Sunday, 20 December 2009

Ice Pictures

I have been out in the ice and snow to have a play with my new close up filters. Some of them I have also fiddled about with on Photoshop.

These first four were the ice on the greenhouse glass, the one below is a blob of snow on a hydrangea head.

I haven't dared go to the allotment for fear of what will have happened to the broad beans. The other day when I went the edges of their leaves were a bit blackened, but that was before the really cold weather started. I will have to go in the next couple of days as I have to empty the bokashi before we go away from Christmas.

I think the celeriac will have had it too. We've only eaten half of it. Probably the carrots too, and there were quite a lot left. You never know though, they might be ok.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Green shoots and Frost!

As there is quite a hard frost forecast for tonight I thought it might be a good idea to dig up the last of the potatoes. They would probably be ok under the ground but if they got really cold they might get ruined. I've probably left some behind anyway, it seems to be impossible to get every last one. It's a beautiful day today though so I took the camera to photograph these new broad bean shoots - I hope they don't suffer from the frost.

And here are the garlic shoots, those ones at the back might even be onions, can't remember now.

I've had a bit of a disappointment with my bokashi. I ordered 4 bags of the bran (an e-bay bargain) in October, and emptied two of them into my plastic bucket (with lid). It seemed to me to be quite a wet batch, and sure enough, it has now gone mouldy. I have sent a message to complain but have not yet had an answer. I'm going to have to throw quite a lot of it away.

On a lighter note: 1st of December tomorrow! This is our home-made advent calendar - it is a picture of our own front door (but with a bit of artistic licence to make it look posher than it really is!)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

What I've been doing.....

....while the weather has been too blemmin awful to do any work at the allotment. Well, actually I did venture down there yesterday, because we had run out of potatoes, and I was damned if I was going to spend good money on potatoes. I did buy some carrots in the supermarket the other day because I couldn't face the wind and the rain to go and dig some. And I wasn't very happy about it. So I braced myself and went and dug up a bucket of potatoes, a few carrots and a celeriac. While there I was pleasantly surprised to see that the broad beans are coming through - hooray!

I have also treated myself to a set of camera filters I found on e-bay, which you simply screw on the end of the lens and they allow you to take close ups. You can use one at a time or all four together. So I have done a few experiments but not many so far because it's always too dark and you get best results with no flash.

Recognise this lady?

Have also had another attempt at pumpkin bread, which was a bit more successful this time:

Planning some more spicy pumpkin chutney for Christmas presents, if I get the time, as I have also just taken on another job: making two sets of curtains and two roman blinds.

And on Friday I'm off to the Good Food Show!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Onions and Garlic emerging

I managed an hour at the plot today - the first time I have actually done anything up there since... I can't remember. The onions and garlic are just beginning to poke their noses through, but still no sign of the broad beans.

One psb plant had collapsed in the wind, and had to be propped up again, and as usual the netting had come adrift and had to be repositioned. One plant had been stripped by pigeons. I think we got off quite lightly with the gales compared with most parts of the country, it really wasn't that bad here.

I pulled up a few of the old marigold plants, but there are still several left to be removed. Also dug up my Scabious and extricated all the couch grass from its roots, then replanted. Dug up the Achillea, removed lots of couch (but I couldn't get it all) and replanted by the fence. Pulled up miscellaneous spent annuals and some Dahlias - but I've left the tubers lying on the ground. I meant to bring them home and put them somewhere suitable for the winter. Generally tidied up the perennial patch.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Carrot Love

Because I didn't thin my carrots, some of them have grown so closely together they have become amorously entwined, like these two. I'm pleased to see that they seem to be continuing to grow, because a few weeks ago they were all still very thin and spindly.

As well as the carrots, this afternoon I braved the cold wind and threatening sky to go and dig some supplies for the next few days. I dug up some supersized potatoes, which were surrounded by a lot of supersized worms, which is encouraging. Less encouraging is the number of bindweed roots I come across while digging, they go very deep, and don't bode well for next season. I also brought back some rather underwhelming celeriac and a few leeks. I'm 'between' leeks at the moment, the early ones are almost finished and the late ones are not quite big enough yet.

I haven't done much lately other than plant the onions etc, the weather hasn't been very conducive. Also I seem to have fallen slightly out of love with it all... but I think it's mainly down to the time of year - I expect I will get fired up again in the spring. Hope so anyway.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Autumn planting

Yesterday I planted two bulbs of garlic (which was only about 1 1/2 rows), a packet of overwintering onions, and a packet of broad beans. I didn't get down there until about 3pm, and it was starting to get dark by the time I'd finished. I hope the garlic grows a bit bigger than it did this year.

