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

Monday, 30 July 2012

Picked this week - 29 July 2012

Runner beans!! The top two were the first of the season, earlier in the week, the large number below were picked later. Not a lot really, but it's a start and much earlier than expected.

Another small piece of excitement - a cherry tomato!
 I'm hoping there'll be more to join it soon.
Another first of the year - beetroot - with a very late savoy cabbage which should have been ready in winter!

I've been thinning the apples this week and the tiny removed ones  will be used for sauce.

I think I've now cleared the allotment gooseberry bushes of fruit - there was quite a lot but none of it very large.

Although we have enough rhubarb at home, I decided to pull a couple of sticks from one of the new crowns at the allotment. You aren't really supposed to do this - rather leave the crowns alone for the first year but the sticks look good and strong so I'm hoping it will be OK

More of the summer turnips, some bolting bits of lettuce, a couple of long green cucumbers and the hot white radishes.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Picked this week 23 July 2012

Now lifting the early maincrop potatoes. These are possibly Charlotte salad potatoes - the labels got lost and so a bit of guesswork is involved. We're a bit worried about how wet the ground is but so far hardly any have rotted. The last couple of days have been sunny and a week of dry weather is forecast so everywhere should have the chance to dry out properly.

Picked the first of our gooseberries - mainly from a bush that was already planted on the allotment when we took over but a few are from a small 'stick' planted in Spring. I've picked almost all the red- and black-currants now and the raspberries and strawberries are slowing down too - still enough for breakfasts though.

There are still plenty of broad beans and peas, and more than enough kale!

One small cauliflower...
courgettes and crystal lemon cucumber

 ....and courgettes, cucumbers

an intentionally small cucumber, barely bigger than a courgette

and even a couple of tomatoes.

Friday, 20 July 2012


 We've been out for another trip to Chatsworth - round their enormous kitchen garden - and I've come back with more ideas I can use here.
This very dark leaved aubergine would, I'm sure, work in a mixed flower and veg bed.

I don't have a shed in a position where I could grow currants up the side of it - but I'm going to have a go on the fence.

This is definitely the look I want to achieve in my pretty but productive section. So far this year, the slugs and snails are working against me as all the lettuce has been eaten!

Peonies among the vegetables? Well, why not.

Monday, 16 July 2012


Just been weeding on a sunny afternoon and now have a vase of them for the table!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Picked this week 15 July 2012

 Last week we had some torrential downpours, then some steady persistent rain with paths flooded, drains overflowing and allotments waterlogged. Fortunately, this week hasn't been so bad. Rain on several days but not too heavy and a couple of days were actually warm and sunny.

Our plot isn't anything like as wet as some but still has squelchy bits so we thought it best to start and lift some things - the remainder of the winter onions, the ones not running to seed. This is the first time we've really tried winter onions and they seem to have done quite well.

Then we lifted the extra early potatoes - Swift. Some were damaged, possibly by eelworm, and none of them very large. The second earlies look stronger, healthier plants so maybe they'll give more dinners.

Still picking broad beans - one bag was picked on Tuesday, the other on Thursday, so despite the weather they're continuing to  fill. The first row of over-wintered beans is now finished and lifted but we have another one growing.

Also lots of peas, now picking from 2 rows.

 A bit surprisingly the soft fruit continues to ripen. I'm picking strawberries a little under-ripe to get them before the slugs do!

allotment loganberries/autumn raspberries and 4 gooseberries!

 The gooseberry bushes at the allotment have a small amount of fruit on them this year. I think shaping the bushes will improve it. I'm not sure what exactly the red fruit is. The plants were in the allotment when we took over and I though they were autumn fruiting raspberries but as they have fruit so early I wonder if they're actually loganberries.

yesterday's pickings from the garden
The home bushes are still producing well - raspberries, redcurrants, different types of strawberries and what for us is a bumper crop of blackberries.
weird radish
I picked from two radish rows this week - the first was normal, the second was long white roots. I thought it was a row of mixed radish but it looks rather strange. I can't make my mind up whether I've lifted small turnips or something by mistake.

We've reached the end of cabbage and cauliflower for a while but still have kale which is OK but a bit chewy!

Monday, 9 July 2012


 It's that exciting moment when I find the first set runner bean!!
Not very large and so far the only one but it proves something is growing despite the dreadful weather.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Blue peas

 Despite the soggy weather and attacks from slugs and snails the experimental Blauwschokker peas aren't doing too badly. 

As promised the flowers are purple like sweet peas - though not scented,

 the pods are deep purpley-blue, at times appearing black

and the peas inside are green!

There aren't that many flowers to be followed by pods but they are quite attractive for vegetables. 
They've been hampered this year by the planting of flowers too close to the pea wigwam, so next time I'll try to give them more light and space.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

More pickings - 3rd July 2012

 Firstly two things that got missed off the last 'picked this week' post - some baby turnips, thinnings really and small enough to be cooked and eaten whole ....

 ....and enough garlic to hopefully keep the most determined vampire at bay.

Today we gave up waiting for a dry day and went to the allotment in the drizzle ... and found exciting things - blackcurrants and some strangely named autumn raspberries..

the first cucumber and two small courgettes (they didn't look like they'd grow any more and others are starting to form) ...

...four cauliflowers that I thought I'd lift before the slugs and snails ate them...

...a bag of peas....

...and a bigger bag of broad beans


I've had to, very reluctantly, cut back some of the foxgloves lining the garden path as they're getting tangled in the washing. 
Now have a rather large flower arrangement.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Picked this week - 1 July 2012

 We've had a busy week merely picking - and then freezing -produce.
 LOTS of broad beans
 A respectably-sized cauliflower and quite a few peas (they're from different day's pickings which is why half are bagged)
No cabbage right now but some kale and rather woody radishes.

...and runner beans are flowering so green beans soon!