Tag Archives: cauliflower

Now we have drought!

Since my last post we’ve had almost a month of sunshine and no rain. Nice to have good weather at first and did help get the plants going after the poor spring, but now it has become rather annoying. It’s too hot to work in the garden after mid-morning and it never really cools down. To make things worse it has been a period of intense preparation for our ‘Open Gardens’ weekend recently so I needed to spend a great deal of time not just getting things ready, but thanks to the weather, I needed to spend a lot of time watering as well.

Anyway, although the Open Gardens has been and gone (with several hundred visitors over 2 days) I’m busy harvesting as well as watering.

So, how are the vegetable coming on I hear you say. Well I’ve managed to keep them watered well enough and many are now producing.

So here is a fairly complete description of the current veg situation.

The garlic, which were of two types, spring sown and autumn sown has survived  (bed 9) and rather oddly the spring sown variety was ready first and so already harvested  This variety has only produced small bulbs, they are all hanging in our outhouse now ready for use but so far not used so I don’t know about their flavour. The autumn sown variety is certainly ready, I just haven’t had time to do it yet so we’ll see….

Garlic harvest

Meanwhile I’ve put one of the courgette plants (atena variety) into the space left by the garlic plus a sweet pepper plant since I had several I needed to locate somewhere and it will act as an experiment like some of the others to see it they produce – with weather as it is I would have thought there was not excuse!

Atena Courgette in the foreground, garlic to the right and cucumbers plus courgette & cornichon above (see below)

Taking the bed next to the garlic (bed 11), the strawberries have produced a decent crop around 2 weeks ago but the dry weather has really affected them, despite watering, little or no fruit is to be found now and not many flowers.

Next is the bed connected to the strawberries, nearer the greenhouse (bed 10). This has a courgette (Green Griller), cucmber (Baby), a squash (F1 Hunter) and a ‘cornichon’ (small cucumbers, Vert de Paris) as well as the collection of dwarf and cannellini beans that finally germinated. The are just starting to produce. The courgette has already produced a couple, and the cucumber. The cornichon not quite and the squash has yet to flower.

Beans, courgette, cucumber & squash

Next to that bed is a bed of broad beans, in front of the greenhouse (bed 7). These are almost finished and we’ve had quite a few pods, in fact I’ve picked some today but some plants have been affected by blackfly, but not enough to be a big problem. They are a mixture of ‘Aquadulce’ and ‘De Monica’ but no real difference in the pods that I cansee.

Broad beans

Finally, on that side of the path is the ‘cold frame’ bed (i.e. covered with a glass door, bed 8). That has 2 cucumbers (? bought & Baby), cornichon (Vert de Paris) and a courgette (?, bought). I’ve had a couple of cucumber from the ? variety, likewise from the ? courgette. Also, the ‘baby’ cucumber has been producing (yes we have too many cucumbers just now!, and the courgette glut is about to hit….).

In the greenhouse I have 5 tomato plants in growbags, 5 pepper plants (one in a growbag, the others in pots. There is also a cucumber plant (mini F1, bought plant) trained up a cane, which I suspect has more or less finished producing after growing 3 cucumbers. The tomato plants are Alicante (x2), Cocktail (small fruit type, bought) and San Marzano (x2, large fruit, Italian type). The peppers are all plants bought in when I thought none of mine would germinate, Capino (x4) and Bell Boy. The peppers seem to be doing well with peppers on at least three of them, and the tomatoes all have plenty of fruit and should be ripening soon.

Greenhouse tomatoes with the pepper plant in the grow-bag nearest

On the other side of the main path, starting near the flower section, is a ‘salad’ bed (bed 1) with a couple of rows of ‘cut and come’ salad leaves (now probably past their best), some Lollo Rosso lettuce (bought as seedlings) and a row of pak choi just getting big enough to use. There is a row of mixed salad lettuce just coming through and a row of salad leaves that seems to have  mostly failed to germinate!

Salad bed with pigeon scaring CDs – there should be a row of seedlings nearest but the weather has meant poor germination

Next to that is a bed of mangetout peas (bed 2), some of which (Sugar Snap) were bought as seedlings when mine didn’t seem to be germinating. The others and a mixture of Oregon Sugar Snap and Sweet Horizon grown from seed. They have been producing for a couple of weeks now and are a very welcome addition to our meals.

