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

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Pumpkins for winter

 After last year's disappointing pumpkin harvest, I'm pleased to see them growing and swelling early this year.
Looking forward to winter stews and chillis with them.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Picked this week - 27th July 2014

the first french beans of the season, a couple of small runner beans and a handful of peas
a small cabbage but it didn't look quite as weird as in this photo
lots of blackberries
I've been eating tomatoes form my parents for the last week or two - now we have some of our own
courgettes and cucumbers - though having missed quite a few days at the allotment the cucumbers have grown a bit too large.
baby sized turnips - part of the thinnings

Friday, 25 July 2014

Autumn already?

It may be only July and really hot but the allotment blackberries are already ripening. Surely that means Autumn can't be far away?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Butterflies and birds

 Since Saturday's torrential rain, the garden seems ful of butterflies, bees and birds. Not all of them would sit still enough to be photographed though....

Buddleia starting to prove a major attraction

even Cabbage Whites look pretty when not eating cabbages
A very squashed-looking baby robin

Trying to pace crops

 It's too easy to go from no veg to a glut - and back again - in days, so this year we're making an effort to spread cropping over a longer period. The first pea row has just about finished, two (not very healthy ones) are still cropping

and more have just been planted out - hopefully this should give us a longer period with fresh peas, rather than having them all cropping in one week and all the fuss of having to be freeze them.

 Same thing with potatoes - last year they all came ready in the same fortnight. No chance of that this year - here's the first early rows being dug ....

...and late ones just coming through. This gamble might not pay off if there's too much damp and blight later in the season but so far it's worked.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Picked this week - 20th July 2014

 Another hot and mainly sunny week - though with torrential rain at weekend - means the summer veg are coming along well.

More cherry tomatoes this week
 Courgettes again - the first one always feels like a treat,then there's suddenly a glut of them!

 Weird cucumbers and one sensible one - the crystal lemon cucumbers are meant to be yellow and round, but the 'normal' green one on the left wouldn't even make it to the 'mis-shapes' section in a supermarket!
 A mix of fruit - strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and astoundingly the first blackberries. I'm sure these are earlier than normal

Clearing out the row of lettuce at the allotment - most of it having turned bitter so not nice to eat

 broad beans and a few peas that hardly made up a meal's worth

An accidentally-lifted-while-weeding turnip and two garlic bulbs.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Picked this week - 13th July 2014

Quite a lot of goodies from the allotment this week, much of it small-sized veg.

 I'm thinning the turnip row and eating these baby sized ones as 'radishes'.

Having to eat up the lettuce while still small as it's trying to run to seed. A lot of it is bitter and not at all pleasant so going straight in the compost bin.

Courgettes are another veg I'm picking young and tender rather than waiting for the marrow-sized

...and peas - though these are sugarsnap/mangetout peas intended to be eaten small

These are there more grown-up relatives

Tiny cauliflowers picked before they too burst, and the merest sprig of broccoli

The small cherry tomatoes are ripening but it takes a lot to fill a sandwich.

Not so small - broad beans.

But there are small apples from thinning before the branches break

and small alpine strawberries that are still fruiting even though the larger types have finished

and small grapes, accidentally cut off when I was pruning the vine. I have found a use for them though - in salsa, with cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
Full sized raspberries but tiny gooseberries - luckily my parents have full-sized goosgogs to share.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Growing Ginger

 As last year's attempt at rowing ginger from supermarket roots failed, I was almost tempted to buy a 'proper' rhizome from a gardening store this year - then I saw the price!  I could have bought a kilo of supermarket ginger for the same price! So back to the greengrocery aisles I went for some rootstock.

Usually I only plant the sections of root that show signs of shoots, but this year (realising how cheap supermarket ginger is) I just cut the piece up into inch long lengths and set it all.

To get everything of to the best start, I put the pot in its own plastic propagator ie a bag which once contained bananas.

I was a little worried as it seemed a long while before any shoots appeared - maybe 3 weeks or more - and one is still more advanced than the other.

Now they're through and growing well, I've removed the bag. For now the windowsill is sunny and warm enough, and hopefully by Autumn there'll be some roots to crop.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Surprise finds at the allotment

 Look what I found at the allotment today! I have some flowers growing among the fruit trees but no poppies - and certainly there aren't supposed to be flowers in the cabbage patch! 
It probably proves I haven't weeded as well as I should have.
It isn't really in the way though so I'll leave it to flower, then try to collect some seed.

And here's another surprise I found in the plastic greenhouse.
We thought all the grape buds there had been frosted in spring but chopping back the leaves today I found a couple of bunches still growing. Hopefully now with less competition from greenery, they'll swell and ripen