Sunday, 13 July 2008

Vampires Beware !

I've got raspberries coming out of my ears and when I came across a recipe for Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies I couldn't resist. It was impossible not to stick my finger into the mixture :)

raspberries copy

raspberry & chocolate brownie mix copy

Here they are fresh out of the oven:

raspberry & chocolate brownie copy

Me and a friend had one each last night, warm with lightly whipped cream ... mmmm, they are divine. In fact we had two each - always a good sign !

Its been a beautiful day here in Sheffield and I been harvesting the garlic - Germidor and Cristo. They are my best garlic harvest yet - nearly every bulb is the size of my palm. I've been reading my compost book to see what it says about composting the rusty leaves and surpringly (to me at least) it recommends that you compost blighted potato leaves, but burn rust infected plants. For now they are drying in potting shed and brick greenhouse.

Germidor copy

Cristo copy

I'm getting pretty good now at turning the beds around and have already sown Fenugreek, a green manure which fixes nitrogen, into the bed that had the Germidor. The soil is beautiful (or is it only me that has a fetish for soil).

Fenugreek copy

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are turning into very stout and solid plants. They are still quite small, but have tonnes of leaves, so I've been doing a bit of pruning. I've managed to stake around half of them and need to do the rest fairly soon. The leaves were hiding precious fruit:

This is my sweet olive plum, which were prolific last year:

sweetoliveplum copy

and my roma, another plum:

Roma copy

The melons finally seem to be picking up - if they don't get a move on though, they may be too late this season:

Melon copy

I don't know why I ever worry that the courgettes are going to be few and far between. They are one of the most reliable croppers on the plot - I've ended up with three yellow and one pale green:

courgettes copy

Of course, the remaining cauliflowers have ALL matured at the same time. I have 7 ready. What on earth am I going to do with them all.

cauliflowers copy

The broadbeans are flowering again, which is a relief, as I thought the plants had finished. They are not doing as well this year. Its probably the bed they are in. I've given up on the ones in the alfalfa bed - must remember not to try that next year:

broadbeans copy

Here is my most reliable, most prolific plant, that never ever requires tending, watering, feeding, pruning and does not care whether it is in full sun, shade or under a bucket. Sigh.

bindweed copy

Here are my beans - they've finally reached the top of the wigwam, which is a relief. The nearest ones are Gold Field. No flowers yet:

beans copy

I've lifted my first Vales Emerald - I was slightly disappointed, but then again I did raid the same plant a week or so ago and stole around 4 small potatoes then. I only noticed a couple of plants in flower, so I'm assuming the rest flowered when I've not been around. They certainly can't complain that they've not had enough water - all its done for a week or so is rain.

ValesEmerald copy

Here are Ken's swedes, which are looking surprisingly good considering they were attacked when they were tiny by the pigeons. I'd like to say that I had a cunning plan to allow the weeds to grow up around them and give them some protection, but sadly I've just been slacking and have only got around to weeding them. Still it obviously worked and they are looking quite good now.

Swede copy

The strawberries are still coming thick and fast (we had croissants with strawberries, raspberries, strawberry jam and blackberry jelly for breakfast), but this is the only plant that is flowering - I wonder if it is a different variety, or if I have done something to it to make it flower again - I need to do some googling, it would be good to extend the season if possible:

Strawberry copy

Mum's salad is looking really pretty - it is currently in flower, which I'm sure is not good, but it does look pretty:

Salad copy

I'm getting a little fed up of the Rye. Its all falling over with the wind and rain and it seems to have been in the ground forever. But Nick hasn't done anything with his yet, so I need to leave mine I guess. Still not sure what I'm going to do with it (or why I'm growing it !!)

Rye copy

The leek flowers are truly spectacular .. I'm watching them closely so that I can harvest the seed:

Leekflower copy

Here is one that has just 'popped':
Leekflower2 copy

I'd like someone in the know to come along and confirm whether this plant is comfry ? I have my fingers crossed :)

Comfry copy

Breakfast this morning reminded me how lovely the blackberries are - I have quite a few between me and Ken - they are in full flower and quite a few green berries have already appeared:

Blackberry copy

Here is my flowering Alfalfa, I think it will be turned in over the next couple of weeks if I can get around to it.

Alfalfa copy

I forgot I had verbena in the wild flower garden - it has managed to force its way through the dratted ox eye daisies which are spilling everywhere.
verbena copy

I only stayed a couple of hours as I've felt strange all week, a little light headed and after feeling as if I was going to faint on more than one occasion and stumbling around the plot with a terrible headache, I did a final harvest and then went home to bed - until the dratted kitten woke me up to complain that the litter tray was not up to his high standards and winged until I got up and changed it. I can't wait for OH to come home, only another couple of weeks.

This is my harvest from today - I've yet to decide what I'll do with it all:

harvest copy