for a walk on days that are nice to get them ready to transplant the end of the month.

I'm mostly monitoring soil moisture in each of my plots. My long-term experiment is to look at how different techniques build soil (or dont...) I'll do an annual soil test to look at changes, but soil moisture is a good indicator and is key for sustainable food growing. I have a wireless weather station and wireless soil moisture sensors coming.

Hi Diane . Sounds like a good plan , I started keeping notes before the experiment . I am not that organised yet :) . Hopefully soon we’ll have more details . Have a good evening . Ionuț

Hi Alan . Sounds like you had a busy day . I’ve started tomatoes around January , last year was terrible , apart from one lady that grew blight resistant varieties every one else got the blight . Luckily I got a few unripe tomatoes to pickle :) Must be good to be able to check moisture levels I suppose you have a lot of ground to cover . Building soil is my main target too while getting some chemicals free harvest . Are you familiar with Geoff Lawton work ? He has a few great projects . Have a good evening . Ionuț

Hello all, I'm Tonje living in the South of Spain. Everything is prepared and I'm desperately waiting for the seeds I ordered from UK in April. They last told me to be patient and wait for another two weeks! They should only know how difficult that is :D

Hi Ionut and everybody else! TODAY I finnished preparing the growning site and got spinach and radish into the ground, beans has to be planted indoors first. Weather here in Stockholm, Sweden is just as crazy as in the UK. Really hot for two days, then around 5 degrees Celsius for two weeks, now this weekend summer hot again, but risk for frost until at least mid-May, often end of May. Haven’t planted anything outdoor yet except the GROW Experiment seeds. Seedlings are waiting indoors.

I have very sandy soil (sandy loam), the corner I’m using for the experiment have been totally overgrown with weed and last summer I dug it all up. This weekend I cut down a tree that was taking all the sun and decided to try Hugelculture, so I basically dug it into the ground, since it’s said to keep moisture in the ground (which is badly needed) and it will help build the soil in the coming years. Leaves, twigs, sod, everything went in, then I topped it off with some imported organic soil. Big experiment for me in every sense, never done anything like it, people thought I was a bit mad. This is the first year in the allotment, and I don’t know if snails, deer or rabbits will get to the goodies first, or if it will all dry out and die, or weed will go bananas. My neighbor said they never managed to grow anything on that side due to the soil. My plan is that this now heavily dug Hugelculture will be a no-dig plot from now on. The beans will be a good start.

I have prepared a kitchen garden with raised beds in another corner and will try out loads of different veggies to see what thrives. I realized a blog is a very convenient way to keep a journal and to share it, so I’m setting one up now. I will post images and notes from both the GROW Experiment and observations from my kitchen garden experiment ”sow a lot of seeds and see what happens”. I will let you know the URL soon :)

Hello Janna, goodness you have been busy! I have never heard of Hugelculture so I'm looking forward to hearing more about that and seeing your blog. I have one too but its mainly poems, stories and paintings, maybe I culd add a gardening page too! The weather here in Scotland has been very cold and wet apart from a few warm days so I've started my beans inside as well. After the last few warm days I'll be sowing the radish and spinach directly in the soil tomorrow but I'l also start some spinach inside at the same time because I'm fairly sure the outdoor ones will not make it ... I have lots of mice, snails and slugs to feed!

Hi Diane, yes very busy, it's been a marvelous working weekend! Please share your blog, I'm an artist too, but I work mostly with sound (and stories). I have a separate web for that. It was actually a comment on the last course that made me look up Hugelculture, never heard about it before. Very interesting.

Hi Tonje and welcome to the conversation.

Janna, I look forward to gett

getting your blog details. Good luck with the hugel beds!

And Diane, I second Janna on asking you for your blog address.

I’ve has a brilliant day of gardening - everything is flourishing and the blossom has just started to come out!

