Saturday, 31 May 2014

first pea flower

 Poached egg plants giving a magnificent display.....and a pea flower!


I think I must've cut the wrong twig off when it first arrived, so no fruit this year.

The fandango tomatoes are looking very sturdy with lots of big flowers.
tomato flowers, fandango

french beans, gherkins, courgettes getting ready to be set free
The mini greenhouse containing the climbing french beans, the courgettes and the gherkins before I transported them to the plot.
new leaves on the bay tree
The bay tree bought last year has weathered the winter well and has produced new leaves.  I've thrown all the dried ones out of my storecupboard, as I have enough in this little bush to keep the street supplied with bay leaves.

ivy leaved toadflax (I think) picked in Hexham
This is a plant that is growing all over the walls of my son's street in Hexham, and I think it would look nice scrambling over our front garden walls. I pulled some stalks off the wall and as soon as I got home I put it on a tray of gravel with a little compost to retain moisture. It drooped a bit at first but has picked up and looks like it might root. There is also a yellow flower there too, which commonly seems to grow side by side with the other, but I haven't managed to identify that yet.

the ground where the celeriac used to be
All the celeriac has been chomped, so none this year as it is too late to start any more seeds.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

squashes planted out

It was a fairly gloomy day today, but it lightened up a bit in the afternoon, so I went to investigate how the recent rains have affected the plot.
There is lots of standing water, but the beds are fine, so I could plant out the vegetable spaghetti squashes.

 I wanted to wait a bit longer but they are very big and I doubted that I would be able to get them to the plot if I left them to get much bigger.  I put some protection around them as the forecast is for cold nights.

The rest of my time was occupied by making some potting compost from the good looking soil improver that the trading hut has acquired.  So I took some of this:

added some perlite.....

And then some potting base....
Gave it a good old mix up and there we go, a barrow load of potting soil!

Just a small niggle though, by the time I had bought all the components, it cost almost as much as it would to have bought multi-purpose compost from the trading hut.
Also, after I had made it all up into two large sacks, I read the instructions on the back of the potting base and it said to make it up as you go along as it only keeps for about 6 weeks.  Mmmm...I have enough here to keep me going for about a year...Must learn to read the instructions properly.  I wonder what potting compost is like when it goes off.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

runner beans planted

left Czar, right Enorma
The runner beans are in.  I think they must be the biggest ever, usually when I plant them out they are half the size and earlier, but I must be maturing and not so anxious to get them out regardless of the weather.
(Wrong! Last year I planted them out 27th May, but they were smaller plants.)

Some other pictures
shredded paper applied.

Lots of flowers on the broad beans, but no pods yet.

the sweet peas are trying hard from their unfortunate start in life

lots of rust on the garlic

eschscholzia looking beautiful, this is just one plant


a two spot ladybird
as promised...

All 7 spot ladyirds at the plot and all 2 spots in the front garden.


Here's a pretty picture!

After cogitating for what seems like months the phalenopsis orchid has decided to flower.

Monday, 26 May 2014

onion seedlings planted at last

A lovely day at last after a string of cold and wet days. And its a bank holiday too!

Bowled the pram to the plot this morning, with the runner bean plants and a big bag of shredded paper.

Weeded and spread the shredded paper under the strawberries. I was a bit concerned that I had been too quick to put the netting over them which might have been hindered the work of the pollinating insects, but there is plenty of fruit developing, so they have obviously managed to find their way in.

By moving the grasses that I "acquired" from Moorbank last year, and giving some of them away to a neighbour, I managed to find places for the onion seedlings that have been growing modules in the back garden.  They were really desperate to be moved on, lots of roots coming out the bottom. Anyway, they are settled now.

I added a few more canes to the runner bean frame, so it is now ready to receive the bean plants, but I didn't have the energy or time to do them today. (sorry no pix, will get some tomorrow)

The rust on the garlic is quite bad now, and as far as I can tell there isn't much that can be done about it.  I started to cut a few of the leaves off, but it is so widespread I was going to have to remove nearly all the leaves which wouldn't leave much for photosynthesis.   I gave it a seaweed foliar feed instead, hoping this would give the plants strength to resist the rust.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

3 cucumber update

They didn't die after all....yet
 I might start getting them used to the outside world... when I have freed up some space!  The runners are taking over...
 I was going to overnight them in the mini greenhouse, but they won't fit!

