21 December, 2013

A short update on the state of my stored veg.  The apples are not bad and I have made tasty desserts with them, but some have rotted as expected and many have brown spot which doesn't seem to affect the taste.

The potatoes have all been eaten and they were very good.  I've ordered next year's from Jamieson Brothers and have plumped for Kestrel (again) and Romano.

I continue to harvest beetroot despite them being heavily chomped by slugs.  I cut out the bad bits.

Finally, the onions have been a disaster this year, most of them have rotted and I have had to throw them away and have had to resort to buying them (the shame).  Not sure why I have had this problem this year.

13th November, 2013

Not much to report at the moment. I've removed plants such as courgettes and sweetcorn and added them to the compost bin.  The blackberry and tayberry have been cut back and the new growth tied in to the frames for next year.

All the apples have been picked and only the beetroot, leeks and parsnips remain.  The bare beds look a bit sorry for themselves especially with the spent compost from the tomato plants dumped on them rather haphazardly.  I could and should dig the stuff in, but I need to add some more compost from the bins so that will mean sorting them out; a messy job.

I harvested some parsnips last weekend after a frost, so they should be nice and sweet. Well they were a pleasant addition to the Sunday roast.  But they have canker which always happens for me, fortunately it is easily removed with peeling.  I'm quite pleased with the length of one of them and there's very little forking which indicates my soil is getting better.

In the greenhouse the sweet peppers have probably stopped growing and are slowly turning red.  I'll pick one soon and take a picture of my pathetic effort.  I'm going to concentrate on growing chillies from now on as I do use a lot of them in curries.

30th September, 2013

The outdoor tomatoes got blight! So I picked off all the trusses and dug up the plants.  I took a risk and kept most of the tomatoes but there were the tell tale signs of damage caused by the blight and so I was expecting to have to throw most away, which as it turned is what I had to do.  However, there were some that were OK and I made some tasty passata with them.

The sweetcorn has not been discovered by the badgers this year yet and they are some of the juiciest and sweetest I've had.  I'm really pleased with the result.

But..... the aubergines are a complete disaster....again.  The result is just one shrivelled fruit, rubbish.  I'm not going to grow them anymore.

I planted 2 rows of garlic but I'm not going to plant over wintering onions.  I'm going to grow from seed as I got good results using that method this year.  I continue to harvest large courgettes and beetroot.  The soft fruit is also very good, there are plenty of blackberries and raspberries.  I'm just about on the last of the plums but they are getting over ripe now.  I will be picking the apples in the next few weeks.

2nd September, 2013

It's been a while since the last blog; part of that time was a nice holiday. It's always a nervous time leaving the veg just when the harvest is about to arrive.  Will I come back to a mess of overripe tomatoes and dried up beans?  Fortunately neither, it must have rained on and off and the watering system in the greenhouse did it's job.

The biggest harvest has to have been the french beans.  I must have got several kilos.  This is just a fraction of them.

I like them curried or cooked with cherry tomatoes.

I had a small amount of the morello cherries, just enough to cook with sugar for one person.

The beetroot have grown very large this year.

I got nearly 2 bags of kestrel spuds which is a moderate yield. I think I can improve on that with better soil.  No blight this year.

The onions are also a good size.  That's quite good given I grew these from seed.

The parsnips have been good and tasty too despite the cabbage white caterpillars stripping the leaves, fortunately they did this after the turnips had grown to a good size.

The downside of big harvests though is for the second year the plum tree has cracked a branch under the weight of fruit.  I must learn to not be so greedy and do some thinning.

16th July 2013

I remembered to take some quick pictures for this blog late on Sunday.  I haven't done much in the garden as the weather has been very hot.  The only reason to go outside was to do some important late evening watering.

The harvest is starting properly now and first off are the strawberries.  They are very good this year and there are lots of them.  I made some ice cream, jam and smoothies from about 2kg in one picking.

They tasted great just as they are too.

The greenhouse is now set up with the drip irrigation system.  I spent some time getting it balanced so that all the plants get water.  I can go on holiday knowing that they should be OK.  I also had to buy a new piston for the roof vent opener as it had stopped working.  It's important that there is good airflow so this was a key repair especially now with the current heatwave.  The temperatures are touching 40C.