Mangetout Peas

The next bed has a squash (F1 Hunter) and a courgette plant (Atena) (bed 3). However, the courgette has been severely got at, I suspect by pigeons and I have put some netting round it today. Part of the bed is occupied by pots of tulips and other bulbs ‘resting’.

Here is a harvest collected yesterday from cucumbers, courgette (Green Griller , Atena plus unknown) and broad beans

Harvest courgettes, cucumbers & broad beans

Beyond the blackcurrant bushes – the berries just getting ripe at the moment – is a bed with beans (bed 4), ‘fine’ beans (bought as seedlings, again when when mine weren’t germinating) and climbing beans (some ‘various’, and blue lake). The fine beans have been producing for a couple of weeks and the climbing beans have just started producing.

Beans – ‘Fine’ beans round the edge and climbing beans in the middle. The labels were to help visitors

The last bed has potatoes in it (Desiree, bed 5 ), and I imagine the crop won’t be too good after the dry weather, despite my watering.

Across from the potatoes is my raised ‘tank’ with carrots, but a poor showing this year despite several sowings, the rhubarb, which is doing really well and has produced several pickings and a container with more garlic waiting to be harvested.

The next bed  has cauliflower and cabbage plants (bed 6), both bought in as seedlings. The dry weather has affected these as well I think with the cauliflowers just beginning to show now. On the end of this bed is a grow-bag with three sweet pepper plants.

Cabbage on the right, cauliflower on the right with pepper plants in the grow-bag

Outside the greenhouse are two grow-bags with tomatoes and one pepper plant. There is a mixture of tomato types all bought as seedlings apart from the Gardener’s Delight – F1 Shirley (largish fruit), Outdoor Girl (many small fruit), Totem (bush type),  and a Bell Boy pepper, which has heavily attacked by slugs to start with and is just about recovered. There is also another unknown bush type tomato in a container.

Tomatoes outside the greenhouse

Finally, near the kitchen is a container with three tomato plants – Tumbling Tom (bush), Sunbaby (small fruit) and Sweet Aperitif (small fruit), bought in as seedlings.

Last of all here are two berry harvests, redcurrants (around 2kg) harvested a couple of weeks ago) and just yesterday gooseberries (around 750g) from one of the two bushes (the other not quite ready):

Redcurrants

Gooseberries

Phew! that’s all for now folks…..

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Seemed Like Summer – Briefly

Temperatures last week got into the mid-20’s degC for a couple of days and for most of the week it was really too hot to spend a lot of time in the garden during the middle of the day and the greenhouse was unbearable! Previously since my last post the weather had been cold and rainy so it was quite a dramatic change.

Despite all that there has been progress, though not as much as would have normally taken place by this time of year and some aspects are really behind.

So, what’s been done? Well the tomatoes that had germinated are now in a grow-bag in the greenhouse, rather three are in on and one in a second. Until today that was the sum total of vegetables planted in their final place. However, a burst of activity today saw me planting potatoes (‘desiree’) in the furthest bed and some cabbage and cauliflower seedlings in the bed alongside the greenhouse. I’m sorry to say I bought the brassicas from a DIY centre, well I’ve never had a lot of success with brassicas but last years cauliflowers gave me some hope. Those plants came from seedlings bought in the same place, so when I saw some this year I though they might be worth a go and they mostly fill a bed up. I’ve put one of my new larger cloches over most of them and those that didn’t fit under have clear plastic bottle halves over them to act as mini-greenhouses.

Three of the tomato plants safely in the growbag  (the fourth one is now in the bag in front)

Apart from that the seed germinating situation hasn’t been going too well with so far not too many of the vegetable seeds I’ve planted over the last month showing any signs yet. Some of the seeds sown a while back have produced though, the coriander (in a pot) is through and one! mangetout pea has appeared. The same sort of story is true for the flower seeds, though I do have some cosmos seedlings which were in a tray and now transplanted into individual pots. A second sowing in a half tray of sunflower ‘teddy bear’ (new seed) has produced a few seedlings.

