Broad beans stake and string support

May 2020 update, fast new growth but frost returns, sowing methods, pea supports, compost heaps, carrots, slugs & flea beetles

We just had a week of summer weather, now winter returns briefly. Old weather lore refers to the ice nights of 11th-13th May! I hope you can cover potatoes enough to protect them, and any other frost sensitive plants. I have never experienced frost on plants that are so forward, such as broad beans actually cropping! Usually they are flowering at last frost.

Late frost

It’s the gardener’s nightmare, early warmth followed by late cold. April here was the sunniest ever and unusually warm, May started warm until 10th. Now we shall have a night or two of freezing, how cold depends on each garden’s microclimate. Built-up and coastal areas see less frost.

Homeacres is in a wide valley so tonight I expect -2 or even -3C, perhaps 27F. Fleece gives some protection, if it’s not too windy to secure on the evening before!

New growth

I never imagined picking broad beans on 10th May. I used to think that 30th May was good going! The garlic also shows how much growth can happen when spring is warm. I hope that it warms for you soon in Orkney, Ontario and parts of NE USA where I hear about late snow.

Lettuce banker, almost

Spring is the season for lush new leaves on lettuce. The high light levels, without too much heat, suit it well and it’s now the main ingredient for my salad bags. Salad rocket and mustards are now in flowering season so we add pea shoots, sorrel and beet leaves instead. Dill replaces chervil.

One snag for lettuce, spinach and beetroot this spring is leatherjackets, see my post for early May. Wow the mild winter helped them survive! We feel through the compost under eaten plants, to find them. Not a pleasant job.

Sowing methods

I had two rows of parsnips not germinate. My fault, two year old seed, thought to try. So with newer (one year old!) seed I dibbed holes between the lines of radish, and popped three seeds in each, then watered the rows. It was quick, the surface compost is soft.

On 9th May I sowed French and climbing beans, Borlotti and runner. One seed per cell, the trays on my hotbed in the greenhouse. It’s still early for outdoor sowing because they need warm soil to get away well, by late may here.


My main sowing of 21st March is now growing well and we even thinned them a little. Very little weeding needed, it’s homemade compost which heated sufficiently to kill weed seeds. Not that there were many.

The French Breakfast radish were good too, last week. I kept the fleece on after that harvest.

At this stage I find it best to replace fleece with mesh. Cooler, and better protection from root flies.

Compost heap sides and moisture level

Moisture comes mostly from green leaves, and until through spring they are quite moist. That may change soon. Also if you add extra brown it may be that some watering will help.

It helps to conserve moisture by lining sides with cardboard, to hold moisture and warmth. It’s a myth that air needs to enter the sides.

Currently we are spreading last autumn’s heap in the polytunnel, after pulling winter salad plants and before planting summer vegetables. The thickness is about 3cm or just over an inch, after walking on it. I do that to conserve moisture and help roots develop better, they like it firm. Which is not the same as compact.


Peas and broad beans have grown in the warmth. Now they may be regretting it! We have 35mph/58kph gusts as I write, and only just above freezing too. I am always amazed at what plants can tolerate. Pea stems for example feel so fragile.

The photos give ideas for how we support them. The old fashioned hazel branches are excellent for offering many twigs to pea tendrils. The long strings need more time to slot growing pea stems up the middle and on the correct side for support.

Slugs and flea beetles

A tidy garden has fewer slugs. Compost mulches harbour fewer slugs than mulches of straw. Yes, compost is a mulch, contrary to what I often hear.

Slug control comes from good gardening to prevent them, rather than remedies to kill them. I just hate seeing the way that slug pellets are used so massively, so much poison, so unnecessary. The first photo below is NOT Homeacres!!

Pellets kill a lot of beneficial life which then cannot help plant roots. Even so-called “organic” slug  pellets contain harmful chelates (binding agents), which have slipped below the ‘organic’ radar. Please don’t use them.