Hi. Im Rod from Fife. Had a busy day in the garden today. Ive planted the last of my onions. I put skme beetroot in a raised bed to join onions, carrots, mint and chard. Iput in peas and peashoots & started off my brassicas by putting in kohl rabbi seedlings. I finished weeding the experiment 2x3 area and cut back buddlia which partly overhangs the edge. Im starting the beans off in my attic as we get frosts in Scotland to the end of May. Ive never had much luck with spinach so here's hoping. It hit 20°C today which is very warm for here in May.

Hi Rod,

It’s set to cool down again after a day or two... I think spinach bolts if it’s hot, though I simply can’t grow it properly. Ie it never gets big and leafy (and then it bolts).

On the other hand, my chard is brilliant this year. And it still hasn’t bolted - yay!

Our last frost date isn’t much before yours but I’ve still decided to sow some beans straight into the ground as I don’t have enough space indooors. Does your attic get light?

Hello Janna, yes its been good gardening weather here too, hopefully it will be the same today! Here's my blog address, and I look forwards to seeing your gardening blog when you have it up and running . https://dianeswordsandpictures.wordpress.com/

[Naomi edited to make your link work)

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Hi Helen Yes its the only south facing room in my house with a couple of velux windows. I see Lidls is selling cold frames just now for £29. Looks like a bargain.

Yes, sounds like a bargain!

I tried to make one last year with the glass shelves from an old fridge but it didn’t work. I’ve found that stuff does germinate on non-south-facing windows, which is just as well, as I’ve only got four windows in my house, two of which are northeast-facing!

Anyway, I can imagine it must be quite warm in your attic at the moment as well.

Here's the blog (work in progress) with the first images of the site and experiment: https://perfectbeginner.wordpress.com/

(Diane and Alan, thanks a lot for your blog addresses, very insprational)

(Naomi edited to make your link work :) )

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Thanks Janna, mine is only a few months old as well, it takes a while to get going! Thanks for your address I'll have a look today.

Hello Tonje . That is pretty bad delivery service , who did you got them from ? I’ve ordered mine from eBay and got them in less then 2 weeks . Hopefully you’ll get them soon . Good luck with this growing season . Ionuț

Hi Janna . You seem very busy and done loads . I’ve seen you website too , the experiment plot looks better than mine :) . Wish you a good growing season , by the way it’s the first time I hear of Swedish soya beans !! Ionuț

Hello all . How is the experiment going to far ? My poor beans seems to struggle a bit to poke out . It’s quite dry here in Essex this time of the year . Even with lots of watering plants seem to struggle . Good luck and hopefully good weather for everyone ( without unexpected frost ) Ionuț

Ionut, it's just because nothing has happened yet! Structured and sterile..... I'm prepared for any kind of "look" in the near future. The slug-weed-heaven, or nothing-will-ever-germinate-dread. Maybe the Swedish soybean is perfect for UK too ;) I'll see if I can save some and export.

Hi all. Sorry I've been out of the conversation loop. Took advantage of the nice days and got some progress in the gardens. Now I'm back on my late work schedule so I have time to garden in the mornings and hopefully time to catch up on conversations after the students leave at night.

I got my experimental plots laid out and soil prep begun. Soil sample has been sent in to the lab and I expect results back in 8 to 10 days. In the kitchen garden my arugula, spinach, and kale are struggling with this sudden heat. Swiss Chard is up and will be the replacement for the cool greens. I was tempted to plant beans yesterday, but I know we will dip into frost territory once more before May is over. Then it will be safe.

Hope everyone's project is progressing. Wish this forum had a way to comment on the comments. Oh well. I'm still enjoying reading what y'all are doing. Keep writing.

Hi Alan, it sounds like you have made lots of progress, my experimental plot is ready now and today I'll be marking out the spaces and putting up the bean sticks. I had planned to have the first lot of seeds in by now but frosts, rain and illness got in the way. Hopefully I'll get everything started this weekend, the forecast here in SW Scotland is for rain tomorrow then a stretch of warm dry weather so that's promising. I'm interested in why you have sent soil samples to a lab - or are you joking? !