Rather sadly one of the two cucumbers that had germinated and been re-potted into larger pots didn’t make it through one of the cold nights in the greenhouse so only one now. More seeds have been planted, and some from a new packet (‘cornichon’ baby cucumber ‘vert petit de paris’ – one has just germinated) plus I’ve planted squash (butternut F1 hunter) which I haven’t tried before and some french/dwarf beans as well as a couple of climbing beans. More tomatoes seeds also mostly of the smaller types (‘garnet’ & ‘sweet aperitif’) and some ‘gardeners delight’. Also sown and waiting for some to show are basil, russian tarragon. I’ve also, sown some carrots in the old tank I’ve used before (Nantes & )

The broad beans now – the slowest growing are the ones sown in the Autumn! (the furthest away)

Meanwhile the bedding plants bought online and at the DIY centre are piling up. I keep being surprised by deliveries of plants arriving at the house that I forgot I ever ordered – then having to hastily pot them up into big pots or matrix trays (which I had to do for 36 geraniums in the greenhouse heat last week!). I have made a start on clearing the borders ready for them now. It’s a shame but I’ll be pulling up a load of self-seeded forget-me-nots during the week. Normally they would be just about finished before I needed to clear them out but this year the weather has delayed them somewhat but they will just have to go.

A selection of flowers and veg seedlings under the ‘cold frame’

I did finally get round to mending the damaged raised bed at the end of last week so that’s now ready for action – though on my plan it has ‘TBD’ against it….

The repaired raised bed. The lone plant is a phlox which somehow managed to escape replanting last year – now planted in the flower border. Note the replacement side is higher quality timber – more or less accidental but there wasn’t much choice

Summer Was Brief….

Hopefully this will be an up to date blog on the garden after the delayed last post.

Anyway, we were having a couple of weeks or so of sun and some really hot days – to the point where I had to use the hosepipe (temps up into the mid twenties C). It coincided with a period when there was lots to plant out, mainly bedding plants in the ‘flower’ part of the garden but there were also dwarf beans, climbing beans and cucumber plants to get planted.

Now summer seems to have temporarily gone away. We have rain and wind today and more predicted for this week – not altogether a bad thing as it helps get all the recently planted flowers and veg get well established.

There are only a few things left in the greenhouse to plant out now – some more climbing beans, and more mangetout peas so there is now some room to put the peppers and a cucumber plant into bigger pots and locate them in the greenhouse. One pepper plant already has a fruit – a very curious plant as it is only a few inches high…

Anyway some pictures to illustrate the progress:

Broad Beans – with some beans now

The broad bean plants are finally protected with string, however the plants are not too tall (The Sutton) but the dry weather in May may have prevented some bean pods from developing – certainly I can’t see as many as I would have expected.

The cauliflower plants are doing well, not attacked too much as yet apart from one or two – we’ll see if the ‘heart up’ later. They are a mixture of types.

Cauliflower plants

The potato plants have really grown and form quite a forest now – I just hope some potatoes are developing

Potato plants in raised bed

There are three ‘potato bags’ with plants in as well – I just have a problem as to where to put them at the moment – they are just outside the greenhouse and in the way at the moment.

The mangetout peas are in flower and I’ve just planted another eight plants so we should have mangetout to eat over quite a while.

Mangetout peas plants – a mixture of two types – Oregon Sugar Pod & ??

The tomato plants outside the greenhouse are surviving:

Tomato plants outside the greenhouse

I know the plants in the far growbag look a bit scrawny, they are a new variety to me – ‘rainbow blend’, but I think they are ok. There are a couple more of that variety inside the greenhouse looking much the same. The more leafy plants are ‘marmande’ which I’ve grown before.

Tomato plants in the greenhouse

Can’t remember the mixture of varieties right now but the nearest are ‘rainbow blend’ and there is at least one ‘pomodoro’ in there and the one ‘gardeners delight’ that germinated.

Tomatoes are already developing on the ‘rainbow blend’ :

Rainbow blend fruit already developing

The kale plants seem to be slow growing but are at least surviving, although as you can see at least one has been ‘got at’ by slugs or pigeons:

Kale plants ok apart from near left plant

The dwarf beans (two varieties) I planted out only a week or so ago seem to have survived ok – in addition there are four of ‘cannellini’ bean plants (right at the back), a type I haven’t grown before. There are a couple more seedlings just ‘hardening’ at the moment which I’ll add in a couple of days.

Dwarf and cannellini bean plants

The climbing beans are struggling a bit and at least one looks as if it might not survive – not sure whether the current rain and lower temperatures help or hinder that – one though does have flowers and is climbing ok. The only saving grace is that I have several seedlings in the greenhouse waiting to go out so I could cope with one or two of the planted beans not making it – but I’d rather they survived!

Finally,  two cucumber plants are under the ‘door’ protection are doing well and indeed one has flowered and a proto-cucumber is visible:

Cucumber plant with developing cucumbers

I will get round to weeding around it eventually….

