Sunday, 29 June 2014

A super-duper new pot

I was given lovely plant pot for my birthday, hand-thrown by a potter working in Hexham.  Its beautiful.

It looks really good with the little bay tree in it.

I pulled all the rusty garlic even though they weren't fully ripe and probably hadn't reached their full size.  There is a usable crop, 40 garlic bulbs will keep us going for quite a while.

I picked all the gooseberries except the red ones. Only a punnet full, but they are young yet.  Not that they look as if they are going to live to get much older. The bushes have gone very yellow in the middle.

The berries have gone into the freezer for crumbles later in the year, plenty of strawberries coming on at the moment.

I have started to pick the broad beans, I love them when they are small although a tad tedious to de-pod.  There are loads waiting to come on.

I picked the first peas (well, the first ones to reach the kitchen).  On the left is Jessy the sugar snap and the other is Excellenz, a maincrop.  Jessy is nicely crisp but not particularly sweet, although I might be picking them at the wrong time as I am not sure what size they should be. 

Excellenz has quite a fat pod which when opened has quite small peas inside, but those peas are really sweet.  Maybe they are small because of the current dry spell, it hasn't rained in any quantity for a while now.

This dry spell has slowed all growth down, the courgettes, cucumbers and young runner beans have hardly changed in the past couple of weeks. Even though it hasn't rained, it hasn't been very sunny either, so things are not drying out too badly. 

But the tomatoes are missing the sunshine to ripen them.

So for dinner today: lamb cutlet, peas, carrots and a few new potatoes from the garden (they are just a few I dug out to see if they were ready yet).

Monday, 23 June 2014

some pictures of the home garden

Gerbera is a plant which is maybe a bit too delicate for life in Anne's Garden.  It seems to be prone to greenfly, leaf miner, under watering, over watering. These are two of the five plants which have struggled through to adulthood, but no sign of any flowers yet.

Washing day.  I can't be doing with all this washing bits now and then, I like to get it over with on one day, even though it does mean I'm stuck in the house all day, machine minding.

washing...and a sunflower
They aren't drying very well today, no breeze and not enough sunshine, so they will finish off in the tumble-dryer and hang the environment.

Some of the things growing in the garden...


You can't see them on the photo, but there are loads of bumble bees in the deutzia flowers

climbing hydrangea

The ivy needs cutting back

the newest batch of home-made compost

The orchid has outdone itself this time. There are nine flowers, with a tenth on the way.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

rusty garlic lifted

I decided to pull the garlic...

The leaves were mostly shrivelled and they haven't grown for a while.

Some big, some small, as usual, the bulbs don't seem a lot smaller than usual.

Dug up two more split onions today.  I have checked through my diary and through May and June we seem to have alternated with dry and then very wet.  The plot has had standing water a couple of times this spring and early summer, so I can only think that is why they have split.  I have asked a few gardeners and nobody has seen that before, but all seem to think that irregular watering is a likely cause.  It is a shame because otherwise they are very good onions and I am having to cut the bottom third off each split onion. Oh well, the trials of being a gardener.  I console myself with remembering the horrible year of 2012 and now is nowhere near as bad as that.

Just realised I have been slacking in the plotplan department, so here hot off the press...

Friday, 20 June 2014

gooseberry bushes poorly

Something is up with the gooseberry bushes.  

The leaves in the middle of the bushes have gone speckled yellow, at worst dead and crispy.  Of the 6 bushes, 5 have been affected, 2 badly, 3 not so bad, and one, the red berried one, looks normal. The worst affected are at the fence end of the bed.  It is my feeling that it is a deficiency of some kind, but I don't know.  
It could be waterlogged soil, when I pulled out the netting canes, they were quite damp on the end, so although it has been quite dry for a while now, it could have happened last month.  
That end of the bed is near where I took the little apple tree out a couple of years ago because the roots had rotted.

I dug up this split onion, yesterday.  This is the third onion like this so far, and always the biggest ones. The flesh is normal, just like an onion should be, but just split.

The first broad beans are nearly ready.... fat finger sized now, in a few days we will have some.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

sweet william

 The sweet william is in full flower.  It is a very good cut flower, lasts for ages in the vase.