Hello everyone . In my experiment plot things are going well ! Radishes and a few beans are poking out so very happy ! Also we went to the primary school where kids are doing gardening with us and radishes , shallots and potatoes are doing great ! Hi Janna . It’s challenging in the beginning , when we took our plot the grass was waist high :) . I’ve looked after the soybeans and found them online , hopefully will try them . I am quite behind with the sowing but loads other things are growing well . Purple sprouting broccoli it’s doing good , so much that I’ve started to pickle some . Hopefully plants will start to grow soon in your garden too :)

Hi Alan . You are really busy , well done . What you testing in the soil ? Hopefully the weather will be good for you to keep on top of things . Do you grow sweet potatoes usually ? I am trying to grow the stokes purple this year , so you have any tips ? Cheers .

Hi Diane . Sorry to hear that you are feeling ill and the weather is getting worse . Hope you get well soon and the sun will shine again so you can do some gardening :) . Best wishes . Ionuț

Hi Ionut Thank you I am feeling better now and will be back in the garden very soon.
That's great your xplot is doing so well and that the children are joining in at school. My shallots and onions are ready to go out now too and broad beans and peas are coming along nicely inside. Once I've got the supports in I can plant them out as well. It will be nice to see crops in the ground after such a long winter.

Hi all. Got some double digging done on one of my test plots this morning. Feeling it now. Only two more sections to go for this plot. The other two plots should be easy. One gets filled with a rototiller and the other is no till deep mulch.

Ionut, I'm sending soul to the lab to get s baseline measurement of organic matter, pH, macro nutrients and cation exchange across the three plots. Next year I will test all three plots to see what change the different methods made to the soil. Then repeat for a few more years.

Hi Alan,

It would be really interesting to see how the different approaches change (or not) your soil.

Hello to all . How’s everyone doing ? I’ve been to the allotments yesterday and a few beans are gone but I’ve replaced them . Weeds are going crazy but I use them as mulch mostly . Strawberries , blueberries , black currants and cherries all blooming and setting fruits . Gooseberries are getting bigger , hopefully next month I can start cooking some unripe ones .

Hi Rod . How are you ? Do you know about the permaculture gathering in Scotland on 2nd of June ? Check the Scotland permaculture website , will be in St. Andrews , Fife . Cheers .

Hi Diane . I am glad you are feeling better . Have you manage to plant anything outside yet ? I’ve planted shallots and broad beans in autumn , thankfully they survived the winter . Best wishes .

Hi Alan . Do you often double dig or is it just part of the experiment ? When younger I use to dig my nan gardens all over , now hardly ever mostly when planting . Would deep mulch work for radishes and spinach ? Cheers

Hi Helen . How are you ? What varieties of chard you grow ? My favourite so far is the white one , took loads of frost last year . Do you ever save seeds from your plants ? Last year I’ve got loads of Chioggia beetroot seeds :) . Best wishes .

By the way who has Instagram ? Good luck to all !

Hello Ionut Yes, in my house veg plot I have my runner beans, broad beans, onions and shallots outside now and peas will go in today or tomorrow. I started them all inside to give them the best start. My 2 apple trees are just about to flower and my gooseberries are attracting the bees, I have 2 blueberries that are slowly establishing themselves and my strawberries are setting fruit - can't wait for those. Do you make gooseberry jam? Its my favourite. I'm making the first bean, spinach and radish sowings today. I'll try the spinach and beans directly in the soil but I'm going to start some inside as well in case the mice, voles etc eat them. I've never had much success with radish here, the seeds disappear pretty much overnight. I've got some French marigolds ready to plant out round the xplot and plan to have a flower seed sowing binge tomorrow as part of this https://butterfly-conservation.org/ Plot for Pollinators. I have a strip I can use and I already have some of the plants growing close by .... this has turned into a long answer, sorry!

Hello Diane . Sounds like you been busy :) . Well done ! Sounds good . Our apple trees are in bloom too , last year we only had a few . Gooseberries were one of the best crops , and I’ve had a few attempts to make jam . Initially didn’t wanted to use too much sugar but I had to increase a bit after . It’s great , especially mixed with strawberries , plum cherries or crabapples :) . I like to help butterflies and other pollinators and have many plants for them . Hopefully soon I’ll be able to sow some echinops and other wildflowers , yesterday planted some sunflower seeds from last year . Don’t worry I often write or talk too much :) .
Best wishes .

