Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Lead us not into Temptation .....

Well the sun has finally shown itself, so instead of a mad dash around the plot, I was able to spend a couple of hours up there and spotted two kiwi-fruit sized Temptation melons ! Having not grown them before, they don't quite look how I thought they would. I'm really excited - I've put a piece of stone under them both in case they suffer from rot later on in the season.

Temptation2 copy

Temptation copy

The cantelope plant has 7 flowers with babies attached, so I hope a couple set. I've given up on the poor Edonis - its tiny following the slug attacks and although it looks to have set a fruit (how I ask myself) I don't think its going to do anything now.

I found some cauliflowers lurking in between the weeds. Most of the curds are not covered and probably won't last long, so I cut three for tea. They are each about the size of my hand. I think I'll try them again next year.

cauliflower copy

My Rocket potatoes are so big now, that I'm having to bake them. The ones I dug on Sunday were bigger than my hand ... took me ages to find them in all that wet earth, never mind eat them.

The Sweet Olive Plums have finally ripened - picked 5 in total. The fruits are very small, but the plants are absolutely dripping with flowers and fruit - perhaps quantity makes up for size. The cristal haven't changed at all.
SweetOlivePlumRipe copy

My tasty grill peppers are forming - they are a totally different shape to the Gypsy. I can't wait to try them.

I've cut down some of my autumn sown broad beans as they are looking past their best. I've left the roots in the bed, to try and maximise the nitrogen, and have dibbed in my leeks, which really should have been planted earlier.

I went to the Carfield Farm Raspberry day on Sunday. It absolutely poured down all day, but I met some new friends and sampled some beautiful golden rapsberries. I've never been before, so braved the rain to have a wander around. It is run by volunteers who meet once a month (for half a day) and it looks surprisingly good to say it gets so little attention. Now that my plot is a little more manageable I hope to try and join them. Here are some very bedraggled flowers:

Daisies copy

pinkflower copy

yellowflower copy

yellowflower3 copy

yellowflower2 copy

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

ring ring ring ring ring ring ring, banana phone ...

OMG, I love this ringtone .. I'm becoming obsessed. Now, if somebody's 7 year old child could please leave instructions on how to get it onto my mobile I'd be very happy indeed !

Be warned ... you are one click away from being hooked

...don't say I didn't warn you ... ring ring ring ring ring ring ring, banana phone ...

ring ring ring ring ring ring ring, banana phone ...

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Did someone say it was summer ?

mmmm ... tea ! One of my few beetroots this season - I've had my eye on it for a couple of weeks now and tonight was its lucky night:
beetroot copy

The weather has been so miserable that I have only really made fleeting visits to the lottie of late, to water and do essentials ... and boy does it show. The weeds are huge and springing up anywhere and everywhere. My beautiful broad beans have blown over and now look to have rust. My onions have powdery mildew, which I understand a lot of people are suffering from this season. Advice has been mixed, ranging from leave them in if they have green leaves, to remove, burn and refrain from replanting in the same area for up to 5 years. My peas look really ratty and I think have had it for this season. Most of my potato haulms have fallen over with the relentless rain and wind and both of my automatic openers on the new greenhouse have been lifted out by the wind and smashed - all over the strawberries.

But its not all bad - I have lots of frogs hopping around, aubergines have flowers (!), green manure has all germinated, courgettes are swelling nicely and I have a beautiful baby sunshine squash. Oh, and look what I found tonight when I took a closer look at the sweetcorn:

Sweetcorn copy

I'm was so excited to find that two of the sunflowers have appeared ... they are about 6.5foot high at the moment ... and sadly facing Nick's lottie. Next year, when I've cleared the remaining jungle, they are going to the opposite side of the lottie, so that I can enjoy them too:
Sunflower copy

I think they are called Evening Sun - the mouse put paid to my careful labelling when he decided to help himself to my first sowings. I think I prefer them to the traditional yellow sunflowers.

My Sweet Olive Plum are the most delicate shade of orange. I can't wait to taste them. They are still very small, but the bushes are covered in flowers and laden with fruit.
SweetOlivePlum copy

I'm sure that my Cristal are developing the faintest hint of orange. They are huge compared to the plum tomatoes. The ones in the potting shed are much smaller than the ones in the greenhouse (all sown and planted out at same time):
Cristal copy

My Gypsy now has three baby peppers (although annoyingly one appears to have been nibbled). The other plants are a lot taller with lots of flowers, but no sign of baby peppers yet:
Gypsy copy

Look what those dastardly slugs have done to my beautiful cabbages. They are probably able to feast so well as no birds able to get at them - I think I'll remove the wire surround at the weekend and take my chances with the pigeons. Or maybe I'll just get a sign 'buffet now open':
cabbage copy

Its no wonder I've got monster slugs:
Slug1 copy

Here's one of my newly germinated green manures - buckwheat. It is supposed to be very attractive to hover flies (goodies !!):
Buckwheat copy