On the plot: The Shed!  Replete with new shelves and 3 tomato plants.

I'm like a proud mother hen!  I've had several visitors, come to marvel at the new shed, and leaving with a severe case of shed envy.  I'm thinking about doing tours and charging admission.

I splashed out yesterday and bought a new hosepipe, an anti-kink one this time, as the old one was driving me mad.  You'd just get one kink out and another one had formed behind you!
 I've now got more hose than I need as my two hoses are both long ones, the decision is, do I cut one to fit the plot? or do I just put up with coils lying around, in case it might be useful to have a very long hose?

Watered the new plants, there is one less celeriac, and one less zinnia, but otherwise things seem good.

Weedkillered the paths yesterday.

Monday, 19 May 2014

planting out

It has been yet another lovely day, I think that makes it four in a row.  I got sunburn on the backs of my arms.

I planted out all of the small seedlings as I think they will be better off in the garden than drying up in their trays and modules.

The zinnias and asters have been planted into the cutting bed, the nasturtiums have been scattered around, some down the middle of the asparagus bed, I hope that this won't affect the newly growing asparagus plants.  About 6 of the crowns have grown a slimline stalk.
The psb had gone into one of the small beds with the onions.  They might have to be moved again as space becomes available.  I have planted the celeriac babies into the soggy end of the garden beside the pond, as they do love the wet ground.  Of course, so do the slugs, so it is a constant battle.
I finished paving the muddy patch in front of the shed door, not very level, but pleasingly rustic.

 The garlic has a bad attack of rust.  Only on the outer leaves so far, but I gather that if it spreads the plant will stop growing, so they may as well come out then.

I set up the bean's X frame.  It worked well last year, I can reach the top beans much easier than with the normal A frame. The beans plants are being hardened off and have a few days to go before they can be planted out.

   I have netted the gooseberry bed because the bushes have berries this year, and those pesky pigeons are not getting any of them, if I can help it.

They shall not escape! Nearest cage is gooseberries, next is currants and peas and in the distance s strawberries.

The pear tree has no fruit.  There was plenty of blossom but it has all dropped off.  The apple blossom hasn't decided yet.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

fiddly jobs

Didn't get to the plot today, it was really hot and there is very little shade up there.  And anyway I was lunching out.

I spent the morning pricking out the leek seedlings into a big deep tray as they have nowhere to go in the plot yet.  It is such a fiddly job I've been putting it off for ages.

But it is done now, they'll be happy in there for a few weeks.

 And this afternoon, my sister who is a fruitaholic and not one to miss a bargain, bought a 2 kilo box of very ripe cherries for £2.50!  So I spent another couple of hours doing the fiddly job of de-stoning about a thousand cherries for the dehydrator.

 They look blackish because they have been drying for a few hours already, still soft though, so they have a few more hours to go.  I could have made jam, but we stil have lots left from last year..and the year before....

I read that you can make a tisane or tea out of cherry stalks, which is good for insomnia.  Got lots of stalks!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

3 cucumbers et al

In the greenhouse:
The three cucumbers seem to have decided not to die, after all!, they have all put on another leaf. No doubt they will have another crise d'neufs at the next opportunity.

 One of the tomato plants (Fandango) that I bought has flowers on (and an armpit there which I hadn't noticed)

But my own plants have smartened up their act and are trying to catch up.

The runner beans, the left side is Enorma, the right side is Czar.

 Down to the plot, I finished off the new bed with a layer of rough compost, (I think I might be paying for this in weeding in the future) finished off with a layer of soil improver.

Ready for the spaghetti squashes.

 Quite a few ladybirds spotted (geddit?) around the plot, all of them were 7 spotters.

 And my fave flower of the moment, eschscholzia (californian poppy), not hard to choose since there isn't many out yet.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

pictures of the plot today

Not a lot of activity at the plot apart from weeding and watching things grow.


celeriac seedlings

winter onions

the second string went on today

sweet peas still looking a bit pathetic

parsnips and beetroot

Garlic, shallots, maincrop onions

lasagne bed filling

flowers on the strawberries
started to fill the  last raised bed and netted the strawberry bed and the currant bushes

peas in the fruit cage

I hammered some clouts into the sides of the bed borders to hook the netting on to - and it works!

It would work even better if I had bought netting of the right length!  Just about a foot too short. (Note to self ...measure next time.)