For flea beetles, best remedies are 1 use finest grade of mesh, and 2 raise seedlings undercover, where the beetles are less numerous than outside.

Plus don’t expect unhealed leaves in brassica salads until autumn, unless in a coastal or remote area.


April sun after March showers, brings forth May flowers!

Suddenly there is a feeling of summer riches, and roses even. In the hedgerows are boughs laden with hawthorn and some early elderflowers. The ash trees are coming into leaf, but they don’t do well in frost.

86 thoughts on “May 2020 update, fast new growth but frost returns, sowing methods, pea supports, compost heaps, carrots, slugs & flea beetles

  1. Hi Charles,
    Do you put straw under your strawberries? I’m thinking it might become a lovely hiding place for slugs?

    1. Exactly and I don’t! They don’t get much dirt from compost mulch, and have good microbes 🙂

  2. Hi Charles,
    We are so glad we came on your No Dig day course last October. Once Lockdown was announced we planned even more planting and are achieving great results. Using fleece has been fantastic for keeping pigeons, rabbits and pheasants at bay. Now it is getting warmer so we want to use mesh with hoops. I would rather not use plastic hoops and see you have wire hoops that you make yourself out of 4mm wire. Where do you buy this from? I have seen some on Toolstation but it doesn’t look like yours.

  3. Hi Charles,

    We had some small rust spots on overwintered leeks, but this did not seem to have any affect on yeald or quality. The overwintered garlic is now showing signs of heavy rust spots on all leaves but again after pulling one and checking the stem and bulb it does not seem to have affected the growth or quality once the outer leaves were stripped.

    Today we’ve just discovered rust spots affecting all spinach and chard leaves in two separate beds either side of the garlic bed. Is it possible that the allium rust could have spread onto spinach and chard, or are we seeing a different fungal growth perhaps?

    Also could you offer any advise on a remedy to deal with the rust spots on the spinach and chard?

    Many thanks for all your amazing work!

    1. Hi Ken
      I don’t think it’s the same rust. I would not worry about spinach in late May as it’s heading to flower. If the chard is a new planting, that is odd!
      Whatever, I have no remedy I’m afraid, for the garlic rust. Yes the harvest can be ok!

  4. Been doing some interesting experiments with radish as a hungry gap vegetable this season. I sowed around 2sqm with 6 radish rows and harvested 10lb, including leaves and roots, from the first 1sqm. Topped and tailed, the edible root portion was around 6lb. However, there are recipes out there for ‘radish leaf soup with caraway’, so you can even turn the leaves into yummy food too. I put them down to compost, as we needed some green material to balance the abundance of brown (grass grows slowly during 3 months of drought).

    These radish are not as perfect and beautiful as the April ones, but they do provide an abundance of healthy food at a time when fresh veg is somewhat thin on the ground. I have made risottos, a variety of soups (with asparagus and last year’s Red Kuri squash), tried roasting them with honey and Balsamic vinegar and generally searched around for how to cook radish in an interesting way.

    Two rows left to harvest before next weekend, when courgette plants are due to go in. The beetroot replacing the first three rows are going in this evening.

    Definitely worth considering as a hungry gap vegetable, not just a salad delicacy.

      1. Sadly, I fried my young Kohlrabi seedlings on a hot April afternoon leaving them on a table in the sun….

        Live and learn 😁

  5. Hi Charles, just wondering what the substrate/matting is beneath your modules is in the photo of ‘Greenhouse propagation hotbed 10th May’? I was also wondering if you know about any plastic-free alternatives to fleece. We’re attempting to use as little plastic in our garden as possible but finding it hard to protect our seedlings from birds and cold.


    1. Jake, under the module trays is a wood frame sitting on horse manure, for warmth.
      I have tried cotton muslin from a mill in Bradford, it works but is expensive, then rots under any damp weight.

