welcome to my little suburban oasis, filled with flowers,fruit trees and vegetables

Thursday, 30 July 2009


the tomatoes DO have blight. not all of them affected by it yet. have lifted some, pruned others and taken a lot of green fruit off - some should ripen, but some have already gone into chutney. plum tomatoes, both Super Roma and Poire Jaune, seem to be worst affected.

Monday, 27 July 2009


have had to lift and throw away 2 tomato plants. they had some strange kind of rot, completely destroying the main stem - I don't think it is blight. so far only 2 plants affected, all the others look fine and I have started picking fron the Shirley tomatoes that were planted in the plastic greenhouse.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

picked this week

last of the cauliflowers, 3 heads of broccoli (stumps left to flower again), 3 small courgettes, last of the broad beans (plants cut back to see if they'll grow again), mangetout peas, peas from aldermans and feltham firsts, 3 runner beans, some small twisted french beans, some rocket, handful of raspberries(possibly the last), 2 blueberries, the first tomato


pumpkin growing through the mangetout peas

sunshine and showers seem to be good for the pumpkins and squash. several now have small fruits set but the halloween pumpkins are doing best.

three sisters planting
the pumpkin in the runner beans is taking over the world - have stopped the end but it's now sending out side shoots. the scarlet emperor beans are doing well - 3 picked so far! - and somewhere underneath the sweetcorn is trying to grow but I think it may be overwhelmed by the other plants

blueberries and potatoes

either something is very large or something is very,very small

Friday, 24 July 2009


a rather strange looking cauliflower

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


first runner bean.

first potatoes?

emptied one of the potato bags recently. the tops seemed to have died back so it looked like time to see how many had grown. just a BIT disappointing - found three potatoes, the largest the size of a cherry. hoping the other bags have done better. meanwhile have re-planted this first bag with sprouting potato chunks from the kitchen

Monday, 20 July 2009


cabbage white

in today's sunshine the garden filled with butterflies. cabbage whites, a small cloud of gatekeepers on marjoram flowers, commas and an elusive speckled wood.



Sunday, 19 July 2009

peas and peppers

went on a trip to buy some paint and got side-tracked into buying some Kelvedon Wonder pea seed and rescuing a reduced price pepper plant. I've set the seed very quickly today as they should be sown by mid-July - a little bit late but not much. the pepper plant already has a tiny fruit on it but needed instant potting on

Friday, 17 July 2009

moon planting

have been trying my best this year to follow a bio-dynamic moon planting guide when sowing and planting out in the garden. I thought things were doing really well on this system.BUT while looking at different sites at the subject last night, I discovered that everyone else disagrees with the site I was following on the position of the moon and which constellation it is in. if, as it seems, the information I've been using was wrong then any improvement in the garden was due to other factors NOT the moon planting. remain in confusion for now.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


we've set a variety of pumpkins this year and most are growing really well. the notable exception is the Hundredweight type which is one of the few being grown from purchased seed - the others are mainly seed from pumpkins and squash bought for dinner. some of them,the squashes such as the Red Kabocha, are making bush-like plants with signs of round fruit on them. the pumpkin types are growing madly, trailing along the garden,up peas,beans and their supports.

a big halloween pumpkin growing up the mangetout peas
they tend to have less signs of fruit yet.the one in the runner beans is about 9' long- going up and then along the wires between the bean sticks. the one growing up the mangetout peas wasn't doing well till I put an upturned wire hanging basket over it - I expected it just to grow over and around the basket but it found its way into the peas and shot off into the sky.

2 sisters - pumpkin and corn

have planted the pumpkins and squash with beans, corn and/peas - all are doing equally well. the best plants, though, have come from home grown seed - originally,3 years ago I think, a Halloween pumpkin bought in Norfolk.

planting out

winter cabbage tucked in by the peas

had some winter cabbage getting in desperate need of a permanent home. unfortunately, in a way, the feltham first peas wouldn't finish fruiting and this was the space we'd planned to put these cabbage into. the small space between the peas and path has had radish in - these haven't done very well, mainly due to the mini heatwave and lack of rain(have some sown later that are growing well in this week's rain). so, we outed the radish and tucked the cabbage in. when the peas eventually finish, instead of ripping the whole plant out, we will just cut off the tops - this won't disrupt the cabbage and also will help fix nitrogen in the soil. have put plastic bottle collars round the plants to keep the pigeons off.

