Gardening between Olympic Events

Yes Olympic fever has hit the household – and since almost every event in every sport can be viewed live and non-stop on one or other of the BBC channels then the gardening has taken a low place in the list of things to do – well behind watching those not often seen sports like archery, handball, volleyball etc. not to mention the wildly successful (for us Brits) rowing and cycling.

In between keeping any eye on 2 TVs and a computer (some of the BBC channels can only be seen online for us) I have managed to nip out to the garden – the weather has been typically British, fine for a day then showers, so fortunately I haven’t had to stand in the garden with the hosepipe.  The plants in the greenhouse have needed attention of course and the tomatoes are now producing a few each day, just enough to be eaten in a salad but not too many yet. The chilli-style pepper plant now has several several peppers and the sweet peppers may now finally have one or two flowers that have set.

The tomatoes outside are now doing well, plenty of fruit just need a bit more fine weather to rioen them up. The courgettes – well one plant has gone into a major sulk and doesn’t look well at all, but the other is producing well and enough to keep us having to think what to do with them. The cucumber plants are thriving, but no flowers yet.

The row of mangetout peas planted in one of the raised beds is struggling up – not very healthy, I suspect a lack of lime in the new soil so I will take care of that over the winter. The dwarf curly kale plants now are well on, apart from the couple that the slugs destroyed.

Speaking of slugs – I planted some lettuce seed and basil in another of the raised beds (I must number them so they can be identified easily) and they lettuce was just coming up nicely when suddenly hals a row disappeared – I suspected either pigeons or slugs. So I put netting over only to find a couple of days later even more seedlings had gone! So I’m afraid it was out with the slug pellets and sure enough next morning it was slug slaughter out there – the one big winner in gardens from the wet weather has been slugs so I suspect I will have to keep an eye on that situation. The basil has been a bit slower appearing but looks like one or two have come through now.

Elsewhere, harvesting ahs ben going on (Olympics permitting) – so the broad beans have just about finished now, though in this strange year as I haven’t nipped out the tops of the plants (little or no blackfly) there have been more flowers, so I will see if they develop. The mangetout peas are just about finished as well, though I think there will be a few more yet. The french beans are producing well and provided enough for meals last weekend and will provide for another week at least. The climbing french beans are flowering well now so there should be beans to harvest in a couple of weeks or so.

The big harvesting push was on the blackcurrants which have produced really well and we collected around 6lbs of fruit altogether (see pic below) – these have gone straight into the freezer for now. I noticed the other day that the brambles in the hedges are starting to ripen – so that will be the next fruit harvest and starting pretty soon I think.

That we still have hedgehogs in the garden became evident the other morning when one appeared in the squirrel trap, not once but twice (see pic below)! Needless to say the pesky squirrel it was meant for is still around and now I can’t leave the trap primed overnight.

The birds are still working their way through plenty of seed etc. and the robin still appears whenever I work in the garden even though I think it must have finished feeding its chicks by now. I even heard swifts ‘screaming’ overhead last week, though I hear some have been migrating back to Africa as the weather has been so bad here! Now the weather has improved (it is sunny today for instance) there are more butterflies about – mostly ‘whites’ but I have seen a few other species, though still not many. Also, dragonflies have now made an appearance over the last week or so as well.

STOP PRESS – while writing this article the trap has sprung! – another squirrel to be taken for its holiday well away from here (if only it could be returned to America). The hedgehogs are safe now for a while…..

Blackcurrant harvest

A 6lb Blackcurrant harvest

 

Hedgehog

Hedgehog wandering off after release

 

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