This is where the broad beans are planted. I had to leave a gap at this end, for where next year's runner bean frame will go, and I only just had enough room before coming up against a row of potatoes that are still in there.

When I went to the garden centre to buy the sets and seeds, I took with me a long shopping list of all the seeds I need for next year, thinking I might try that instead of ordering them on line. Just because I like to pick up each packet and look at the picture and read the blurb. However, I should have realised, being nearly Christmas (yes I know it's still October, but it's not summer any more so therefore in retail terms it's nearly Christmas) everything gardening related has been replaced with Christmas trees and decorations. I thought being a garden centre they would have seeds in stock all year round. There were a couple of stands of them, but the choice was very restricted. So back to plan A: buy on line as usual. You can't browse the packets, but at least you get what you want.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Greenhouse Clear-out

I can't tell you how useful this cheap and cheerful shower caddy has been - first for chitting potatoes, then ripening tomatoes, and now for drying/ripening seed pods. There are a few sweet peas on the bottom, some french beans in the middle and the very last of the tomatoes on top.

I have just been clearing away the last of the greenhouse crops. I've picked the last few peppers and tomatoes, and emptied the compost into bags to take up to the allotment. The pumpkins and squashes that were 'curing' in there have been put on a wire trolley in the shed. The only things I've left are the chillies which still have a few green ones on which I am hoping might still ripen.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


The whitefly are everywhere and making a right mess of things. Everyone else's brassicas seem to be badly affected as well. Bring on the cold weather...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


I've been entrusted with watering next door's greenhouse while they were away, and one day (soon after that very windy period) I went in and found glass all over the floor. A pane had cracked and part of it had fallen in. No idea how it happened, except that possibly a tree branch (well, a floppy coniferous frond really) may have been tapping against it in the wind. As it was my tree I feel perhaps I should take some responsibility, if that is what it was, though I can't be sure.

Anyway, a couple of days later, my son and his friend managed to score a direct hit on my own greenhouse with a football, breaking two of the roof panes. More smashed glass to clear up. So off I went to the glass shop, came back with three new panes and set to. Fixed mine ok, then discovered the neighbour's greenhouse is a slightly more awkward shape. A small piece of the top corner needs to be cut off to make it fit the frame. AND... whilst removing the remains of the broken pane, the really awkwardly-shaped triangular pane above also slid out and broke. Good job I had gloves on, or I could be missing a finger by now.

Well, the neighbours have come back this evening, but I haven't had a chance to see them and explain what's happened. It will have to wait until I'm back from work tomorrow afternoon.

I have been doing one or two pumpkinny things: a batch of sweet and spicy pumpkin chutney (ideal with curries!) and some spicy roasted pumpkin and pepper soup tonight, yum yum.

I'm hoping to get a couple of hours at the plot tomorrow afternoon, and will hopefully remember to take the camera - I want to show you how revoltingly black and sticky and whitefly-y my purple sprouting brocolli has become.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Strawberries' Final Fling

My strawberries seem to think it's June again. If I wasn't sitting next to a calendar turned to September I might be thinking the same thing myself. It hasn't rained for weeks. I picked all these yesterday and there are a lot more coming as another warm and sunny weekend approaches. The grass is turning quite brown and things in the garden are starting to wilt. Why didn't we get this weather in the summer holidays?

We had a very dramatic sky at sunset last night.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Annual Allotment Performance Appraisal

Autumn is a pivotal point in the allotment year, the end of the summer season, and the point at which the whole cycle starts all over again. This is when my crops get rotated to the next patch and I will start to plan next year's sowing and planting, starting with overwintering onions and garlic, and broad beans. So it seems like a good time for a review of the current year's successes and failures.
Beginning with the greenhouse crops:
Despite the pretty rubbish summer weather this has been one of the best years ever in the greenhouse. About half of the tomatoes succumbed to blight in the end, but not before producing some really good crops, and the remainder are still going strong now. The Sungold were very tasty and I have seen a variety in T& M which are described as a 'sister' variety, tasting very similar but with thinner skins that resist splitting.
The cucumbers, though slow to get going, have fruited much more steadily than in previous years, rather than all at once and all over by July. They are still producing now, at just the right rate.
I didn't expect much from the melons but I have been pleasantly surprised to have produced three edible, good sized fruits. Not much yield from the space they take up but satisfying nonetheless. Not yet sure whether to go for it again next year.
Chillies (Ring of Fire) - having learned from previous years not to overwater, these plants have produced the highest yield ever, but I'm a bit disappointed that they are not as hot as in previous years. Next year I'm going to try some different varieties, including some described as 'atomic'!
Peppers - also an amazingly high yield, and hardly any pest damage compared to the last two years.