The butternuts have finally got the sweetcorn in their sight. Although they appreciate the rain, I really think they need some sunshine now, poor things - no signs of flowers yet.
butternut copy

My sweet potatoes are now looking a little happier and the outside ones have started to roam a bit. I think I'll make a wigwam for the ones inside the greenhouse. These are the ones outdoors:
SweetPotatoes copy

I've got so much bindweed, that I didn't really give this leaf a second glance, but then I noticed the 'marbled' effect. No doubt it's yet another pest for me to try and eradicate:
Weed copy

A butterfly made a fleeting visit to the lottie this evening - I just managed a couple of pictures before it flitted off:
butterfly1 copy

butterfly copy

At first look this may well be a harlequin ladybird ... I think I can count 25 spots. Going to look at the fabulous ladybird identification website. If it is a meanie I'll regret rescuing it from the water butt:
yellowLadybird copy

Fly copy

First blackberry ! A rogue bush from the neglected plot next door that has strayed into the brick greenhouse:
Blackberry copy

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Been visiting this weekend, here are some pictures from my folks allotment and garden. Their allotment has suffered with slugs, snails, mice and now rabbit attacks, so they are having to net everything to try and protect crops.

OH will be very envious when he see's their row of beetroots.
allotment 3 copy

allotment 2 copy

Broadbeans, peas, greenbeans are flowering:
Allotment 1 copy

They've got a beautiful grapevine, winding it's way through the greenhouse. The vine is laden with fruit:
Grapes copy

Huge tomatoes - I've forgotten the varieties, think one was Shirley. Some are orange already:
Tomatoes copy

Radish copy

Huge cucumbers in the greenhouse in their garden, they've already eaten one. I wonder if I would be cropping cucumbers if the mouse hadn't eaten the seedlings:
cucumber copy

Chives in flower:
Chive copy

Surely the most magnificent sheds in the whole of the alloment community ? Aptly named 'Southfork', built from pallets:
southfork copy

and one of the most beautifully crafted sheds I've seen on an allotment, it is so much better in reality than it looks in photograph:
shed copy

Flowers in the garden:
bee on a lupin copy

geranium copy

bee copy

Sunday, 1 July 2007

week two ...

need I say more:
green courgettes copy

yellow courgettes copy

Guess I'll be finding out pretty soon whether they grow to bowling ball size

July already !

Today I made a cage to support the Jerusalem Artichokes. With the horrendous weather we've been suffering from lately they were almost horizontal - apparently they don't like wind rock, so I'll have to wait and see what happens. I've not grown them before, so don't have anything to compare them too. Fingers crossed I guess:
Jerusalem Artichokes caged copy

Me thinks we'll be eating runner beans shortly, it's fascinating how they wrap themselves around the canes so delicately - some of them have already reached the top of the supports. The flowers are very delicate:
Scarlet Emporers copy

My aubergines are looking really good and look as if they are about to burst into flower any day:
aubergine flowers copy

Despite the slugs my carrots are doing really well. I'm very impressed with the Red Dragons - the colour and taste are great and they look so fantastic. Unfortunately I was so busy dodging showers this afternoon that I ended up forgetting to put the fleece cover back over the carrot bath. Am worrying now about carrot fly, so I'll have to pop back up there tomorrow night and cover them up again.

Carrots copy

My melons have loads of flowers and what look like little baby melons !!! It's so exciting, I hope they don't get damp or slugged
Temptation copy

The rhubarb has finally recovered after being transplanted a couple of months ago. It should do really well next Spring:
Rhubarb copy

It might not look so pretty now, but come September and this Turk's Turban will be a thing of beauty. I've got four plants growing up frames:
Turks Turban copy

Now you see them ... this is proof that I do have Basil seedlings. I've never managed to get them past the seedling stage though - presumably the slugs and snails are feasting on them. I've tried them in pots, in the brick greenhouse, outside, direct sown and finally now into the greenhouse border - they always look promising:
Basil copy

The sweetcorn is between one and two foot at the moment. The big ones look really strong, but I'm worried about the smaller ones. We've had enough rain now God - could you press the sunshine button for a bit please ?
Sweetcorn copy

Do you know what this is ?
Ladybird lavae copy
It's a Ladybird lavae - they are such strange looking little things. I say little, but they are considerably bigger than ladybirds. I'm going to do some research to see if it possible to tell which ladybird it will become, or whether they are all identical at this stage.

At the moment I'm harvesting broadbeans, potatoes (rocket and charlotte), peas, herbs, salad leaves, strawberries, onions, garlic, welsh onions and carrots. The lavender is gorgeous - I wish I could take cuttings, but I've never had any success - despite people telling me how easy it is. Maybe I'll peg some down into a pot and see if I can get it to root that way:
harvest copy