Wildlife

The recent trail cam videos revealed only one cat, which is a surprise and steady hedgehog traffic plus a squirrel which still hasn’t made into the rest of the garden – which has saved it from an enforced ‘holiday’!

Birds – much the same as the previous. More butterflies (when it was sunny) and plenty of bumble bees, but very few honey bees. I guess there are no hives nearby.

Winter Has Returned For A While

With temperatures close to zero overnight the last couple of nights and not rising above 10degC during the day with a cold N & NW wind, it has been quite worrying especially about the seedlings in the greenhouse. I do have enough heating in the greenhouse to keep it above freezing – I think…..(hope)

Outside, so far the cauliflower plants and mangetout peas seem to have survived as well. The second batch of mangetout was planted out over a week ago.

Manngetout peas after second batch planted

Mangetout peas and pigeon scarers! (you can see what magazine I subscribed to)

I now have three tomato plants in the greenhouse planted in a growbag and they seem to be ok. They are 2 zuchero and 1 gardeners delight.

Growbag tomatoes (still surviving after low temperatures!)

Meanwhile I have another eight or ten tomato seedlings close to being ready for growbags – so I hope it warms up pretty quick after this week!

Also in the greenhouse the kale seedlings are getting close tot he point that they really should be planted out as well as a bunch of flower seedlings.

Tomato, kale & cucumber seedlings in the greenhouse

The broad beans are in flower now, at least the couple of rows that I planted in the autumn, and I haven’t yet got round to ‘stringing’them to support them – although they aren’t actually very tall yet.

First rows of broad beans in flower

Amazingly, some carrot seedlings have now appeared! Though not a whole row – but still it encourages me to sow some more seed.

Half a row of carrot seedlings is better than none! (plus weeds)

Wildlife

The only notable development is that it looks as if a pair of magpies seem to be building a nest in one of the trees on one side of the garden. I may try and discourage them…

Also, I have seen frogs (and a toad in the greenhouse) active in the garden – plus a tiny frog which can only be from this years batch!

I have seen butterflies – comma and ‘small blue’, plus  an orange tip possibly (before this week!)

Peas & Tomatoes Plus

(Actually written 14th April but not posted until now)

Yes I have enough tomato seedlings already although at least one variety hasn’t produced any seedlings – perhaps just as well really. I’ve now got the growbags ready to put some of them in – most have been re-potted from their original pots to give them room to keep growing in the meantime.

My first batch of mangetout peas are now in the raised bed 6 making up almost 2 rows. The second batch germinated in pots is now acclimatising outside the greenhouse and I’ll plant them in the bed in the next couple of days. The peas were originally protected by some mesh as they are a favourite for the pigeons when young. Now though I’ve created one o f my CD bird scarers to keep them off.

I bought some trays of bedding plants during the week and while buying those I noticed a tray of cauliflowers which I bought so I have some replacements for the ones that may now survive in the raised bed.

Wildlife

I went through  the pictures on the trail cam from the bottom of the garden and found, apart from a number of cats, that the hedgehogs are active now – quite busy going backwards and forwards in fact. Plus a squirrel – which hasn’t invaded the rest of the garden yet though – at least nor while I’ve been looking.

 

April and it’s Not Raining – at the moment

I’ve been able to get into the garden on and off over the last week or so there has been some progress.

Today, for instance I planted out the broad bean seedlings grown in the greenhouse – so the raised bed of beans is now full.

Broad bean bed – now full

I also planted potatoes into bed 7, just in front of the greenhouse. They are ‘King Edward’ main-crop. Only a dozen potatoes could be fitted in, and I have at least another dozen left, so I’ll probably try planting them in the bags I’ve used before, although they weren’t all that successful.

Potato bed after planting

Meanwhile the pigeons and/or slugs have found the cauliflower seedlings and most have been nibbled, and some quite badly damaged. So I’ve had to put mesh over the whole bed and I’ve spread some slug pellets around as well. Some of the plants are so damaged that I’ve put plastic bottle halves over the top to protect them and act like mini-greenhouses while they recover.

Cauliflower seedlings – and mesh cover plus protective ‘bottle covers’

Damages to cauliflower seedling

Inside the greenhouse the one ‘gardeners delight’ tomato has been re-potted into a 4 inch pot. Reminding me every day that I need to get some growbags… Also, the first cucumber to germinate is now in a much bigger pot and waiting for some decision as to where it should go – too likely for a frost to go outside certainly yet.