Now down to the allotment:
Runner beans (Desiree, a white flowered variety) - disappointing really. Failed to grow to the top of their canes and stopped flowering and producing pods really quite early. The beans we did get were very nice though. Next year I think I will do a mixture of them and good old red flowered ones.
French beans (Aiguillon) - fantastic, will definitely do again next year, but will probably sow them all direct, as it is much easier and the direct sown plants were much bigger and healthier.
Broad beans - very good and hardly any blackfly. Next year I might do a spring sowing as well as an autumn one, but it depends a bit on whether I decided to bother with
Peas - delicious, but just so much faff. I have saved masses of seed, so I might find I just have to sow some next year, but I'm tempted to just do more broad beans instead. Bought frozen peas are pretty good really. To be decided.
calabrese and summer caulis - all pretty rubbish and I definitely won't bother next year. Will concentrate on winter brassicas and a few summer cabbages. These weren't up to much either this year but I will try maybe a different variety next summer. Must remember to start psb much later.
Tomatoes - if they hadn't all got blight they would have been amazing. Will try some blight resistant varieties next year.
Sweetcorn - did too much and haven't been able to keep up. A lot of it has gone to waste. Delicious though, as usual.
Squashes - pretty good. Tried the first Blue Ballet squash roasted the other night and it was delicious. Even the children liked it. Next year will do fewer pumpkins and more of this type of thing. The butternuts have done well too. Despite having three courgette plants we don't seem to have been quite so inundated as in previous years, but a reasonably steady supply anyway.
Potatoes - Mimi and Anya definitely the nicest. Charlottes were fine, just a bit boring. My maincrops - Sarpo Mira are a huge disappointment. Tough skins and a very dry texture. Feeling a bit depressed at the thought of the amount we still have to get through. Definitely never again. They are supposed to be blight resistant, but frankly I'd rather take my chances with the ordinary sort. Possibly won't even bother with maincrops at all next year. Use the space for something else...
Carrots - better and more than last year. Something I need to keep working on.
Onions - all pretty good really and hardly any rot.
Garlic - not bad, but pretty small cloves and some not split properly. Must try harder.
Leeks - first planting looking really good, will start harvesting soon. Second planting still quite small and developing rust. Not sure what to do as not had this problem before.
Celeriac - haven't harvested any yet, but looking good...
Strawberries - it seems so long ago, but they did pretty well, and still producing the odd one now and again.
Currants - didn't get many. Plan to plant more bushes in the winter.
Loganberries - early days, not much to harvest this year.
Raspberries - a lot of raspberry beetle in early ones, later ones much better. Plan to buy fresh canes and put them in at the allotment rather than in the garden.
Apples - two new trees - two apples on one of them! Not sampled yet.

Not a bad year all in all. I haven't had to buy vegetables at all since June, and I still have plenty of potatoes, onions, leeks, celeriac, french beans, squashes, winter cabbages and carrots to keep us going for a good few weeks yet.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Eating the melon

This is our last melon of three. The flavour of two and three was slightly better than number one, after leaving the plants unwatered for several weeks, however it was still slightly bland. I suppose water melon often is. Still - they were a pretty good size and lovely and juicy.

This afternoon I have spent about two hours chopping up apples, courgettes, green tomatoes and onions for a batch of 'glutney'. The apples are from my neighbour's tree, everything else was mine. The actual cooking will take place this evening. Hopefully I will also find time to do a batch of spicy pumpkin chutney. Not today though.

The peppers are beginning to ripen now, you can tell which ones are going to be red and which are orange.

I've bought myself a new bike! It was an amazing bargain - less than half price. I have put a lift-off basket on the front for bringing the veg home in.

Looks like the house move is off. We haven't been able to find anything suitable so have had to take the house off the market. Oh well, probably wasn't to be.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Overdue plot update

Here is the bit where I recently cleared the path of weeds and put down bark chippings. Should be much more low maintenance now. On the left you can see the purple sprouting brocolli, which is covered in black mould from all the whitefly. Even the cabbage whites have been put off, as there are no visible caterpillars on them.

