Thursday, 20 July 2017

The gooseberries and jostaberries may have been disappointing, but no complaints about the red and white currants.

2 kilos of red and...

1.5kg of white.

I am in the process of converting the whitecurrants into fruit leathers.

Emptied one bag of potatoes...

Not bad...bit of a funny colour but that's just sun on the camera.

The cleome have started to that's what the flowers look like!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The first ripe tomato! (Garden Pearl)

First of many, I hope.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

After a few days of dryness, its back to the rain again...all day non-stop...

Picked the gooseberries, the jostaberries and the blackcurrants.  Not very many of any of them and the goosberries are small this year.  Victims of the dry spring, I guess.

The blackcurrants aren't bad considering two thirds of the bush had to be surgically removed. There may be more jostaberries to come, I couldn't get near because of weeds but the fine weather has let me get at them.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The weather a bit better today so down tout suite to the plot to do some much needed weeding.

Cleared bed one of the remaining shallots, weeded and replanted with four slightly slug bitten cucumber plants bought from the plant scheme. (Burpless tasty green)

They look a bit lonely but they will be joined very soon by their best friends willow herb, buttercup and fat hen.

I should have cleared the onion bed next but my knees and back declared they had had enough crawling around.  So instead I pulled the garlic which as usual has succumbed to rust.  Some quite decent bulbs this year, certainly enough to see me through the winter.

Brought all the onions and shallots home in the pram, to dry in the garage.

I'm pooped!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Paddled again, boots and trousers soaked.  All the long weeds which I should have kept on top of are sopping and drape around the legs as I push through.  As soon as it dries a bit I will get the shears and strimmer at them.

Some things are looking good despite (or because of) the rain.

The remaining blackcurrant stems after my surgery on the bush, have super big berries, as if it is making up for the lack of stems.

The red and white currants were unaffected by whatever the blackcurrant had and are ripening nicely.

I didn't net the gooseberries this year and the pigeons have had nearly all the red ones.

The first baby courgette...

Some broad beans looking good..

other stems blackened, I think that might be black fly damage.

The sweet peas need picking but it is too wet to linger.  Besides, the flowers never seem to last long when picked in the wet.
Paddled through long wet grass and weeds to my strawberries.  Lots laid flat to the soil by the constant rain this past two, three days.  Lots of strawberries there but soggy and slug-ridden.  No strawberry jam this year.

Everything that needed water is looking perkier, everything that needed to be dry eg. strawberries, onions and shallots are looking dismal.

Hey ho! that's an english summer for you...its either too dry or too wet or too cold, there is always something to complain about.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

I went to the plot for a punnet of strawberries...

...and picked over three kilos!

The downside of the dry weather is that although the fruit look good, the taste of them is quite variable.  Some large, sweet and juicy, as an English strawberry should be, and some rather small, seedy with a strong, almost bitter flavour.  They might work for jam.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The rain of a few days ago has doubled the size of the weeds!

The plants are doing okay too, if a little small because of the earlier lack of rain.

 Plenty of strawberries though, some quite large, the watering I did has paid off.  There is about a kilo there, some for my sister, some for the freezer and some for my tea.

Out of a 9 feet long row of seeds ...2 parsnips!  I should be grateful, it could have been none.

Most of the sweetcorn are growing nicely.  Although that one in the middle looks as if it is not long for this world.

The withering on the blackcurrant bush is spreading so I can rule out frost damage. I read that they need to be watered during dry spells, which I haven't much, so I wonder if that could be the cause. I can't see any mould or mildew or any obvious pests so I have cut the withered branches off in the hopes of stopping whatever it is from spreading any further. The only two stalks left are new wood, which doesn't seem to be affected like the rest (so far) which were all on old wood. The remaining leaves had a lot of aphids so I washed them down with a mild detergent solution.

Lots of flowers on the broad beans.

The first sweet pea, can't make a bunch yet ..

The winter onions that have survived the basal mould have decided its time..

The flowery bit it looking pretty.

In the greenhouse at home...

...the tomatoes are looking promising...except...

...the dreaded Blossom End Rot...just the one so far on the overwintered Marmande tomatoes.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

I spoke too soon... it has rained incessantly for two days...  which is good for the garden but pretty miserable for everybody else!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The garden is still very dry.  This seems to be the pattern for the last few years.  There was a little rain here and there, but not enough to make very much difference.

So I got fed up waiting for rain to soften the ground and have planted out my courgettes and crown prince squash regardless.

The garlic has grown flower heads this year and I hear tell that the "scapes" are good to eat.  So I have cut them off and will give them a go for my dinner tonight.

Not sure how to cook them but I can't go wrong if I sautee them in butter.

The leeks that I planted too late last year are reaching a decent size but because it is their second year they have all thrown up flower spikes, so I have started to use them even though they aren't very big.

So far quite a lot of them, when I have dug them up have had baby leeks attached at the root.  They are about the size that leeks should be at this time so I have detached them as carefully as I can and replanted them.  Nothing lost if they don't survive.

