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

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Useful 'weeds'

 Last year we grew some spinach at the allotment. It carried on growing and growing, and we just left it there to run to seed which we then collected for this year's plants. What we didn't expect was that the uncollected seed would self-set. But they did - and spinach has sprung up between the cabbage and cauliflowers we've planted this year. It's very useful for salads though.

Are these blackberries really weeds? Well, we didn't plant them - they're part of the prickly hedge that surrounds the allotments - and when they spread into our patch they're a dreadful nuisance that we immediately dig up. Still, I like blackberries for apple pies or jam and having seen the price supermarkets are asking for blackberries, I'm not going to complain about them. Just stay by the fence, will you?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Picked this week 25th August 2013

 a big bag of runner beans with thinnings from the allotment apple and pear trees
 lots of blackberries and a few late strawberries
 a mixed bag of cabbage, rhubarb sticks and leeks
tomatoes, salad leaves and french beans

and a string of garlic

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Late Summer flowers

Into late summer now and the garden is turning orange!

Orange montbretia....

orange rudbeckias....

more montbretia...



with blue platycodons

and pink hollyhocks for contrast.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Seed collecting

 Gardeners always seem to be thinking one or two seasons ahead so with Autumn fast approaching it's time to think about gathering seed ready for next Spring.

We've has peas and broad beans spread out to dry for a while. Some of these will be eaten, the messier ones saved for seed.

 Now I have the kitchen windowsill covered in foil trays filled with drying seed pods - these are winter salad leaves in the pod..

..and shelled



and radish

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Picked this week - 18th August 2013

we've just returned from a week's holiday so have lots of veg that needs picking NOW - before it bolts or gets completely eaten by birds/slugs/snails!

 We found a couple of spring cabbage - that should really have been ready to pick before now.

A massive cucumber  - the outer is rather tough so for once I'm peeling it.

Various spinach/ lettuce leaves 

courgettes - before our holiday, I said we didn't have the glut that others growers had been talking about. Looks like the plants are determined to prove us wrong.

Another scraggy cauliflower and some runner beans

a pleasant surprise - lots of blackberries. we've picked easily twice this amount in the last couple of days but now they may slow down.
thinnings from the garden apple tree - to reduce the weight on the branches AND to add to the blackberries
tomatoes of all different shapes and sizes

and we've started to lift some onions - just the ones we need for cooking at the moment.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Before and after

 We've been away for a week - and this is the jungle that was waiting for us on our return

an hour or so with the pruners and you can step inside!
If you look carefully at the top on the left, you can even see the grapes.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Picked this week - 5th August 2013

We've harvested such a lot of all sorts of things this week that it rather feels like this post should be "what WASN'T picked this week".

Runner beans, broad beans, two very nice cauliflowers, all the first early potatoes, red cabbage, green cabbage, starting-to-bolt lettuce, peas, cucumber, beetroot, a turnip, raspberries and the first blackberry and tomato!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

August in the garden - veg

Our main vegetable crops are now grown on the allotment - where we have masses of peas and beans coming ready. At home, there's more of a 'waiting' atmosphere between spring crops - lettuce that's now bolting - and late summer ones. The only regular croppers are the mangetout peas. Apples, borlotto beans, tomatoes and chillies are starting to fill and ripen though - and I even have some greenhouse grapes!

August in the Garden - flowers

Although we've had more rain recently, the garden still feels dry and tired.

lavender borders
Platycodon bud ready to open
It feels like the world's waiting for a late summer flush of flowers. For now though there are a few hidden here and there.

Scented pink rose

Curious combo of roses and rhubarb

Sweet peas
annual poppy
wild flower seed mix

black hollyhocks

corn marigolds