Gardeners Delight tomato seedling & Cucumber plant

More tomatoes have germinated so I now have enough in theory to fill my inside and outside growing points. In total there are two Pomodoro, two Zuchero, 4 ‘Rainbow Blend’ and 4 ‘Tumbling Tom’.

The Kale seedlings are just growing in their original pots for the time being before I can plant them outside.

Tomato seedlings (front) and Kale seedlings (behind)

The mangetout peas germinated in the greenhouse are now big enough to be planted so as of today they are outside the greenhouse hardening off.

Inside the house on the kitchen windows ledge I now have two more cucumber seeds germinate plus a second one in the greenhouse from the same pot as the re-potted one – so I may have too many cucumber plants now….

One disappointment – no sign at all of carrot seedlings in the container two rows were sown in several weeks ago – I think I need to sow some more……

Oh and I noticed that the blueberries and gooseberries are just coming into flower now.

Flower seeds and seedlings are doing well also.

Wildlife

Not much to say here although I did see a Goldfinch one day and I haven’t seen any of those for quite a while.

The trail camera near the bird table didn’t show up anything out of the ordinary so it’s now been relocated to the bottom of the garden.

No squirrels! but mice in the greenhouse again!

 

More Sowin’ and Plantin’

The weather has been a bit variable with showers and some sunny periods so it’s been a bit of a lottery whether I’ve been able to do much in the garden.

However, have managed a few jobs in the flower and vegetable areas.

First, the flower beds – I’ve had a dozen or so osteospermum plants in pots over the winter and I finally managed to get them all planted scattered around the beds.

I took the risk and went to my local garden centre last week as well, always a dangerous thing to do as I inevitably come away with more than I intended. So it proved, though in a relatively restrained way. My objective was to get a couple of Clematis plants for a container that lives at the front of the house. Only one of the plants had survived the winter and that was a plant that was rather disappointing. So two I found two plants – a red flowering and a white flowering plants, both of which might have two flower flushes in the year. They are in the container now and growing well. The old Clematis has been taken out and planted next to the arch that divides the flower area from the vegetables – I needed another climber there so it will be useful.

However, I was distracted at the garden centre by seeing a Dicentra plant – now I’ve tried several times to get Dicentra to flourish in the garden but they only seem to last a couple of years at best – so we’ll see. It’s already planted and seems ok so far.

On the way to the cash desk I passed a stand with trays of brassicas and salad plant – and was intrigued by a tray of a dozen mixed type of cauliflower seedlings. I’ve never had too much success with brassicas in general but haven’t tried cauliflower seriously before so I bought the tray – and they nicely filled one of the raised beds. I think they are hanging on….

Cauliflower seedlings – the CDs are to scare off the pigeons!

The bed with the cloches over (2) is intended for salad cops and I planted a part row longways of ‘Leaf Salad’ (mixed lettuce) under one cloche and a similar row of Swiss Chard (Bright Lights) under the other cloche. I’ll hopefully add more of the rows in a month or so to extend the cropping. Once the cloches come off I should able to plant more salad crops. At least the cloches will keep the birds off for now.

No sign of any of the mangetout peas planted in bed 6 yet, and I’ve planted up a couple of pots in the greenhouse in one of the propagators with ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ peas as a backup.

In the propagators the flower seeds planted a couple of weeks ago (malop & cosmos) are germinating now and in the same propagator there are more tomato seedlings through (‘Jon Rainbow Blend’ & ‘Marmande’). Also in another propagator some Kale I Planted a couple of weeks ago are now just appearing.

Tomato seedlings and more

 

Kale – just coming through

Still on the kitchen windowsill are the pots of tomato seedlings (still only 3 seedlings – 2 Zuchero & 1 Gardeners Delight), peppers (none yet) and chives (most germinated). Also in a seed tray by a window is a half tray of Marigold and Nicotiana flowers for the flower beds. One cucumber seed has germinated as well on the windowsill.

Still a few overwintered perennials to plant out – mostly Doronicum and a few spring flowering plants as well but it’s beginning to get under control. The main plants to get into the ground are the broad bean seedlings – looking very much ready now.

Broad bean seedlings ready to go in

Just to show spring is here – here is a picture of one of the Kerria plant – it is actually in the veg area as well…

Kerria coming into full bloom

Wildlife

Nothing much different, the Robins still appear if \i’m doing any work on raised beds. The great tits, dunnocks etc. still visiting the feeders and fortunately no squirrels have appeared  – yet.