The time has come to plant out our sweet potatoes. They have taken root in their pots in the greenhouse and are ready to venture into the outside world. We would normally wait a week or two longer but the recent warm temperatures are sufficient to keep them very happy. As always they will be grown in a metal raised bed and trained up a pyramid obelisk.

As it is such an impressive crop to look at, we always make sure to plant them where they can be seen when entering the garden. So many visitors have commented on how lovely they look over the past few years. Other than preparation, they take very little looking after apart from a good watering and feed once a week and have rewarded us year upon year with a lovely crop of large tubers. It is a crop I would thoroughly recommend for anyone to try.

The soil in the raised bed has been enriched with lashings of well-rotted manure as sweet potatoes are hungry feeders and like a fertile soil. The soil is them topped with a layer of black landscape fabric. This helps to keep the soil warm and moist. The obelisk is then placed onto the bed before planting the little slips out all around the base before being watered in. Should unexpected cold weather threaten, we will cover them with fleece. They will then be fed weekly with liquid seaweed and tied in to the obelisk as they grow.

Tomato flowersInside the greenhouse the cucumbers and tomatoes are scrambling up their supports. We are tying them in as they grow.

The tomatoes will be pinched out once they have set 6 trusses of fruit, or reached the greenhouse roof, whichever comes first!

The cucumbers will be trained up their supports and then along the roof bars of the greenhouse. This provides shade for the plants underneath them and allows the later summer fruits to hang down for easy picking; although we usually need a step ladder to reach them!

Elsewhere in the garden we are also tying in our broad beans, brussel sprouts and broccoli. All of these can hold their own weight but could easily be snapped in a strong wind or bend with the weight of their crop.

We will be harvesting our first strawberries of the year this week. Our first proper taste of summer. Can’t wait!

Happy Gardening!