This is one of my very respectable-sized butternut squashes, there are four of them altogether, this is the biggest. For ages I didn't think they were going to produce any fruit at all, but once they appeared they grew very quickly.

The pumpkins and strange marrow/pumpkiny hybrid thingies. I bet they will taste disgusting. Sweetcorn in the background - we have corn coming out of our ears - I ate three cobs in one sitting this lunchtime.

I weeded the Autumn King carrot patch today, and also dug up the few remaining Early Nantes from the other patch and cleared that area. Weeded and tidied the celeriacs too.

Here is some really lush looking clover, ready for digging in - lots of nitrogen rich humus for next year's brassicas. And some bolted lettuces which need pulling out.

And finally, the ornamental area, above, and plot overview, below.

My French beans, Aiguillon, have been superb. My only complaint is that they are a bit fiddly to pick, and difficult to see, being the same colour as the foliage. But they have gone on and on producing masses of pods, they have done much better than the runner beans.

We have been busy stressing out over our house move as well - looks as if the house we wanted has some structural problems, so I think we will be walking away from that one - more's the pity. Going to see another one on Tuesday, meanwhile we are hoping our buyer doesn't get fed up and pull out.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Will my peppers ever ripen?

Well the chillies are ripening at the rate of several per day. We have had one curry (it wasn't very hot..) but the rest have all just gone in the freezer for now.

But these peppers are staying resolutely green. A few are beginning to darken, but now I'm beginning to worry that with the end of the 'summer' almost here, they may never ripen. We'll have to eat them all green.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Attention being distracted from allotment...

I have had a couple of sessions down at the allotment recently, but it's mainly been a question of harvesting, harvesting and more harvesting, and sometimes feeling guilty because of not harvesting, and just eating junk food instead. Sometimes feeling guilty for leaving a bag of runner beans in the fridge for too long and then composting them. Anyway it's raining at the moment so that's my excuse for today. However another major distraction is that we might be moving house! I say 'might be', because even though we have accepted an offer on ours, and had our offer accepted on another, as everyone who has moved house will know, 'there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip', and it's still early days. Two out of the three offerers have changed their minds, and we are currently waiting for the results of a survey on the new house. Still, fingers crossed, and if all goes according to plan, it is going to be quite an exciting project. It is a good sized plot - not big enough to replace the allotment - but has a perfect corner for siting my greenhouse, a herb garden and a few fruit trees. And it is still within cycling distance from the allotment.
Will keep you posted.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Onion Strings

I've been stringing up some of my onions. I've done three or four strings altogether but this is the best so far, I was beginning to get the hang of it by then. Actually these are mostly shallots. I will be digging up my brown onions tomorrow.

I decided to dig up all the useless brassicas, but I still need to dig over the area and sow some green manure. The phacelia I sowed a few weeks ago is ready for digging in, and there is a bare patch where the new potatoes have come out. I have now finally finished digging up the Charlottes (sigh of relief) and once we have eaten all of them we can start on the Anyas. At this rate the maincrops will be left in the ground until well into the autumn.

The pumpkins and the enormous marrow type things are starting to turn orange, and I have two tiny butternut squashes starting to grow. The plants are looking a bit yellow though, they probably want feeding.

My to-do list is getting ever longer.

I still haven't dug up the allotment tomatoes, because they don't seem to be getting any worse. The blight hasn't affected the fruit, and there isn't much left on them now anyway. I have a small amount of blight starting to develop in the greenhouse now too, but it doesn't seem to be spreading and the tomatoes are nearly all finished on those particular plants so I will leave them, and keep a close eye on them.

Also in the greenhouse, I have picked my first red chilli, and there is another one on the turn. There is plenty of fruit on the peppers, and hopefully the sunny weather will encourage them to ripen now as well. Oh yes, and the two remaining melons are biding their time....

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Ripening melons

The three melons seem to have stopped growing now, and one only reached kiwi-fruit size. This one I discovered sitting in a wet patch and was beginning to rot on the end, so I have had to pick it. It felt ripe, although there was no aroma, but obviously we had to cut the rotten bit off and therefore had to stick a spoon in and taste it. It's juicy, but doesn't have much flavour. I will stop watering them now so hopefully the other two will be a bit sweeter when they ripen.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Sunshine at last

At last I have been able to get down to the allotment, after what seems like weeks. I tried to go on Thursday but the minute I got down there and got out of the car it started to rain. I just managed to empty a bokashi bin before I had to make a dash for home.

