Sunday, 12 August 2007

Not so bad after all

I'm exhausted, have spent all weekend at the lottie clearing the weeds and discovering that things are not as bad as I first feared. I've cleared nearly three barrow loads of weeds from my beds and the sun can now reach the soil.

As I was clearing the thistles around the sweetcorn, I came across it's label - Miracle. Yes, I thought to myself, it truely is, what with all the rain and then the choking weeds. Every plant is looking very strong, but some are tiny - in fact, none are the same size as last year, but perhaps the sun will help them along. The cobs feel as if they might be ready soon:
Sweetcorn copy

sweetcorn and courgettes copy

I was delighted to find that the yin yang beans have survived. They were so overgrown with weeds that I didn't even know the plants were still there, never mind that they have loads of beans on them. Must read up and work out when they will be ready to harvest. The plants are not very tall, but they look fantastic.

Yin Yang Beans copy

My onions fared much better than I thought they would after the downy-mildew episode. A couple have gone mushy, so they went straight to the burning pile, but the rest look pretty good. I've got a wooden frame with a metal mesh over the top which I'm using as a drying rack inside the brick greenhouse.

onions 2 copy

I mentioned to Nick next door that my early potatoes are rotting. He said that the whole site has had blight and encouraged me to look at my main crop. I dug up some pink fur apple and Charlottes. There were two squishy PFA and one squishy C - not black or brown, just squishy. Hopefully its just my earlies that have blight. I don't think I'm going to bother with earlies again next year, I've got far too many to eat. Not yet looked at the Cara - will have a peek next week.

Pink Fur Apple and Charlottes copy

This is how the greenhouse looks at the moment. I've pulled one of my tomato plants up as the tomatoes are starting to go mis-shapen and are going black - I assume this is blight. There are very few leaves left on any of the plants, as they have not been watered very much whilst I've been away, so I'm a little uncertain. We're getting plenty of ripe tomatoes and the peppers are looking pretty good too - athough they appear to be being munched by something.

inside the greenhouse copy

This is one of my Sungold tomatoes. It's laden with fruit - the tomatoes are the most gorgeous gold colour.
Sungold copy

This is one of my Tasty Red Grill peppers ... wonder when it'll go red ? The plant has about 7 peppers on so far ... fingers crossed.
Tasty Red Grill copy

I was amazed to discover 5 crystal apple cucumbers, with loads of babies also forming. I've spend all day wondering what it will taste like and whether it was big enough to pick. I finally succumbed at the end of the day - it was very refreshing and had a lovely cucumber flavour (funny that). I will definitely be growing them again next year. The nasty looking spikes are very easily rubbed away:

Crystal Lemon Cucumber copy

I've got four turks turbans growing up small wigwams and they all look to be enjoying the sunshine and have lots of flowers appearing.
Turks Turban copy

Turks Turbans copy

Here are two of my ball courgettes, they are much more manageable than the traditional long variety. I think I'll grow them again next year - I even watered them today.

yellow courgette copy

Green Courgettes copy

My Emperor beans look really healthy and are dripping with beans - but I'm not sure when I should be harvesting them. Some of the pods are pretty long, but the beans inside are still really small

Emperor Beans copy

Scarlet Emperor Beans copy

This is the last of the broad beans. The plants were looking really ratty, so I've cut them all down to the ground. Beans have been shelled, but not blanched yet. Another job !

broad beans copy

Here are the outdoor sweet potatoes ... I have my fingers crossed that they are as good as last year. Certainly the foliage is looking good:

Sweetpotatoes copy

I'm really pleased with the planting around the pond, it is starting to look very established. The wild flower mix is romping away and various flowers are appearing. My baby lupins had thrown up some small spikes earlier in the week and I was eagerly looking for them yesterday, when I realised they've been munched ... probably by a flippin' slug. I'm going to try and keep the planting quite natural and self maintaining around the pond - it should provide a nice habitat for the frogs (which will then start to eat the slugs ... I said they'll then START TO EAT THE SLUGS ... got it froggies ?) Here are my Ox Eye Daisies

Ox Eye Daisies copy

Wow the sweetpeas are putting on a really spectacular show at the moment. They really need cutting, to encourage them to keep flowering, but I'm soooooo dog-tired that for the timebeing I'll just have to admire them in situ.

sweetpeas copy

My herbs are in full flower and the bees are all over them. They look so pretty:

herbs in flower copy

This is one of my self seeded sunflowers, it is not very high (under 7ft) but it has a huge head. As always it's facing Ken's lottie - hope he appreciates it.

yellow sunflower copy

The red ones are really tall now, but they seem to be plagued by some strange pest:

strange pest in the sunflowers copy

This is one of my green manures - I'm hoping to sow some more next weekend into any available space I can find. All four have germinated, but this is the best. I've forgotten what it is called - its the one that begins with a P. green manure copy

Last of the blueberries:
Blueberries copy

I am so pleased with my melons. These are temptation and are now the size of grapefruits. I've got four in total, but two are still babies. I think I'll probably try them again next year and may even give them some greenhouse space - I'd heard that the vines take over, but my plants are very compact:

Temptation melons copy

In a spare moment, I even found time to pot on some strawberry runners. There are loads more that will have to wait a bit longer:

strawberry runners copy

The hedgerows are abundant with glistening fruit, shimmering like jewels. With last years jam just about gone, even OH has been blackberry picking. We ended up with 4-5lb of fruit, so tonight I made some blackberry and apple jam and a blackberry crumble too. Can't wait to try the jam, it looks delicious.

Blackberries copy