Monday, 20 August 2007

Day 76 ... it's still raining

So much for the sunshine last week, it's back to grey skies and more rain.

I made the mistake of not picking the runner beans last time I was at the lottie and now see the error of my ways ! I picked a huge trug full at the weekend and there were loads more beans still on the plants that looked as if they should also be harvested. We had a tomato, bean and sausage stew for tea on Saturday - it was pretty good, but we used less than 10 beans as they are so long ... gulp. Tonight I spent an hour preparing and blanching beans to go in the freezer ... although I don't have one, so they are currently in next door's freezer waiting to go to OH's house ! I'm definitely growing them again next season (see further down)

emperor beans copy

A close inspection of the potting shed revealed that all of the aubergines appear to have very small fruit forming. I've had a better germination rate this year than last season, but must confess that I've been 'shaking' the plants quite vigourously. I'm convinced that as the door is only slightly ajar not enough insects can get in and pollinate them. I need to check the variety of this one, but think it might be red egg. Last season they didn't really get past this stage, so I've got my fingers crossed that they do a little better.

aubergine copy

Sadly my temptation melon plant appears to have died - I suspect lack of water is the issue. I seem to do very well at growing seedlings, but struggle to keep things healthy and alive. The two melons are still very hard and I'm not sure whether they'll ripen now that the vine has died. The cantelope plant, however, is looking really healthy and in the last week has really put some effort into fruiting - there is one decent sized melon and three babies on the vine. Fingers crossed.

Cantelope copy

My green manures seem to be doing quite well, despite the weather. At the weekend I dug in my phaecelia as it is now in flower, although I must confess I left a little in situ, as it is so pretty - also hopefully I'll get some seed by leaving a few plants to flower and so can replenish my seed. The buckwheat is also flowering - it is probably too late in the season to benefit from hoverflies, but I have transferred some into the potting shed, as I noticed at the weekend that one of the aubergines is absolutely infested with greenfly. I'll also try and remember to take some washing up liquid with me next time I go.

phaecelia copy

Buckwheat copy

I'm so pleased that my tomato plants are recovering, they are looking so much better than they did when I got back from holiday. I've decided to leave the new side shoots and see if they develop any new flowers.

sweet olive plum copy

Tigerella copy

The golden sunrise tomatoes look gorgeous, but I'm disappointed with their taste and don't think I'll bother with them next year. The others have much more flavour.

harvest copy

The blackberries are so abundant that I couldn't resist picking more - I'm intending to make blackberry jelly and have finally found a strainer and stand. We had enough for a blackerry and apple crumble - I'm seriously thinking about putting in a bramley apple tree next year, as I'd defnitely find a use for the apples.

I dug a few more pink fur apples, although I've not tried them yet. We had some of the Charlottes with mint at the weekend - they tasted really good. They are definitely on the list next year. I managed to lift some Cara and was relieved to see nothing more than a little slug damage on them. Looks like the blight was restricted to just the Rocket. The Cara have lovely delicate pink markings on them.
pfa cara and blackberries copy

Here is one of my tasty grill peppers (I think !) which is growing in the glass greenhouse. You can see the markings on the stem - I think it is slug damage, but I'm not sure.

tasty grill pepper copy

My squash harvest this year is going to be dismal. Perhaps the mouse eating the first butternut squash seedlings was a message that I should have heeded. I think this is a winter festival - most of my labels have turned blank, so its all a bit of a mystery now !

winter festival copy

With this season almost written off, I've been waiting for the Wyevale garden centres seed sell off. This year they are .50p a packet - I think I was very restrained and managed to just buy 36 packets:

Beans Yin Yang
Beetroot Detroit 6
Beetroot Boltardy
Beetrott Detroit 2
Broadbean Aquadulce Claudia x 2 packets
Bush Bean Impero Bianco (Cannellino Bean)
Cabbage Ruby Ball F1
Cantaloupe Melon Sweetheart
Carrot Autumn King
Carrot Autumn King 2
Carrot Early Nantes 2
Carrot Jeanette F1
Carrot Purple Dragon x 2 packets
Cauliflower All the year round
Climbing Bean Botlotto (firetongue)
Climbing Bean Goldfield
Courgette Tondo Di Toscana
Courgette Tricolour
Cucumber Bella x 2 packets (well the mouse enjoyed them so much I thought I'd buy him some more)
Dwarf Bean Purple Teepee
Herb Rocket
Leaf Salad
Parsnip Tender & True
Pumpkin Ghost F1
Runner Bean Scarlet Emperor
Salad Leaves x 2 packets
Squash Avalon F1
Sweetcorn Early Xtra Sweet F1
Sweetcorn F1 Applause
Tomato Roma
Tomato Rosanda F1
Tomato Sweet Olive F1

Where on earth am I going to put all of those beans ... and more importantly, who on earth is going to eat them all ...