Anyway, I have had a good session up there today, trimming the grass edges, weeding the carrot seedlings and erecting a fleece fence around them to keep the carrot flies off. Then I decided to dig up some of my maincrop potatoes to see what they look like.

They are the pink ones on the right, Sarpo Mira. They are supposed to be blight resistant. I dug them up because quite frankly, I'm a bit fed up with Charlottes. We seem to have eaten nothing else for weeks and I just fancied a jacket potato for my supper.

I also dug up nearly all the red onions, and the remaining shallots, and brought them home to dry.

At the moment they are outside on the patio, but at the first sign of rain I can move the whole thing into the shed. I also had a go at 'stringing' the shallots which have already been dried, but I won't show you as they are a bit rubbish. Maybe I'll have a bit more success with the onions.

The outdoor tomatoes at the allotment are showing signs of blight, despite being sprayed with dithane. I have already dug one plant up (the worst affected), but I have left the rest for now, though I know it's probably too late for them now. I have cut off most of the trusses with ripe/semi-ripe/on the turn tomatoes and brought them home to ripen here.

Then I picked some runner beans and some french beans and a couple of carrots, and a courgette.

As you can see the beans tend to dangle down on the inside of the frame, making it very easy to pick them. They don't have a great deal of foliage, but there seem to be plenty of beans.

Finally I sprayed the grass and weeds on the path in front of the hedge, so that I can put down bark chips, like I've done further up. The grass has spread to the actual plot, surrounding the tomatoes and lettuces, and it's very difficult to remove. I won't be able to do anything about it until those crops are harvested and out of the way.

Then I came home and sorted, washed, scrubbed and strung.

We have a birthday tomorrow, and we will then have an official teenager in the family!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Please sign the anti-Aminopyralid petition

You have probably all heard about Aminopyralid - the herbicide which has been contaminating manure and badly affecting peoples' allotment and garden crops. You can read more about it here, and also sign a petition against its use.

I haven't been able to do much on the plot lately, like most of you I expect, as the weather has been so rubbish, but hopefully I will be able to bring you some allotment news later today.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Melon, Raspberry Beetle and the Trouble with Fruit

The biggest melon is now grapefruit sized, with the other three ranging from kiwi-sized to apple-sized.

On the left (above) is the pumpkin-squash hybrid thing, you can't really tell from the picture but it is in fact about 1 ft long, and 8" in diameter. On the right is a Blue Ballet squash.

The runner beans being pollinated.

The leeks I put in a few days ago, just visible in the foreground. Behind them, some others that I planted a few weeks ago, doing well. Behind them, the shallots I am about to harvest (the smallest will be pickled), and the onions.

And finally, a plot overview, showing lots of empty spaces where I have cut down the peas and broad beans and sown clover and field beans as green manure, and a gap behind where potatoes have been dug up, but that bit is still empty. You can't see much else without enlarging the picture.

So, to my raspberry dilemma. As I mentioned previously, I was thinking of starting some new raspberries at the allotment this winter, but having read this discussion with some fellow raspberry growers, I've been rather put off the idea, and it's also put me off blackberries.

For me, the most useful fruit is the sort you can just pick and eat raw, unsweetened, and with nothing more than a small dollop of creme fraiche to make palatable, as opposed to the sort which needs cooking and turning into high calorie puddings. Strawberries only last a few weeks, and raspberries are the obvious thing to take over when the strawberries have finished. Other than tree fruit, for which I am limited by space and cost restrictions, what else is there?

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Tomato Pulp

I have christened my passata maker. I had enough ripe tomatoes to make these two containers of tomato pulp for the freezer. When I've got plenty I will make it into proper tomato sauce with garlic, olive oil etc. I had already picked the herbs, thinking I was going to make the sauce straight away (but didn't), so the herbs are already included.

Dish of the day today is pasta with fried courgettes and garlicky cucumber tsatsiki (?) tsasiki? - the greek stuff.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Greenhouse Report 2

The first few peppers forming, they are either red or orange, I lost track of the labelling when I potted them up.

The melon is roughly the size of a small lemon, or maybe a satsuma. There are another three which are also swelling, still about grape/walnut sized.

Went to the allotment today to a) show a friend who hadn't seen it before and b) check for storm damage, but what I actually found was a bird trapped in one netting tunnel and a cabbage white in another - eek! Managed to free them both but have not as yet checked to see whether it left any eggs behind ( the butterfly, not the bird!)

