Monday, September 13, 2010


Out with the old

I have started pulling up the old plants ready to start off the winter season. Out came the dead courgettes and squash; the rocket seed was shaken off into a bag and the old stems ripped out: the dried bean pods were picked for seed and the old bean plants hacked down. It is starting to look much tidier already! Now I have to dig out the second lemon balm, and the old artichoke and it will look splendid.
Some new things still going in though - spring cabbage just went in, with some autumn lettuce. There are still a few beetroot seedlings to go in too, that will be next week. The last beans are flowering so maybe some beans soon, and the Cobra beans are starting to climb, so beans from them before the first frosts I would say. Mornings here are now fresh but not that cold.
Still getting loads of tomatoes. I am disappointed with the Tigerellas, they ripen too fast and go squasher, However I am delighted with the Moneymaker, and Marmande, very good. Rather disapponted too with the Totem and Pannovy. The Gardener's delight are excellent but I have too many of them.
The Pak Choy have been a great success, we ate some more yesterday and there at least another 6 in the garden that are growing well without bolting. They obviously like it cooler. They are lovely in a stir fry, just a bit bitter and a very green taste.
We will be away for a few days including the weekend, but the weekend after that, I want all hands on deck to dig up the maincrop spuds for storage. I usually store mine in my cellar, in wooden crates covered with cardboard and newspaper. That seems to work pretty well.
Then that section will be dug over, and covered in straw, ready for winter, and after that I will do the old onion patch in the same way. I want to spend autumn tidying the plot, relaying the path that has gone wonky, continuing with the edging and generally making it look nice. I want to redo some of the perennials in spring - plant new herbs, new artichokes, divide the rhubarb, maybe plant some dalias next year.
Oh and I need to clear out the bloody shed... :-(

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Garden weirdness

On Sunday I saw a huge iridescent beetle in the raspberries. Unfortunately only had my phone camera which is crap but he got his piccie taken anyway!

My sweetcorn was inedible this year, and one ear had a strange object in it, a sort of white pocket inside that was filled with a black grainy substance. Dunno if it was pollination gone wrong or what... next year I will do a big patch of sweetcorn so it can pollinate, and direct sow, pot sowing is just crap I think.



Long time, no blog

But we have had some rain in August and a good downpour yesterday!
So, after the hols, the garden is a bit of a mess, a bit weedy but OK. The season has once again been mostly disappointing, due I think to the extreme dryness.

TOMATOES: are giving a wonderful crop and are disease free so far. I already have cherry tomatoes for stews and soup in the freezer and jars of coulis.

BRASSICAS: I have eaten a couple of the Pak Choy and they are very nice, although small, and the Brussels are starting to sprout tiny buds so we will get sprouts.

POTATOES: maincrop spuds, which I tested, are wonderful, despite my fears. Large smooth spuds, and the flavour is great. MonaLisa variety, I will definitely do them next year, if they store well. The Ratte have swelled by being in the ground longer, but actually they have rather a floury texture which surprises me. They are very nice roasted though (fiddly because they are long and thin) and sautéed. I am tempted to do red potatoes next year in the second earlies, I seem to have better success with those and I personally prefer their texture.
BEANS: There are plenty of dried bean pods to be picked for next year's crop. Unfortunately The Cobra that I like fruited a bit too late, we were on holidays. Next year I will do more of them and make an early and late sowing. There are 3 late sowings that should give beans soon, there are flowers. Just ordinary French green, another small patch of Cobra and some yellow wax.
SQUASH: Such a disappointment, the plants are mostly diseased. I have had a couple of tiny butternuts and the large pumpkins are growing but I fear that they won't store, or will start to rot (I have powdery mildew...)

The courgette plants have all died. I will move that bed next year to a completely different spot, maybe at the top of the garden, where I have not grown courgettes before.
CARROTS and BEETS: Complete crop failure. The late sowings of beetroot seem better, I am hoping they will give a few fruit. The incapacity to grow these root veg intrigues me, I will have to think more about where I plant them, maybe I should put carrots near the beans for shade? Or they need more fertilizer...
OTHER PLANTS: The aubergines have a few fruit but on the whole I buggered them up this year. Next year I must give them more care when small to make luscious plants to plant out. The peppers have fruit, it just isn't ripe yet. They are not too bad. There is one melon growing...whether we will eat it, is another matter.
FRUIT: The strawberries have gone quiet and the raspberries have suffered from the drought but I got a pound of fruit off them. I might make some jam.

Apart from that, I have dug out all the unwanted herbs, like the lemon balm, and the excess parsley, mulched the herb bed in horse manure and will now wait till spring to plant new useful herbs like oregano and sow nasturtiums and maybe sweetpeas to give some colour. The herbs have been a wonderful success this year, the kitchen is full of home dried thyme, sage, tarragon and mint. I have cabbage seedlings that can go out soon, I have sowed late lettuce seeds and I will sow some mache (lamb's lettuce) this week, trying that again, didin't work the first year, but who knows.
Almost the end of the season, the harvest has been reasonably poor, except for the spuds and alliums and the tomatoes, but keep on keeping on.

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