  6. Hi Charles. Thank you for another excellent update filled with great information. I am really enjoying my first foray into gardening and I am glad I found your videos and website before starting out. I am enjoying learning about propagating seeds and that part is going well. Growth seems quite slow when I transplant my seedlings and I was wondering if that was a result of brand new beds that need to “settle in”? Like a poster above, my compost seems very firm, difficult to dib holes in. Do you think these are no dig teething problems or do you think my compost might be lacking some nutrients or something else? I know it’s impossible for you to diagnose without seeing anything but I’d love to hear your thoughts or from anyone else who might have had similar experience. thanks. All the best.

    1. Thanks Brian, sorry to hear about the compost, although firm is generally good.
      Perhaps it was still-fresh green waste black compost, still warm in the heap when you applied it?
      I would try applying 2in/5cm all purpose potting compost as top layer to help plants get away. Any issue with existing compost should decrease as it matures this summer.

      1. Thank you for replying! I was thinking something similar. I used my budget to get as much compost as I could for the area I wanted to plant in. In hindsight, I probably should have spent the same money on half as much compost for a superior product. Lesson learned and I will continue to try to improve what I have. Best wishes.

      2. One last thing. Should I still be covering with fleece when I plant out seedlings raised in the greenhouse or is it now warm enough (Central Belt, Scotland) to just pop them in and leave them? Thank you so much.

      3. I have noticed a couple of growths of what look like (from some basic google searches) peziza repanda fungus in the compost. Would this indicate a compost that has too much wooden content that is still breaking down? Could this cause slow growth?

  7. Hi Charles,
    My potatoes suffered from Monday night’s cold spell, they are now covered with fleece, I’m just wondering if they will recover?
    I did cover my peas with fleece, I’m also wondering if they are more frost hardy than potatoes?
    I’m located in Staffordshire and I thought my garden was quite sheltered but obviously not.

  8. Good morning Charles, from New England Zone 6,

    I am fascinated by your ability to overwinter many cool season vegetables. Winter in New England seems decidedly harsher than your location, with deep snow and temps that can get down to less than 20F.

    Can you recommend any plants for this hardiness zone that can overwinter in a cold frame, or raised bed poly tunnel, or even fleece?

    Thank you kindly and thank you for sharing all your wonderful knowledge with the world.

  9. Hi Charles. Thank you for such a useful and helpful website and also for your many amazing youtube videos. Your propagation methods in particular have really improved my vegetables and the enjoyment I get from growing them.

    I have a general question for you as I plan ahead for what to grow next year next year. I have a young family so can’t spend as much time in the garden as I would like. If you could only grow 7 or 8 varieties of veg a year, with max 2 varieties sown in any month, what would you choose? (Scary thought for you I imagine!) FYI I live south-east Scotland. I would say our frost record is similar to yours , however the summer temperatures are generally significantly lower.

    1. March–lettuce or peas, probably best started indoors, but may not be necessary.
      April–peas or lettuce (whichever wasn’t planted outside in March)
      April–kale or scallion or radish
      May–kale or scallion or radish (whichever wasn’t planted outside in April)
      May–cucumber or summer squash, such as scallop squash or zucchini
      June–green beans
      June–winter squash or pumpkin

  10. Hi Charles,
    thanks for all the useful info! Here on the German North Sea coast the weather is quite similar to yours. It’s pretty cold for May with temperatures between 3 and 12 degrees (Centigrade), but at least it doesn’t freeze at night.
    Anyway, I have a question regarding broad beans. I planted my broad beans quite late this year and had it covered the whole time with fleece (wild rabbits in the area…); it seems they are doing pretty well, but how do I eventually recognize damage from low temperatures or frost? Another thing. I observed ants cutting pieces of broad bean leaves. It seems to me that the plants don’t suffer too much, especially because they grow quite fast and there is no shortage of new leaves, but I’m worried they will start farming aphids. What would you suggest to friendly drive ants away?

