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