Great to have a thread to keep track of the various formal and informal experiments! Mine are informal and this year include: growing quinoa for the 1st time; seeing how much nitrogen my fava beans fixed in the spring for this summer's tomatoe, pepper & aubergine crops; trying pole beans as a companion for some crops that are only supposed to be compatible with bush beans; exploring water saving potential through 5-litre containers sunk into the soil. No results to report yet, but a recent thunderstorm with good rain (and hailstones small enough not to damage the just planted out seedlings) gave everything a boost.

Hi Stephanie,

I hope your containers sunk into the soil does the trick - are you letting the water trickle out slowly? If so, how are you doing this?

Hi Ionut,

I have been growing Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’, though it self-seeds each year, so I don’t have to sow any myself.

Other seeds I save are garlic - or rather bulbils from the garlic when it bolts. I’ve also found that garlic grown from bulbils instead of cloves produces lots of small bulbs with the main one, which I’m also using to grow my crop.

Other experiments are seeds from a butternut squash I bought and from a courgette given by friends. I am trying this for the first time this year, though, so can only say that they have germinated.

There are seeds from my green manure, phacelia, which I will never need to buy again (I think!) as well as other self-seeders such as wild rocket. I’m not sure if the cold winter won’t have finished off the nasturtiums, although in the back garden the marigolds not only survived but had green leaves throughout!!!

Hi All, Made a little more progress. Hope to be planting by Tuesday.

Ionut, I did some double digging in my main garden when I started it 10 years ago. Now I don't. I'm doing it in the experimental plot because I want to measure long term impact of different methods on soil building.

Helen, sounds like you save lots of seeds. It will be interesting to see how your squash turn out. When I've tried they always end up having crossed with something and produce very strange results.

Hello to all . It’s nice that this discussion is still going , might be the longest on this website :) . Today I’ve bought another rhurbarb plant “Champagne “

Hi Stefanie . I’ve grown quinoa for two years and I’ll try the black and red seed ones this year . Good luck with your polycultures !

Hi Helen . Bright lights are great I’ve grown them in 2014 but haven’t saved the seeds them . I’ve had phacelia in bees and butterflies seed mix , very nice plant . It’s great to save seeds !
Last year I’ve grown butternut squash from the seeds saved from shop bought one . It’s been growing well , got a few big ripe one and 3 green ones to cook straight away from a plant . This year I have Kabocha squash in the garden already . Last year no luck with courgettes ..I’ll try again soon . Also wild rocket and French tarragon don’t germinate for me yet . Did you liked Geoff Lawton website ? Best wishes .

Hi Alan . I’ve heard of double digging but haven’t done yet . How do you think your soil looks compared to 10 years ago ? What was your best crop last year ? Good luck with the experiment and all your projects .

Cheers

Hi Ionut,

Yes, this must be one of the longest threads lol.

Perhaps it’s the weather which has been making courgettes hard to grow over the last year or so?

I haven’t been able to look at Geoff Lawton’s website as it seems you have to become a member, something I’m reluctant to do, as it is will probably mean lots of emails I never end up reading ;-)

Anyway, great that you got a shop-bought squash to produce babies. That bodes well for my little experiment - and I love butternuts :-)

Hi Alan,

Yes, it would definitely be a bonus if it were possible to comment on comments. It would also be nice to be able to edit your own comments.

Anyway, it’s good to hear what everyone is doing or dealing with! Are comments on your blog working now?

Hi Helen and Alan. You can edit your posts by clicking on the three dots in the top right corner of the post. Let me know if you have any problems with this.

Hopefully we'll soon be able to make it possible to comment on comments. It's on our list.

Hi All, Glad the conversation continues. Sarah, thanks for the tips. Hope to see the comment option soon.