Nice looking tomatoes with cucumber and melons at the back.

Peppers, chillies and aubergines.

Outside the French beans and tomatoes appreciate the warmth only as long as I water them, the heat would soon shrivel them up otherwise.

I pulled up the onions planted last October.  It's nice to have home grown again given that last year was a complete no show.

The peas are producing lots of pods.  No sign of pea moth yet, hopefully I sowed them early enough.

26th June, 2013

Another month has passed and I'm pleased to say I have been quite busy in that time.  That's thanks to some nice weather and a few days leave from work.

Now that the tennis at Wimbledon is on we think of strawberries, and mine are looking good I think. They aren't ready yet but they need protecting from the birds. So the net frame has been installed.

I planted the tomatoes (Gardeners' delight) into their final pots in the greenhouse.

I planted the outdoor bush tomatoes in the sidebed.  The leaves are rolled up and an indication that the plant is trying to reduce water loss.  The new growth though is not showing this.

The courgettes and lettuce have grown well.  I harvested three small courgettes already and the lettuce can be cut soon.
The climbing beans (no runner beans this year) and dwarf beans are planted out.
Along with the turnips....
and leeks which I planted by digging a trench first and then the planting holes.  The idea being that I can back fill and get longer stems.
I've got some carrots, hooray!
Peas in flower.
and broad beans.
I'm pleased with the potatoes, although some of them have been eaten a little.
 Lastly, the onions are looking good and I've had one of them for a meal last weekend.
So far growth is good and a plentiful harvest is promised, despite the late start and harsh winter.

Google reader shuts down on Monday

If you are following this blog with Google Reader then this is a reminder to swap to another feed.  I've tried bloglovin' and feedly which I think work well.

29th May 2013

Finally a nice weekend and I made the most of it. I potted on the tomatoes, chillies, peppers, aubergines and melons into 3" pots.

The dwarf beans have finally germinated and there are signs of life from the sweetcorn and climbing French beans.
Outside I planted the courgettes with some lettuce between which I hope will be ready before the courgettes shade them out.
The peas went out too with their supports.  Behind them are the broad beans which are full of flower, I'm expecting a good crop.
At long last the potatoes have emerged and I've earthed them up.
The beetroot went out too along with the onions I grew from seed.  I should have plenty of onions again after a failed crop last year.  No garlic this year though.
It took some time to plant them as the soil had dried out and was quite hard to dig.  If only I had soil like Monty Don who seems to be able to plant his veg by digging with his hands!  Will my soil ever be like that? 

21st May 2013

Another month has passed since the last entry, the reason being that as before nothing much has happened.  The beds still look quite empty of crops but the greenhouse is beginning to green up.

So I have trays of seedlings.  These are beetroot which I will probably plant next weekend.

And some lettuce, I'll need to sow some more for later harvests.

On the other side of the greenhouse are the tomatoes, chillies, peppers, aubergines and basil which all need pricking out.

On the floor are the sweetcorn and climbing french beans which haven't germinated yet.

I had a few spare pink fir apples so they went into a bucket for an early crop and they are growing well.

Outside the beds are largely bare.

This is the potato bed with eight rows, nothing showing.


There are some onions, the largest being those that overwintered and the sets I planted a few weeks back are showing, plus I have some seed grown onions to plant too.  Under the mesh are kohlrabi which I planted last weekend.

The broad beans are flowering, not much will stop them.

The newly planted asparagus I grew from seed look anorexic compared to the established shoots.  It's not been a bumper harvest just two meals so far.

The strawberries appear to be free of virus this year.  I removed the plants that had contorted fruit and leaves which I assume was due to virus, whatever the plants look to be normal although the plants are not so big and there may not be so much fruit this time.

There has been plenty of blossom this year and the pigeons have not eaten it (so far) although they are pecking at the leaf shoots on the plum tree.  The apple looks good now in the evening sun.

Also the cherry is full of flower and shows promise for some fruit later on which will be a first.