    1. Hi Andrea
      Nice to hear, and broad beans tolerate even freezing at this stage, should be ok in this cold.
      It sounds like leaf weevils, little insects eating leaf edges, also of peas. Strong plants just keep growing. It’s another reason for November sowing as the plants are bigger before the weevils arrive.

  11. Hello Charles , (from North Wales)
    I used the heat mats for seedlings that you suggested and wow – within 2-3 days they were sprouting – but I had to unplug them in the daytime as they baked the compost otherwise. I also managed to make 3 mini hotbeds in 3’x2’ polystyrene boxes using fresh manure from horses and my hens and straw. That works well with the cold nights though lots of small flies emerging now. Still planting seeds and wondered if you could suggest the safest watering can that doesn’t wash seeds out Of the compost ? I’ve tried a thumb waterer but it took forever as it’s so small, tho great idea. When I watch your videos the water seems like gentle rain from your watering can but any of mine just seem to whush and – bye bye seeds! Maybe it’s my weak wrists! I really love your you site and all the videos – I’ve grown veg for 12 + years but I always fine something new and helpful. And you make it look so simply so it encourages everyone , novice or experienced. So thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and inspiring us.

    1. Hello Charmian, many thanks for feedback 🙂
      My water can is a 16 year old Sankey, with the finest rose I could find. Yes it’s all about the rose, many are too fast for seedlings. Have a Search on that subject, hope it helps.

    2. Hopefully this helps: I use a couple of old plastic 1-liter bottles with plastic caps. I use a hot nail to poke small holes in the cap. It creates a nice fine drizzle and the 1-liter bottles doesn’t put too much pressure behind the water. It seems to work well for me when watering seedlings, and since I germinate indoors in my basement, it’s a little neater without the spillage from a watering can.

  12. Thanks for all your timely advice -it is so appreciated! To help protect my potatoes from the frost I have covered them with fleece but should we be removing it during the daytime?

  13. Hi Charles

    Hope you did not suffer too many losses due to the predicted frosts.

    I have a Question About supporting Borlotti beans. I notice on your Videos you use bamboo canes or something similar. Would it also be possible to use string supported from above as you do with your Tomatoes and cucumbers in the polytunnel? Have you or anyone else tried this?

    Best wishes


    1. Thanks Peter and yes I have done this, it worked fine in a polytunnel.
      SOme frost lesses but fleece really helped. One more tonight, perhaps Friday morning too.

      1. Awful frost in my part of Hampshire on a Tuesday morning. Had tried to protect the potatoes but did not put enough thought into it and there are casualties. Hard to protect ten 15 foot rows of potatoes.
        Yes I was expecting a May frost but I was not expecting that the potatoes would be so tall. I know I am in a frost hollow and I am reluctant to se out anything tender like french and runner beans until the end of the month approaches and even then I keep a careful watch on weather forecasts.
        I think early crops need real thought – are they worth the risk and the work and cost of protection. It can be so disappointing if treasured plants get frosted and such a set back in timing.

        Thanks for the helpful video on frost protection Charles .

  14. I love what you have done with gardening. Growing vegetables and herbs is something that I am very interested in but don’t know all the pointers on how to do it, what to buy for the plants, when to water, how to treat them etc… But I’m willing to learn because I want to grow my own vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Im want really to see if I can possibly do this indoors but if not and some have to be outdoors than so be it. I just want to grow my own plants.

    1. Hi Christine and indoor growing is possible, with lights. Great that you have the wish to do it, key starting point!

  15. Any thoughts of Dr Elaine Ingram, aerated compost teas? We’ve been looking at soil samples under microscopes and it’s very fascinating multiplying the micro cosmos. We’ve been turning our compost to try and make it aerobic, it was up to 77°c the other day! Also have you ever tried fermenting things such as comfry, nettles or borage with brown sugar? Natural Korean Farming methods? Damn these leather jackets eating all our spinach!