Ionut, the beds I started by double digging and have managed quite intensively look great, and are very productive. But that's just the issue. Look great isn't very scientific and isn't reproducible. Hopefully a few years of systematically gathering data will tell me what is really happening. Best crop last year was tomatoes. We had a long hot spell that really helped them. Worst was anything in the squash family. Lost the battle with the bugs.

Helen, I think I have the comments on my blog fixed. Working on a post this evening. Hopefully everything will be working.

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Hello all .

Sorry that couldn’t reply earlier .

It takes some time to get back to comments and tricky to find the time to write . Tomorrow the Monoculture plot should be ready but still have heard anything about soil test kit , might forget about it .

Hi Helen . My courgette didn’t survived the slugs and snails probably . I’ll start some yellow variety from the growing magazine :) . Geoff Lawton website it’s a great source of information, a bit like a PDC , doesn’t send emails .

Have you heard of Greening the Desert project ? There’s new updates , even on YouTube . Good luck with your butternut squash , please let me know how it goes .

Hi Sarah . I cannot see the three dots , maybe because using the mobile . Hopefully soon the comments will be easier to reply to :) . Thank you .

Hi Alan .

Sounds very good and yeah it’s important to be able to reproduce the results . I’ll try to be more organised about my data gathering .

I am glad you got loads of tomatoes , do you preserve some for winter ?

About squashes , do you think they've cross pollinated ? I only grown one variety last year and neighbours didn’t had any close .

This year might be challenging I want to grow at least 3 varieties plus cucumbers and melons so will see in the end . I’ll be keeping watching your website for updates . Cheers

Hi Ionut and All,

Had trouble getting pictures to upload from my mobile to my blog yesterday. Will try again today. Ive been planting like a crazy person in my kitchen garden. Still some crops left to get in. Tomorrow I'll put up trellising from my tomatoes and get them transplanted. I'm still a week early for my area, but I'm going to bet the weather will hold.

Ionut, we put up lots of tomatoes. Usually we preserve enough to meet our needs for the whole year for things like sauce, stewed tomatoes, and roasted tomatoes. We do buy a few to have fresh during the winter (they aren't very good) but other than that we only eat our own.

I'm pretty sure that cross pollination is a big problem in squash. I have had melons cross with cucumbers (not great eating) and winter squash cross with decorative gourds (also not good). If you are growing more than one kind you will have to bag a bloom and hand pollinate it or it will cross with something and the result will be weird. Good luck.

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone’s gardens are thriving as we head towards June!

Ionut - good to know the Lawton site won’t be emailing me.

Yes, I have heard of Greening the Dessert but not watched or read anything about it.

Sarah - I too cannot see the dots in the corner. Again, I’m using a mobile.

On that note, in the long term, it would be great if the Grow Observatory hub could be made compatible with mobiles.

Alan - thank goodness all my cucurbits are savoury! However, I can see that butternut squash, cucumber and courgette might produce some unusual vegetables.

Hi All,

Poked forward a bit on the garden again today. More in my kitchen garden than with the experimental plots. (I need to clone myself...) I posted a bit about my kitchen garden on my blog, and will be catching up on the experiment this weekend.

Helen, I once had watermelon cross with cucumber. It looked like a beautiful melon but tasted rather odd.

Thanks All for continuing the conversation. I'm enjoying it.

Hello everyone .

I’ve finished sowing all the seeds for the experiment and applied for the pH kit .

Still ahead with planting but I also hope for good weather .

That’s a great achievement Alan , well done . Tomatoes in the winter are a sad joke , they don’t taste or smell like tomatoes . When I buy them usually is the smell that make me decide .

My grandad and nan use to grow loads of tomatoes too , loads of jars for the winter and we use to eat them straight in the garden with a pinch of salt :) .

Cross pollination can have some weird results :) .

Have you tried planting more flowers around the squashes and cucumbers ? I wonder if that helps but hand pollination is safer . Cheers

Hi Helen . How do you grow your cucumbers and what varieties ? Do you grow them in the greenhouse ?

I’ll give a try to Marketmore 76 this year hopefully with some results .

What trees do you have growing in your forest garden ? Best wishes .