Summary of the planting so far:

  • shallots, almost ready to harvest
  • peas, sprouting
  • turnip, beetroot and florence fennel seeds sown yesterday
  • sweet corn planted out
  • runner and french climbing beans planted out
  • broad bean tied in and supported although they are still small
  • sweet peas and cleome planted out
  • winter onions either going mouldy or maturing nicely
  • strawberries looking plentiful but still green
  • leeks and garlic as above mentioned
  • brussells' sprouts growing well between the garlic.
  • celeriac growing in among the leeks, I put them in the shade of the hedge because they like to be damp.
  • asparagus finished, two plants didn't show this year, so far anyway.
  • currant bushes looking well except for one side of the blackcurrants.
  • apples and pears all have fruit but are needing water.
  • potatoes are filling their boxes and bags up.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

I sowed a tray of verbena bonariensis in February and nothing happened so after a month of no-show they got shoved into a corner of the greenhouse and forgotten about.  Then, you guessed it, they started to grow and this is the result!

It always surprises me....

Verbena Bonariensis many plants you can get from one half seed tray of compost!  Another good thing, I used up lots of the small pots that have been cluttering up the garage since last year.

Now to see how many survive the operation.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The last three days have been really warm, a bit too hot for us northerners, we just aren't used to it.

A day for a little gentle weeding and hoeing in between sessions in the deckchair with a flask of coffee. I tried breaking up concrete-like soil with the azada so I could plant out the sweet corn, but gave myself a headache instead.

Sadly, the one thing that was very easy was pulling out some of the winter onions...

They had hardly any roots and bits of white mould around their bases.  I will take these home, salvage what I can and the rest will go into the rubbish bin rather than the compost heap.

The hugelkultur patch is looking very flowery.  It will look even nicer when all the poppies flower.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

There has been a good bit of rain since my last entry, but even so the bed in which I have chosen to put the cleome plants was still quite dry only an inch or two down.

I planted out the climbing beans and that bed was nice and damp because I had gone over it with the soil-miller just last week.

I just noticed that the winter onions are starting to bolt, especially the sets that I planted straight out.  No flower spikes on the sets that I grew on in modules before planting them out. Interesting!

Friday, 12 May 2017

The weather is warming up at last, but still very dry.

Both old and new pear trees have baby fruit and the apples are full of blossom

The runner and french beans are growing well so time to set up the bean frame.  X men style this year rather than wigwams.

A bit wonky but I don't suppose the beans will notice.  The forecast is for rain the next few days so that should soften the soil so I can plant out more easily.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Turned out to be a lovely afternoon after a grey cold morning. So I went to the plot to water everything and to plant out the sweet peas and some of the cleome plants.

There is something wrong with the blackcurrant bush...  Or half of it I should say...

The good half of the bush on the left, the neighbouring whitecurrant on the right.  In the middle? I don't know what is the matter.  Some new leaves and buds looking withered.  I can't tell whether it is recovering or whether it is dying.  I cut off one totally dead branch but I will wait  and see whether this side is coming or going before more surgery.

Planted out the sweet peas, but I spent so much time talking to various passers-by that there was no time for the cleome.  Hopefully there might have been some rain by tomorrow, the soil is baked hard.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Now that my new decking is in and looking lovely, I can assemble the plastic greenhouse for the tomatoes.

So a busy day potting and building.

Tomato plants potted up and tied in ready for summer!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Went to water everything, there hasn't been much rain for a few weeks, and I found... ta-ra!

And they were delicious! I ate them raw, crisp and tasting like pea pods.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

french beans Blue Lake and runner beans Czar.
pumpkin Crown Prince
and some more basil and coriander for the allotment plant scheme.

I would have sown some courgettes but the seed packets have mysteriously disappeared.  I wonder if I could have taken them to the allotment by mistake.  I am sure I had two packets of the same variety.  Perhaps I am going mad!
I hope this current cold snap doesn't spoil the apple and pear blossom.  It has been fairly dry so they might be okay, it seems to be the combination of cold and wet that seems to be the plant killer.
I wish it would warm up a bit so I could be putting things out. I've got nasturtium and celeriac that are outside in trays, waiting to go into the soil.  I have cleome and cosmos waiting to harden off.
I would like to sow some more flowers but my tiny greenhouse is getting crowded with overgrown tomato plants which can't go into the outside blowaway greenhouse until it warms up a bit.
I don't suppose I am helping the situation by sowing beans etc.

Monday, 24 April 2017

 A friend brought me some sweetcorn seeds from Thailand.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

This is one of the surviving beans I sowed in February, nibbled to death by pea and bean weevil.

I planted out the new plants beside the old ones.  They no doubt will be attacked too, but there isn't much to be done about it.

The onions are improving daily

As are the garlic and the leeks.

Predominant, I do love the forget-me-nots at this time of year.