    1. Hi Rudy, yes her compost teas are fascinating, for soils needing a biology boost I reckon.
      Here I would not see a need and often I see soil now which is white and smells of mushrooms, like the IMO people want.
      I am always looking for simplest and quickest.
      Need a remedy for those leatherjackets, I never saw so many.

  16. For those interested: I sowed 23 ‘stations’ of 3-5 parsnip seeds in a regular grid occupying 1 sqm of no-dig bed in late March this year. 20 germinated successfully and all were thinned last week to give a lovely regular bed. We find that 20 parsnips in a winter is enough for our needs. The advantage of the method is that you can mark where your seeds went in so if any weeds come through you know where to look for parsnip seeds and where to weed rigorously.

    I must say that I continue to marvel at the simplicity of the no-dig method and how it seems to become more effective with each year of using it. It really is a compounding method of increasingly large yields for less and less work. I am so glad I found your website by chance all those years ago, simply searching for advice on growing tomatoes on a web search engine.

    I was, six years ago, like many of your current readers starting out now. So I can say to all of them: keep the faith and each year, you will get better and better results.

    1. Thanks for sharing your parsnip growing plan; very helpful Rhys.
      And I totally agree with what you say about the compounding benefits of no-dig over the years. Like you, I found Charles’s website through serendipity some years ago, attended one of his Homeacres courses, implemented no-dig on my allotment and have been so pleased by the year on year improvements ever since.
      Thank You Charles! 🙂

  17. Quick question – multisowing the parsnips in 3s. Do you grow them to harvest in 3s or thin them out? Many thanks, love your work! Luke.

  18. Hi Charles
    Do you have a video on growing carrots and parsnips? Curious as to what sewing method you use, if and when you thin them etc.
    Fingers crossed!
    🙂 Justine

    1. Justine, that one is going to be in Course 3!
      I do describe it in books. And the monthly updates eg recent one.

  19. Hi Charles
    I’m so happy to have found your site, now I’m addicted!
    I live on Vancouver Island, Canada. I’ve been putting off starting my bush beans outside, but since watching your videos, I thought I might try starting the beans under grow lights inside. But I’m a bit confused: I want to start approx 140 seeds, so how big do the individual cells need to be? Aren’t beans too big for the usual cells? Paper party cups? Not sure what to use. Also we can’t access seed cells right now. 😟 thank you so much.

    1. Nice to hear Val. I use 1.5in module cells, they don’t need a lot of root space.
      Or toilet rolls cut in half, egg boxes.

  20. Should I remove flower buds from squash seedlings that I have indoors that were planted too early? We are having a cold May so they won’t go out for another few weeks.

  21. Hi Charles, I love all the information you, Richard Perkins, Morag, Curtis Stone, Huw, Steve’s Allotment and all the other permaculture enthusiasts, gardeners and farmers on You Tube provide everyone.
    Over the last 10 years I’ve planted dozens of fruit trees, dozens of soft fruit varieties, experimented with multiple methods of composting, irrigation systems, container gardening and self watering barrels. I’ve used no-dig high sided raised beds for all that time which prevents carrot fly and it cuts down wind chill and damage and can have different covers for different crops. I use the poly tunnel for overwintering early lettuce and throughout the summer for aubergines, peppers, melons etc.
    But this year I finally took a chunk out of the lawn to build my first open ground unprotected 20m no-dig bed that I’ve been dying to plant up since early Spring.
    I’ve been putting off planting all of my warmth loving plants in the bed for almost two weeks waiting for the second week of May forecasts – I’m only a couple of miles from you and today the wind gusts battered anything not under cover and with frosts possible from 11th to 13th, I’m glad I held back putting the squash and courgettes in this year on open ground in my shiny new bed!

    1. Wow quite a history of good growing!
      And yes the wind has been horrible. Followed by frost, oh dear.
      Well done on holding off anyway, mid May is a fair last frost date for here.

