Category Archives: Progress

Autumn is Really Here

Yes the time for mass removal of dying or dead veg crops is now here.

There are a few tomatoes hanging on that may ripen, mostly outside in the raised bed near the greenhouse. There are also a few peppers trying to ripen outside and a couple that are ready in the greenhouse.

Almost everything else is finished, so I’ve cleared away the remains of the mangetout peas, also the squash (only produced 1 small squash which vanished overnight, I suspect animals rather than humans), the cornichon and courgette plants in the bed near the climbing beans, the cucumber plants (and I found a couple of large cucumbers I’d missed) plus what was left of the cabbage plants.

The courgette plants in the #part-covered’ bed are still there but looking a bit sad so they will go to compost soon…

The climbing bean plants are still growing well but after a big harvest the other day, I think there will be very few new beans now, depends on the weather really and the outlook is ok with no frosts predicted for a few days at least. The french/dwarf beans are just about finished now as well.

One other crop still in the ground is the carrots one containers is full of plants and the other where they wee planted has just 2 – don’t ask me why they were planted at more or less the same time.. but they seem to have produced decent roots so we’ll have to be eating them soon.

One job I need to do is to prune the tayberry which seems to have gone through a growing phase recently and has really long shoots now.

in the flower section lots of plants still flowering so it will be a while before I can do much clearing up there.

 

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Photos Follow up from last post

As promised in my last post here are some photos of the vegetable garden just to prove things are actually still growing and producing….

First I’ll mention the tomatoes. The greenhouse varieties are producing, especially the ‘cherry’ style variety, and the ‘gardeners delight’. The ‘manzano’ and ‘beefsteak’ are just starting to produce. Outside the greenhouse, those in the growbags again the cherry type is producing. The ones in the raised bed currently have plenty of green fruit on them.

The plants outside the kitchen, since they get afternoon sun and are sheltered have been producing for a couple of weeks and have been incorporated into salads and roasted dishes (as well will be tonight) Here’s a view of them recently:

Cherry style tomatoes outside the kitchen

The climbing beans are in full production as well, both the ‘green’ variety (blue lake) and the purple type (blauhilde). See photos below:

Blu lake climbing beans

Blauhilde climbing beans

I’m harvesting courgettes and cucumbers of course and as usual far too many for our needs.

I’ve been away recently for around 10 days. Although my new neighbour offered to keep watering my plants, I thought I would try and relieve the pressure a bit by setting up some auto watering in the greenhouse. This became all the more desirable when it became clear that the weather was going to be hot in between some showery intervals. Around the time I was considering this one of the online merchants I buy plants from offered a discount on a couple of products that looked promising.

One was a simple gravity fed watering system which used a suspended plastic bag with a tube system and adjustable ‘taps’ to feed a number of containers…

Gravity fed watering system

The bag holds a fair amount of water and the system worked reasonably well, the main problem being the adjustment of the ‘taps’ to provide a flow low enough for what I wanted. I used two of these (it was a 2 pack on offer) to keep the peppers and the cucumber watered and the seemed to achieve this ok.

The other system was rather more sophisticated and involved a box with electronics, display and which contained a small pump. This could be programmed to pump water from a bucket through thin tubes to the plants or containers that needed watering. This needed a while in operation before I could work out the optimum settings and it was used to water the growbags containing the tomato plants.

‘Automatic’ watering device

Both systems are still operating and seem to be more or less working as wanted, although the gravity fed system needs some more adjustment. The ‘electronic’ system does need the bucket refilling after a week or so, but the gravity fed system s haven’t needed refilling yet.

Sorry for the long time since last post

Yes, I know I should have posted more through the summer, but one thing and another…..

Anyway, I’ll try and bring you up to date as afar as possible and hopefully include a few pictures to illustrate if can get them sorted out.

Basically at the  moment I am at peak harvest for tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and french/climbing beans and as per usual there are too many courgettes, tomatoes and cucumbers t deal with! The beans, though producing more than can be eaten, can at least be frozen.

What has finished producing are the strawberries (weeks ago) raspberries (last few just ripening), tayberries and blueberries (birds had most of them!). Also the mangetout peas are just about over and most of the plants are now composting. Also reaching the end are the salad crops, lettuce, mixed leaves etc. I didn’t have to chance to plant anything recently so there isn’t anything to replace them right now, though I may get round to it in the next week or so. All the garlic has now been harvested, and the potatoes are ready and hopefully I’ll get them dug up in the next week or so. There are a container full of carrots as well probably ready, but I haven’t checked.

The weather has been rather odd as well. We’ve had periods of intense heat for a week or so, getting up to te low 30s C followed by windy wet weather with anti-cyclones reminiscent of autumn rather than summer. Right now we are going through a hot spell but the weather is about to break in a day or two. So they have been periods where the hosepipe has been needed to keep things going then periods where there was too much rain if anything – all very annoying really.

That’s as much as I have time for just now – photos will have to follow as I need to do a bit of processing first.

Lots of planting and growing

In the interim since the last post things have moved on a lot as you might imagine. Several times I’ve intended to post, and even taken photos but finding time to actually write the post has proved difficult.

