Monday, August 09, 2010


getting ready for holidays

Which means a big tidy up in the garden before heading off. It is still desperately dry here. Not sure why I did that but I decided that it really was time to plant out the beetroot that was sown in modules and the last pak choy. I will have to water them heavily this week then just hope it rains at some point while we are away. I also sowed the last beans, a few Cobra climbers that were left in the packet and more green and yellow French.
The carrots are really a disaster. Again, they have failed to really develop. Why? I am guessing lack of water. Hand watering is just not substitute for a good shower occasionally. I will try again next year but it is discouraging. The beetroot are not much better, but next Year I will try the Cheltenham greentop again, as the couple that were actually developed were pretty tasty. They need more water though. And I think it was a mistake to plant them near the parsnips, I feel they are more efficient water seekers and maybe that was bad for the beets.
The squash are already dying back. sigh. not a good sign. Still, there are pumpkins on them, let's hope they swell enough to get some kind of harvest.
Still eating green beans, delish. And now steadily picking a few tomatoes every day. There will be an enormous glut when return from hols! The Moneymaker have really tasty fruit, although the skins are a little thick perhaps. I don't know why some people seem not to like them. The Tigerella still are very green, but I have had a couple of small Marmande. Again, very tasty, but one had a touch of blossom rot. I find they are pretty susceptible to that. The Gardener's Delight have already given several juicy cherry tomatoes, the kids love them. I will pick as many as can before going, I can always take a bag with me, and just hope that not too many rot away whil we are absent.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010


Tiny harvest

Making myself ridiculously late for work, I couldn't help going down this morning to see if there were any more Cobra french bean. And there were! Enough for a whole meal! I can't get enough of them - they are currently winding their way around the trellises I put up for them and are covered in pretty purple flowers. I just hope that the beans come out before our holidays at the end of next week :-S Then at least I can freeze them or take them with us.
I just rushed around this morning picking everything in sight: 2 small yellow courgettes, 2 green and yellow Oz squash, the beans, a small punnet of strawberries and about 4 or 5 small tomatoes. These are MoneyMaker and cherry tomatoes.
Now despite my labelling efforts, I am confused with my small toms. I planted them in a row and it seems that I put in Gardener's Delight, Totem and Pannovy. But now I don't know which is which... One is really a tiny miniature bush (maybe that is Totem) but with great big bunches of tomatoes close to the stem. They may be small but there are at least a dozen toms on each one and they look in excellent condition. But slow to ripen. Good, they will be ready when we get back from hols!
I had a couple of other Gardener's Delight but they are huge! So they don't resemble the other cherry tomatoes at all? Oh well, some of it was saved seed so maybe I just mixed it all up.
Some people say they don't like MoneyMaker but I don't know why - they are early ripeners and are producing numerous small and juicy salad fruit. I find the taste to be quite refreshing and the plants are healthy. I will certainly be buying some more of those next year.
We had a sprinkling of rain yesterday but only enough to just freshen up the ground a little. Not sure it gave any real benefit to the plants...

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Dry as a bone

We are still in the middle of a drought period - no real rain since July 14. That's 3 weeks. It is starting to be desperate down there. I can do no other work apart from watering and harvesting. It's so depressing.
I got my first tomatoes! Unbelievably late this year, next year I must start earlier and use cloches.
I am also keeping this year an Excel sheet so I can keep track of the growing periods of each crop. For example, the first tomatoes are MoneyMaker type - they have a growing period of 133 days, so it seems. This will make it easier next year to backwards count and to sow at the optimal dates. And as I know that the French beans crop in 60-70 days, I am sowing a last batch now that I will pick before the first frosts!

The crops are looking tired, they are thirsty for a really big drink, not just survival rations. The pumpkins and butternuts have fruited excellently but I must keep watering so the fruit can swell enough. The courgettes just keep giving and I have more pattypan squash at the moment. Those excellent Cobra climbing beans have started cropping, they are just too good. If there are some more left in the packet, I will erect some stakes and resow, as they are a very fast cropper too (barely 60 days). Some watering has prompted the strawberries to fruit again. They have not done too badly for their first year but the drought has been hard on them too.

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