  22. I’d like to hear your comment on “hard soil” . I have been no dig for eleven years . But until three years ago I wiggled the soil a bit with a fork before putting on the annual two inches of homegrown compost . Since stopping the tiny bit of forking some parts of my beds are Very hard , ie dibbing is a joke !! I can’t push in a pea stick ; this Is very variable even along a line if peas . My soil is a sandy loamy granitey bit stony , slightly acidic , I’m in Galicia Spain , very high winter rain , 42 inches , very hot dry summer , ( when I have to resort to hay mulch on top of compost mulch to slow evaporation ) . I cut all plants off at the roots. Where I have grown dug up type veg like potatoes parsnips and leeks etc , the soil is always easy and soft for next crop . I find it curious.

    1. Hi Deborah and that is interesting, sounds like say earthworms are not working well – do you have New Zealand flatworm perhaps?
      Or something about soil and weather.
      Maybe forking is needed for your conditions.

      1. We had a similar problem when we lived in the north of Italy. Torrential rain in summer would beat the earth to a hard crust. At first we were baffled when our plants simply stopped growing, then a neighbour, a local with a wonderful vegetable garden, showed us how to loosen the soil around the plants after rain, ‘to let the air in’ as she put it. It really made a difference to the plants’ growth.

        1. Interesting. Was the earth mulched at all? I find that compost mulch keeps the surface open, even after torrential rain.

          1. We didn’t then and, at a distance of twenty years, I don’t recall if our neighbour did. She certainly used manure on her vegetable patch but she would have dug that in.

  23. I love your No Dig posts.
    Re your photo above of yellow Iris and rose. Is the Rose Rosa De Recht?
    You called it de Hecht, so I googled that name & it showed a different rose completely.
    I know you are very particular about detail.
    Kind regards.

  24. Hello Charles
    My soft neck Marco garlic planted last October in a raised bed newly filled with 15cm of garden compost grew very well til early April when about half of crop(24) have lost its usual garlic leaves and sprouted groups of rounded leaves- resembling Huge spring onion leaves. I ve grown this variety before but never witnessed this unusual leaf growth. Some are beginning to swell at the base slightly. Any suggestions why strange leaf growth and do you think they will produce garlic?

    1. Crikey this sounds unusual and I don’t know, could be allium leaf miner? or herbicide in compost? Or?

  25. Hi Charles,
    I love all your timely emails and posts – many thanks for those. No-dig vegetable gardening is definitely the way forward and I recommend your website to all my family, friends and neighbours whenever the subject arises.
    This year I thought I’d trying planting my young greenhouse-raised seedlings (calabrese, tender stem, coriander etc) straight out into our veg beds without hardening them off first but covering them with fleece instead – as you have recommended in the past. In theory, I can totally see the sense in this, but in practice it trapped in all the tiny black slugs, safely protected from their usual predators, and able to munch on the tender new growth. Before I had a chance to realise what was happening, they had eaten round the stems of many of the plants, and I consequently had to replace most of them. I collected up and squashed any slugs that I saw but I’m not convinced I found them all. Do you find the same thing happening in your garden and if so, what do you do about it? Many thanks.

    1. Thanks Sue and sorry to hear that.
      My beds are mostly slug free, yours are not and I need to qualify that advice. Find out where the slugs had been hiding eg do you have wooden sides to beds, or nearby shady plants.

      1. Yes we do have raised beds with wooden sides but I suspect the slugs are coming in with my homemade compost which seems a bit coarse, even though I pass all prunings/ waste from the garden through a shredder. Is there any way to prevent slugs coming in with that compost?

        1. Hi Sue. I am Hans from Denmark. I also have all those tiny black slugs. They love my radise, so I saw lots of radise between my other weg mostly for the slugs. I also lay some pcs of firewood in the bed. Every morning i catch 1-5 slugs under each wood, and at 10pm I catch slugs eating my radish.