Anyhow, here is a more or less up-to-date review.

Almost everything grown form seed or purchased as seedlings is now planted out. The only exception now really are the courgettes and they should be in during the next few days.

So, how are things situated?

Well, starting at the furthest end of the cultivated part of the garden – the garlic in bed 5 is now at the point where the ‘autumn’ garlic (remember it was transplanted from last year’s bed) is now almost ready for harvesting. The spring planted variety has a bit longer before it will be ready.

Next to that bed are containers in which carrots are supposed to be growing, but I’ve only just got round to sowing seed in one of them so nothing is up yet.

Next in bed 4 are the potatoes, ‘Mayan Gold’, all the plants are up and earthed up as far as they can be.

Bed 6 near the greenhouse, has the ‘excess’ tomato and pepper plants in it. In particular three tomato plants ‘Alicante’ (x2) & ‘San Marzano’. Plus five pepper plants, some bought as seedlings (when I was paranoid about any of my seed germinating), and some from seed. The varieties are ‘Bendigo’ x2, ‘Capino’ x2, plus my seed grown ones planted since the photo was taken. The remaining space I’ve yet to fill.

The ‘extra’ pepper plants & tomatoes

Alongside the greenhouse there are the usual grow-bags with tomatoes (see below) and from right to left the tomato varieties are:

Sparta, Alicante, San Marzano in the LH bag and then Gardeners Delight, Cherry Cascade x2 in the RH one

Tomatoes outside the greenhouse

Next to bed 4 is the area with the blackcurrant bushes, the new ones planted at the end of last year are all sprouting bar one, which so far hasn’t produced a shoot – so it’s looking like I’ll need a replacement. There will be no blackcurrants from theses bushes this year of course.

Next, bed 3 has the broad bean plants, now very much all in flower or with small bean pods already.

The broad bean plants in bed 3

Bed 2, the next in line has only just been aroused from its winter sleep, covered with an old blind. It is destined to hold courgette and squash plants, and I’ve forked it over to incorporate some bonemeal and chicken dropping pellets ready for planting. The courgettes are just about ready and the squash plants should be ready by the end of this week.

Bed 1 is for beans and the picture below is a few days old and shows the dwarf/french beans, mostly ‘Tendergreen’, some bought as seedlings and some I’ve grown, plus a few ‘Safari’ which are also home grown. Since the photo was taken I’ve planted four climbing beans and another four are ready to go in.

Dwarf/french beans, mostly ‘Tendergreeen’

Moving across to the other side, bed 9 has the brassicas. There are cabbage (far end), cauliflower (near end) and broccoli in the middle. However, the cauliflower and broccoli have been heavily attacked by pigeons. I had them covered with chicken wire at first but took that off when I thought the plants were big enough, only to find all of them, except the cabbage plants, with leaves that were almost shredded in the last few days, so I’ve put the wire back over again!

The brassicas – before the attack of the pigeons!

Next, bed 8 is the one that acts as a kind of cold frame with the old door covering it. At the moment only one cucumber plant is planted and the rest is taken up with various seedlings in trays and pots. A courgette (Atena) is ready to go in though.

Bed 7 nearest the greenhouse has salad crops in it, and I need to sow more seeds really. At present there is only some lettuce plants (bought as seedlings) and some radishes I sowed and now ready to harvest.

Bed 7, radish plants nearest and lettuce at the far end

The mangetout are in bed 10 across from bed 7 and are varieties I haven’t grown before. Both of them seem to grow much higher than the varieties like ‘Oregon sugar snap’ that I’ve been grown before. They have at least now started to flower so I guess they won’t get much higher now. It’s now about the time I should be planting some more, which I’ll start in pots like all those in the bed.

Mangetout peas  – much taller than I expected!

Next to that bed is the bed with strawberry plants in and there are lots of berries waiting for some sun to help ripen them.

Strawberry berries – nice when ripe…

Lastly, outside the kitchen is the pot with more tomatoes in it – there are tow Red Cherry and two Cherry Cascade plants, so hopefully later on they will provide us with lots of small tomatoes during the summer.

The ‘kitchen’ tomato plants

The other major development is that I’ve extended the ‘open compost’ heap which is handy as I’m pulling up lots of weeds at the moment and all my compost bins are just about full – I’ll add a photo when I update.

Wildlife

The birds have been busy, partly I guess because they are feeding chicks. Lots of mealworms being eaten as well as seeds. There have been a bunch of house sparrows which is good news, plus the usual blackbirds, great and blue tits, dunnocks, and the odd greenfinch. The more worrying activity I’ve noted is that magpies have been visiting the feeders and scaring off the small birds, plus I’ve seen a jackdaw as well.

Meanwhile the trail cams have shown that hedgehogs are active along the ‘highway’ at the bottom of the garden but a camera at the front has picked one up crossing the front garden as well! I suspect it is also moving along the side of the house from our garden and I have a camera now watching that route to check.

The trail camera has also picked up a fox crossing along the ‘highway’ as well.

Enough Tomatoes Now!