Courgettes are really starting to take off now, picked 5 today. The pumpkin seeds which I had saved from last year are, as predicted, some interesting pumpkin/squash hybrid. One plant has an enormous marrow like thing growing on it, the other has some knobbly elongated pumpkin shaped things on it. It'll be interesting to see what they taste like.

Getting lots and lots of cucumbers and tomatoes now, I just hope the outdoor tomatoes don't succumb to blight, after all this rain. I wondered about spraying them with dithane or some other anti-fungal preparation as a precaution, but haven't done anything about it, still just wondering.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Monday's harvest

In the yellow container are the last of the 1st early Mimi potatoes, and we are now onto the Charlottes, which seem to have done very well indeed. This basketful is from the first two plants. The dwarf french bean plants are still very small, but are already producing quite a lot of pods, and I have picked the first few runner beans as well. The peas have almost finished. The tomato skins are getting better, although they still don't taste particularly sweet or juicy. Perhaps I need to let them ripen a bit longer before picking them.

The melon (which in the picture below was the size of a gooseberry) is now the size of a ping pong ball! I will post pictures at regular intervals... next one at the weekend.

Saturday, 11 July 2009


I have counted about 6 female flowers, with tiny melons behind them, and two of them are beginning to swell. If they grow to full size I will have to come up with a way of supporting them until they ripen. I have heard of people using bras or tights to hold them up, but I hope my bras just won't be big enough!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Notes for Next Year

Have had a whole day at the plot today and about time too. Did lots of weeding, sowed some green manure in a few empty spaces, removed broad beans (leaving a few stumps with pods left to ripen for seed collection), re-sowed two rows of carrots which failed to germinate (although I'm a bit worried it might be the seeds that are at fault - they are Autumn King as opposed to the Early Nantes which are doing really well at the moment) and put a few more french bean seeds in the gaps where they hadn't come up.

I have run out of compost bin space. Next job, as a matter of urgency, is to empty the older bin to make some more space. One thing I could do with it is mulch the PSB.

Cauliflowers have suddenly appeared, although they are a bit yellow and pathetic looking. Several of the PSBs are sprouting and one has already started flowering. Gathered enough cauliflower and brocolli to make a very nice brassica cheese, topped with grilled red onion and served with new potatoes and cherry tomatoes - delicious.

Pauline was going around with a man with a clipboard, taking notes. She says, "this gentleman is judging the plots."
"What for?" I ask.
"Best kept allotment" says she.
"I thought you had to enter for that - fill out a form and such like"
"Well," she says, "if I see a plot that's looking pretty good, I enter it."
I was being 'entered'. Gosh. I wonder what constitutes 'pretty good' - it obviously doesn't necessarily mean neat and tidy and no weeds.
They stood there for quite a while looking at it, and I could hear her telling him all about the vandalism, and all the misfortunes that have befallen my shed. Perhaps I will win the 'most stoical in the face of extreme provocation' consolation prize.

Below is a list of 'things to do differently/better' next year, I have been meaning to jot down for a while now. A bit boring to read but hopefully will be useful for me to consult next spring.

Vertical supports - two rows - use both sides. Sow one row a month starting in April. Sow direct?
French beans:
Sow direct - four rows, two in May, two mid June. Some spares in pots.
Sow runner beans direct?
Lots more early Nantes
Maybe just 3 varieties, 1 early, 1 2nd early, 1 main. Stagger planting times - 2nd earlies later than 1st.
P.S Brocolli - sow later - late spring, transplant early summer.
Don't bother with calabrese/cauliflower
Slug protection for cabbages

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Greenhouse Report

These posts are coming thick and fast, I know, but there is just so much happening at the moment. Below, right, are Sungold and Gardener's Delight toms, on the left cucumbers and down at the bottom peppers.

Below are Marmande (left) and Moneymaker, Red Cherry at the far end, and lots more peppers. You can't see them but there are lots of pepper flowers hiding under the leaves.

The chillies (below left) have plenty of flowers and some fruit. On the right, the melons are going a bit beserk. There are only one or two female flowers, with tiny fruitlets behind them, which I have tried to pollinate even though the blurb said they were self-pollinating. I don't want to leave anything to chance. I have nipped out the growing tips to try and stop them taking over the whole greenhouse. You can't see too clearly from this picture (unless you click to enlarge it), but the shoots are snaking all over the place.

This is interesting - the lettuces, which I sowed last September to overwinter, began to bolt several weeks ago, but I never got around to pulling them out, and they are now developing flowers. I have never seen lettuce flowers before, but I thought I may as well let them go all the way now and produce some seed which I could collect.