also planted out some lettuce in the gap that garlic has been lifted from. a lot of these seedlings have been eaten away by slugs/snails which have turned up since the mini-heatwave.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

grow it, eat it

hitting that time of year when everything comes ready to eat at once. we have broad beans, peas, courgettes, some rather small cauliflowers, the first of the greenmagic broccoli, some beetroot( we ate the stalks and leaves boiled like cabbage as well as the root), the last of the lettuce which is starting to bolt and some very small, curly french beans. everything's doing wondefully

Friday, 10 July 2009


found the most amazing dragonfly on the beans today.unsure what exactly it is but certainly very large,about 4 inches. if anyone out there has an idea, please let me know

Thursday, 9 July 2009

front garden

I'm not a person for having a corporation-style display of summer bedding plants, but I do have seed boxes of antirrhinums and phlox waiting to be planted out, so today I've started on clearing out the front garden to take them. the perennial blue geraniums are trying to take over so we are lifting some and offering them on freecycle. also trying to get rid of the suckers that come from the white lilacs - the trees are lovely in flower but very invasive.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


now that the rain has stopped,if only for a while,the lavender is full of bees.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


I am trying out a new variety of tomato this year - gartenperle, a very small plant suitable for baskets. I have 2 semi-circular baskets,each with 2 tomato plants, nasturtiums and tagetes-which should help keep whitefly at bay- fastened to a trellis support. in the very hot weather last week they were drying out and flagging, but since the rains have come they are looking much better and full of flower

baskets full of tomatoes,nasturtiums and tagetes

most of the other tomatoes are doing well though one, a small unstaked bush variety, got very battered by the rain- now tied up, it is improving. I have started to remove some of the leaves, all sideshoots on tall varieties and some side shoots of bush varieties to encourage early cropping and also to reduce the possibility of blight.

a shirley tomato

the shirley tomatoes are the most advanced as they were originally planted inside a small plastic greenhouse which has now been removed.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


lifted the red lettuce that has been growing since winter and planted out some broccoli and cabbage today. as the garden is rather small, these have been started in seed trays and potted on into small pots, waiting for their turn in the garden.I always thought we might be restricting their growth but I recently read in a Bob Flowerdew book that transplanting brassicas and thereby breaking the tap root will give better plants in the long run.
small brassicas waiting their turn

to protect them against pigeon damage, we put a collar made from either a plastic bottle or a large yogurt pot over them till the plants are established.

this collar was forgotten though and now needs to be cut off. the collars may also help keep slugs away to a certain extent and stop the cat from scratching things up.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

peas now,beans soon

busy picking peas again. now have feltham first,rondo and aldermans all cropping together - a bit surprised at them doing so well through the heat of last week. have a small number of late-set rondos coming through. these haven't germinated well at all, so we have now finished up the packet.
have very small beans setting , both french and runner, so hopefully not long till we can eat them.
discovered some cauliflowers at the back of the garden. I know this sounds foolish( after all, we must have planted them) but, although the brassicas start out with labels, they tend to lose them somehow and at planting-out size it isn't easy to tell them apart.
also have some good heads of green magic broccoli developing - daughter not impressed after the last glut of broccoli.

Friday, 3 July 2009

rain at last

after a really scorching week,at last, a good downpour to soak the garden and swell the fruit.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


it is sooo hot today that this red-hot poker is drooping.

solomon's seal sawfly

sawflies hard at work

every year,not long after flowering,the leaves of my solomon's seal are completely eaten away by small grey/green caterpillars. soapy garlic spray didn't seem to get rid of them and, as they attack after flowering and seem to leave every other plant alone, I didn't want to use totally lethal chemical sprays. I tried to find a name for the culprit in gardening books and on the web, to no avail. then I happened to be looking in my daughter's Guide to British Insects and found a sawfly that targets solomon's seal and, surprise, is called solomon's seal sawfly.

after dinner, leaves are stripped bare