 The spaghetti squash is coming on nicely

 I have a gherkin! True, a blurry one, but a baby cucumber nontheless.

 I can't make up my mind whether the garlic should come out, it is a bit of a sorry sight.

 I might have a lovely brand spanking new shed, but Sue's shed has character.... and roses.

 My echinops seedlings have recovered from the attack by slugs/snails and are looking quite healthy.

 This was one of 3 hazelnuts I found last year and popped in this old tomato plant pot.  I was hoping to grow my own hazel staves, but this has taken almost 2 years to get this size so I think I might be retired from gardening by the time it gets big enough.

More strawberries today...keep 'em coming....

I pulled one of the Wilja to see how near ready it was (there are plenty so I can spare a few) and there was only 3 usable sized potatoes (and I managed to spear 2 of them).  But there were also quite a few very small ones, so they need a few more weeks to develop.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

first strawberries

I haven't been to the plot since Thursday and I can't believe how much things have grown since then!

Rows of spinach seeds which, for a week have just been lines of compost in the soil/blue pellets, have sprouted tiny green leaves...

The broad beans have grown to finger size.....

and there were no strawberries even looking like being ripe and lo!

Sadly, the weeds have also grown spectacularly too, so I will have to give them a good going over...a hoe down!

Friday, 13 June 2014

celery experiment, beans, onions...

I don't suppose anybody remembers the celery experiment?

Last year I cut the stump of a bunch of celery into four and sprouted them..  Well, three have over wintered, two in the cold frame and one in a deep pot sunk into the ground.

The two smaller ones on the left are the ones kept in the cold frame, the big one on the right is the one sunk into the ground out in the open. Not sure what it proves, but celery is obviously tougher than it looks and I might even get something usable from the big one, even though it does look as though it is going to flower. The small ones have very spindly stalks and look as if they will be very stringy. The end result of the experiment is that while it is interesting to see what happens, the savings are negligible and not worth it as a money-saving exercise.

 Phew! Pods on the broad beans at last....

The winter onions have really been putting on weight. I am using them now instead of buying onions, they are quite mild and juicy. Nice sliced in salads.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

summer is a-coming

Everything is romping away now, with all this warmth and rain.

The onion department is looking blooming (not literally as flowers are the last thing I want on them)

The only blot on the allium landscape is the rusty garlic.

The spaghetti squashes are holding on to their mini fruits, so far...

There are flowers on the thornless blackberry and lots of buds to follow...

...And blackfly with attendant ants on the broad beans...

To check out the bees loving the poached egg plants, click the link at the top of the page

Sunday, 8 June 2014

squashes flowering

I took the cloche off the squashes, and they look great, flowers on and everything.

So I've given them and the cucumbers a lattice structure to climb up if they should so wish, and put some netting around the outside to give them a bit of a break from the wind.

I pulled a garlic to see if it was ready

But it has a while to go yet.
I don't know why I'm pushing it because the only thing I have left to plant out are leeks.  And with the rust there has been on the garlic, I really don't want them catching it, so they will be best going into different bed.

The courgettes are coming on, but still looking a bit weedy... At least they haven't died yet.

The plot is looking good, even with the standing water

Saturday, 7 June 2014

updates on things beginning with A

After a beautiful day yesterday, a rubbish day today.

Yesterday I sowed some more turnip and beetroot and a row of perpetual spinach.

I was down the plot early this morning to open the window and the door of the shed for the tomatoes. When I went in yesterday it was like a sauna in there,  my specs steamed up instantly.

While it was fine, I sowed dwarf french beans (Purple Queen)

It turned out to be not such a nice day after all.  It has rained all afternoon from middayish until about 7 o'clock this evening. The plot is awash again, I'm so pleased I put in those raised beds.

Do you remember the avocado stone?

 Well, that came to naught, it just sat there for 2 months and went mouldy on the bottom.  So I'm trying again with a new one...

Do you remember the amaryllis? This is just one of them, but they are both still going strong, I'm keeping them in water where I can keep an eye on the bulbs and giving them the occasional feed. Their vases have filled with roots and I hope they are building a good reserves for next season. Towards the end of summer I will take them out of the water and let the leaves die back.