A follow up to my earlier post plus some progress in the greenhouse.

Two tomato plants are now in a growing bag (pic below). One is an F1 ‘Supersteak’, a beefsteak style tomato bought as a small plant. The other is a ‘red cherry’, grown from seed (new this year).

Beefsteak style on the left, cherry on the right

As usual of course after an initial panic that not enough seeds were germinating and then buying a couple of plants in, I’ve now probably got too many! So probably the surplus may go in the bed alongside to the greenhouse where i’m also going to plant one or two pepper plants.

A collection of tomato seedlings

The seedlings above are a mixture, there are some ‘alicante’, ‘san marzano’ and a couple of types of cherry tomatoes. Since the picture was taken I’ve repotted a couple of ‘gardeners delight’ which had been started off on the kitchen window-ledge. I’d love to get some of the cherry varieties outside in the container by the kitchen but a frost is possible this weekend so I’m putting it off. They are getting rather big now though!

Back to my post before last where I described what I’d been doing and the varieties of veg I’ve been planting or waiting to be planted out.

The brassicas are cauliflower ‘serac’, cabbage ‘spring ducay’ and I bought some broccoli seedlings, ‘tenderstem’, the other day which I’ll plant in the same bed.

More mangetout seedlings are now in the bed with the others, they were ‘shiraz’, and I have some pots of ‘bajka’ and ‘shiraz’ just coming through.

I did buy a ‘pepper selection’ when it looked like virtually none of my seeds had germinated (and of course as soon as I’d done that some of mine came through). They bought in plants were a mix of ‘capino’, ‘bendigo’ & ‘parade’. Of these I’ve put a ‘parade’ into a large pot and it will stay in the greenhouse.

My own sees have produced three ‘como di torro rosso’ seedlings (it’s a variety that produces long rather than round peppers plus two ‘robertina’ which are a standard red pepper type.

Some of the broad beans are producing flower buds now, particularly the ‘aquadulce’ & ‘meteor’ varieties.

Broad beans – almost flowering now

Meanwhile the ‘flower’ section of the garden is now in a state to have the first border annuals put in after carrying out a major de-weeding and compost spreading exercise. Still one stretch of border to do and there are a load of annuals sitting in their trays (from garden centres) waiting to be planted.

Potato Developments

The recent rain has led to a growth spurt I think and some of the potato shoots are now showing!

More in a day or two….

As I said but now with Pictures

Finally got some of the photos ready, although they are now a couple of weeks old.

So what’s been happening then? Well plenty really. Firstly I was seduced by the plants available at our local DIY centre over a week ago and bought some brassicas – a few cabbage seedlings and a few cauliflowers which almost filled a bed.

Cauliflower nearest and cabbages far end. The mesh is to keep the pigeons off

I also bought a couple of tomato plants of varieties I either or don’t have or have failed to germinate so far. Plus a collection of sweet pepper plants as my own seeds weren’t germinating at the time. Since then of course several have come through!

More of my tomatoes have germinated as well. So I bought some grow-bags the other day and at least one tomato will have to go in inside the greenhouse in the next couple of days as it’s getting rather big. Some of the peppers will have to be re-potted into big pots as well, although when the weather is warm enough some can go out into one of the beds since last year that approach worked quite well. (although some were in a grow-bag, it was outside).

All the mangetout seedlings are in now, and I have a few new ones coming through in pots, plus a set of four in a pot which are ready to plant out.

Mangetout seedlings – the CDs are to put the pigeons off!

The broad beans are flourishing, apart from two plants (both ‘De Monica’) so I think I’ll sow a couple more beans as replacements.

The borad bean bed

The ‘Maya Gold’ potatoes are in but no sign of shoots yet as it has basically been dry since I planted them until yesterday in fact when we had showers and a thunderstorm.

I did plant some radishes and a short row of ‘salad leaves’ some weeks ago and the radish have germinated and are doing well, but very few of the salad seeds seem to have germinated.

Radishes. The ‘salad leaves’ are supposed to be a row above -but not much sign

We have had our first harvest though – rhubarb. It was forced under an old water butt and the harvest shown went into a rhubarb pie I made.

Rhubarb harvest

Meanwhile for various reasons, mostly to do with unexpected germination and ordering online just in case, I have many cosmos seedlings, but I’m sure they will all come in handy. I’ve also bought plenty of petunias, geraniums and impatiens so I’ve had to get on with preparing the borders ready – lots of weeding and spreading of compost.

Some of the many Cosmos seedlings

I’ll add varieties later – so revisit this page if you want to know…..

Weather

It’s all been a bit weird, we’ve had hot periods then cold then hot again and now it’s showers and wind. It’s meant for instance that it’s been really hot in the greenhouse, then a weeks of nights where I had to put a heater on in the  greenhouse followed by a really hot week again and now back to ‘normal’ temperatures. All a bit tricky, I didn’t know whether to put plants outside of the greenhouse or not and found myself taking them out and then putting them back again.

Coupled with the warm periods we had no rain, particularly over the last couple of weeks until yesterday so the rain was welcome.