          1. Hi Sue and Dans, I also had that same slug problem and mine also lived in the compost I had on the bed from a cool heap. I went out every evening and caught about 100 over a couple of weeks. Slimy!
            After that it became very dry so it wasn’t so nice for them. I have learned to be extremely vigilant with baby plants in the garden since loosing everything I sewed one year. Very disheartening! All the best to you both.

          2. Thanks Hans and Nina. Have now bought some nematodes and will use them on the veg beds. We have decided to only use fine compost where the veg are concerned, but growing a ‘sacrificial’ radish crop is a good idea. I shan’t give up! Many thanks and good luck with your plots.

  26. Hi Charles
    My new No-dig veg garden has been attacked by leatherjackets!! I’ve replanted and replanted yet again, I’ve now ordered some nematodes in the hope that they will live up to the task. It has been so soul destroying and all the extra plants I though I have are been eaten up by these monsters. Is there anything else I can do? and to be prepared what else might I expect to attack after this? thanks for all you do in teaching no-dig.

    1. Oh bother they caught me out too.
      You need to lift damaged plants and find them, physically remove each one. See my previous update. The nematodes may not work in time for this spring.

  27. Hi Charles
    I am a recent convert to veg growing and have watched your videos on composting I saw you commenting on using a shredder on woody waste and my question is:- I am about to cut a large laurel hedge and I shred all the trimmings which I usually bin can I put this on my compost heap and if so is it green or brown ?

    1. Hi Eddie, laurel leaves are full of oils and very slow to decompose, I would put all of that in it’s own heap for a good two years! Keep it moist too.

  28. Hi Charles,
    I have really enjoyed your tips regarding compost, however I am having a problem getting mine to heat up. Things were good until the rains came 2 weeks ago when the cover leaked then it cooled dramatically. The roof is now repaired but the heap is only at 20 deg centigrade, it is a mixture of hay and grass cuttings mostly. Any suggestions?

    1. Ah shame, perhaps the water squashed out air so a lift with a compost aerating tool could help.
      Heap of 4ft/1.2m sides will help have enough volume, for heat

  29. Here in Downeast Maine we had snow up to the top of my muck boots May9th. Unbelievable. Thanks to you mainly- many things will survive due to my mulching with compost and the use of agribon. The sun is shining this morning and I can only imagine what relief many growing things out there may be feeling…I know I’m feeling it! Thank you for your fine articles and navigation in no dig- you have made me a better farmer.

    1. Hi Terry
      That is nice to hear. Although I can’t imagine snow a foot deep on 9th May!
      Glad you are feeling optimistic now 🙂

  30. Hi Charles,
    Here in Michigan, we also got a rogue freeze. I didn’t cover my (just barely sprouted) potatoes. Some of the leaves took some damage. Do you think it’s too late for them? Some of the sprouts look to be already bouncing back, green as ever.
    We’ll be planting our tomatoes and peppers in new no-dig beds this Friday, so exciting!
    Thanks for any reply!

    1. Thanks Holly and they will be fine, sounds like small damage.
      Here the plants are a foot high and it’s forecast 28F here tonight!!

  31. Hi Charles,
    In a new garden, last year I suffered bad damage by leaf miner to beet and chard leaves. I think I’m seeing the eggs on the leaf underside again this year, even on spinach. Last year I tried a spray made from garlic, mint, cayenne etc . Have you any thoughts on how to protect against these attacks or get rid of the flies?

  32. You say the stakes supporting your peas are 18 years old. Do you move them, or have you grown peas in the same place for all that time?

  33. Hi Charles,
    I live on on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. A question about red cabbage , is it possible to sow late and overwinter them as other cabbages for a harvest around now ,, if so would you recommend a particular variety at all.

    1. Hi Carole, and this is late indeed because the head will be opening to flower by now.
      Yes sow now, for harvest any time in winter, best keep in a shed or cool building, remove mouldy outer leaves before use, probably not beyond April

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