Sunday, 31 August 2008

Did I fall into a coma and wake up in Autumn?

There was a heavy mist over the lottie today and the temperature felt decidely cool. I don't think it will be long before the frosts move in. The cobwebs though were glittering with the heavy moisture and looked like strings of pearls and diamonds:

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Talking of spiders, Loki, the naughty kitten, woke me up last night by running up and down the top of the bed. Finally I turned on the light to see what had him so excited. His tail was flicking really fast and he was totally engrossed on the wall - a quick glance revealed nothing and finally exasperated that he wouldn't settle I took a closer look and discovered the most enormous black house spider which chose that moment to loose its footing and plumet back towards the bed - much to the kitten's joy. OH was swiftly summoned to dispatch with the unwelcome visitor - much to the kitten's dismay. He would have been beside himself at the lottie today:

My broadbeans have suddenly developed rust - they look pretty bad. I've picked all of the pods and will pull up the plants next week. My compost book says not to put rust infected plants onto the compost heap, so they'll go onto my winter bonfire.

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tra-daaaa ... a little fanfare please, finally the tomatoes are starting to ripen. I picked enough today to make tomato sauce:

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This is a Roma:
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this is Tigrella:
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My Gypsy are nearly ready for harvesting:
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Today I picked 99,000 courgettes - one of them is football sized !! When I got home I turned 5 of them into courgette sauce for pasta. Two of the smaller ones will be made into courgette pizza for tea one night next week, but goodness knows what I'll do with the rest of them.

My peas are making a bit of progress:

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Here are my only two Acorn squash .. I'm holding my breath that we get some sunshine and they grow and ripen before the frosts arrive:

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Both lots of sweetcorn are in full flower, but I'm worried there is not enough time left in the season for them to mature:

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The Blackberries have been so good that I can't resist any longer - I've picked loads today and I'm going to make Blackberry Jelly. This is my fabulous Blackberry, Almond & Meringue cake - its was absolutely delicious ... so good, I made it twice in 10 days, dead easy to make too:

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Tonight I've made Rhubarb & Orange Slump. Its very nice, but boy is it sharp - rhubarb always leaves my teeth feeling like they've been coated in acid.

The artichokes are in full flower

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

who's bugging who ?

I managed another couple of hours at the lottie today and whilst checking out the phacelia seeds spotted a stink bug shedding his skin

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about half an hour after this photo was taken he was starting to move around and his skin was turning a really rich deep reddy-brown:

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I found a few bigger ones outside:

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The sweetcorn has lots of different bugs - this fella is a metallic green and 'pings' when you get close to him

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This brown one jumps like a flea ... err, not that I know what they look like

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who knows what these are going to grow up to be ...

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I did manage to do some work in between bug spotting - I've dug in the Fenugreek and sown some Chard (Bright Lights). I weeded the (small) strawberry bed and also the broad beans, which are beginning to look past their best. I noticed yesterday that one of the hedges has managed to grow higher than me, so I had a bit of a chop at that. I've also tidied the Globe Artichokes up a bit - the branches are so heavy that they've collapsed and the plants are looking quite scruffy.

I'd forgotten about the peas that I sowed a couple of weeks ago and had to think twice when I looked in the brick bed ... hopefully I'll get a quick crop before winter arrives. I've been checking out the Meteor packet and it says to sow in October and overwinter - should have peas for May.

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We've eaten our way through the Vales Emerald Potatoes (not growing them again) and we are now chomping our way through the Kestrel. The look great - very pale with delicate pink markings, but apparently they are not a patch on the Cara as OH has told me for, oh, the thousanth time I think this week. So far not critter damage, or scab on them either ... they are definitely on my shortlist for next year.

Did I mention the blackberry & almond cake with meringue topping that I made last week ? It was a definite hit, so I've picked some more blackberries and think I'll be baking later ...

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Busy little me

The lottie is looking really tired and unkept so I've decided to have a clear out.

I started by cutting down all of the poppy seed heads - I have left one poppy in situ, its the lilac one that is not quite ready yet for seed collecting.

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I've collected half a plastic sandwich bag of red poppy seeds. I wonder if you can eat them, or if they have to be a special variety ?

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The poppy seed heads are drying now in the brick greenhouse

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I finally cut down the Alfalfa. When I first sowed it, I intended to dig it in before it flowered, but time got away from me. I still need to dig in the roots, but the top growth is now gracing the compost heap (which is bursting at the seams)

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Actually my compost heap is looking very pretty ... some of the artichoke heads that we didn't get around to eating have managed to flower

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Lots of these in it though, but at least they are not munching my veggies ... although I do wonder what all of those froggies are eating ??

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I've cleared the red onion bed and sown Phacelia in it. It also has Jerusalem Artichokes at the end of it - they tower above me now. I'm waiting for them to flower.

I've also been collecting the seed heads from the Phacelia that was grown in front of the glass greenhouse - they are also in the brick greenhouse drying (boy its getting crowded in there). It looks really ratty, so I need to cut it down and dig in the roots.

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The fenugreek is looking very well and if the weather is good tomorrow, I shall have another visit to the lottie and dig it in.

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I finally have a ripe tomato. Boy, the lottie is really behind this year - note to self, sow seeds much earlier next season ... regardless of weather conditions !

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Looks like my second tomato will be a Tigeralla

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Even the Sweet Olive Plum are not as prolific as last year.

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There are baby frogs hopping all over the lottie, but this little fella is a bit hopeful if he thinks he is ready to leave the pond - he was sat very resolutely on the pond edging

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There are all sizes hopping about:

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Hurray, my beans have all arrived - these are Goldrush ... only trouble is I'm not sure if you cut them small and eat them like runner beans, or if you leave them longer for them to grow beans ?? I need to do some googling LOL

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Here are my first Scarlet Emperor ... they definitely need picking when small !

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I pass two fields full of sweetcorn on my journey to work and they look to be at the same stage as mine ... its very difficult not to take a little peak:

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There were lots of shield bugs and babies about today - green and brown ones. I've not seen many this year, I wonder if it is cooler than last year:
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The rye is drying nicely in the brick greenhouse. I'm going to collect the seed (not sure why yet !) and will then save the remaining stems to use as straw under my strawberries next season:

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Here is my favourite Verbena:
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The teasels look really nice ... I can't decide whether to leave them in situ for the birds over the winter or cut and dry them ...

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Even though we've eaten hundreds of artichokes, a couple have managed to flower ... its quite funny watching the bees as they stuff themselves deep into the flower - the nectar must be very good as they stagger around very slowly, like they are drunk or stoned:

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This is one of my cowslips - I still have my fingers crossed that they will start to self seed:
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These lovely blue iris have popped up during the week:

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Blimely, how many seasons do Dandelions have ?? I can't believe they are popping up again.

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