Tag Archives: raspberries

Summer is on the Blink!

We seem to be in almost a winter weather pattern with lows coming across the UK one after another. So we may have a day or so of sunny weather then rain. It’s been so bad that I only finally was able to mow the (still wet!) lawn this evening after more than a couple of trying to do it when the grass was dry. I finally cracked this evening when I was rain forecast more or less for the rest of the week.

6 days later

Since then we’ve had a shower or more almost every day and the grass is growing like mad!

The vegetables are growing well though and I’m harvesting plenty of climbing beans, together with the french/dwarf beans (almost finished now though). Only a few mangetout peas at the moment although I have one new seedling to plant out (only one out of four came up!). I’ve sown a couple more pots full today.

Climbing beans – note the different varieties

The tomatoes are producing well, especially the small ‘sugar plum’ types but some of the larger ones just ripening now.

Some of the current crop of tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato plants outside the greenhouse – these are ‘Marmande’

We’ve had plenty of cucumbers as well although just at the moment there aren’t any new ones ready but the courgettes are producing and as usual if I’m not careful picking them while they are small we’ll have a glut.

Baby courgettes – they need watching!

 

One unfortunate side effect of all the rainy days is that I haven’t yet harvested the garlic even though they are ready, but they really need a chance to dry out once I’ve dug them up.

The broad bean plants are still there just in case the flowers on them just now actually produce some beans… unlikely but you never know.

Over the last couple of weeks I have harvested all of the blackcurrants and gooseberries (some of which were immediately cooked into gooseberry ‘cobbler’). The raspberries are just about over, but the blueberry bushes are full of ripe berries – and the birds haven’t found them yet! There are a few strawberry flowers so there may be a late crop. The brambles are ready now as well – I’ve had a few already with my breakfasts.

Some of the blackcurrants and gooseberries

 

 

I’ll close this now and add more in a couple of days….

 

 

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Almost Finished Harvesting

Now that Autumn is officially here things are winding down in the garden of course and harvesting of produce is running down – apart from the tomatoes that is!

Tomatoes outside the kitchen

Tomatoes outside the kitchen – notice how some have split and aren’t really much use now

Tomatoes outside the greenhouse - pomodoro

Tomatoes outside the greenhouse – pomodoro

The pomodoro seem rather more prone than others to various ailments as you can see. Still they are good for making tomato sauce for pasta..

I must admit I haven’t been doing a lot in the garden over the last few weeks, partly because I’ve been busy with other things, but also apart from the harvesting it is the time of year when most of the work is tidying up and pulling stuff out of the ground or pruning rather than planting.

That said I do have a collection of ‘spring flowering’ plants in the greenhouse which I need to put in place before too long and I have some bulbs to plant so it’s not going to be all tidying…..

The climbing beans are past the point of being collected though there are plenty of pods still on the vines. I may save some of them for next year – but I’m not sure if they are F1 hybrids. Anyway, I think I have some left in the packet…. They were better than the variety from last year, though one of the vines that grew purple coloured pods produced very few pods. As the beans are a mixture it will just be pot luck next year unless the saved beans germinate….. The dwarf beans are also past their best and I don’t think there are any worth picking now.

Climbing Beans - past their best

Climbing Beans – past their best

The mangetout peas lasted until the other day and I didn’t get round to planting any more during the last few weeks.

Mangetout ready for picking

Mangetout ready for picking – since eaten!

The courgette plants as usual were far too fecund from two plants. Even though the variety produced yellow courgettes and were easier to spot some still managed to hide until they were massive – so I’m sorry to say some went straight to compost. Well there were plenty of other small ones to eat and there is only so much that can be done with courgette….

One of the smaller courgettes....

One of the smaller courgettes….

We also had just enough cucumbers – there were two plants, one bought as a seedling and one from seed. The bought plant, grown under the ‘door’, produced several cumbers and the died a few weeks ago for no apparent reason. Meanwhile the plant grown from seed, which I planted  in a container, barely survived attacks from slugs and pigeons and had to be protected under plastic for a few weeks. Eventually though it thrived and produced a couple of cucumbers, and is still alive though may not produce any more but we’ll see.

Sweet peppers in the greenhouse - the big one is turning red now

Sweet peppers in the greenhouse –

The peppers in the greenhouse are doing ok. The sweet peppers have fairly chunky peppers and the chilli variety plants have quite a few peppers, but not yet ripening apart from a plant in the kitchen.

The raspberries I planted produced until a couple of weeks ago – enough to keep me with some for breakfasts and for some to be frozen. The ones growing in the hedge near the greenhouse are producing just now – I had about a dozen with my breakfast this morning.

There is still the odd strawberry ripening – if I can get to them before the slugs or birds they are a handy addition to my breakfast.

A couple of the strawberrie

A couple of the strawberries

Meanwhile the grapes in the greenhouse are just about ready. The plan is to produce grape juice this year, I just need to get the bits and pieces together ready.

Bunches of ripe grapes - I've picked them just this evening to make grape juice

Bunches of ripe grapes – I’ve picked them just this evening to make grape juice

There is a big chunk of work coming up dealing with the hedges though – especially when the brambles have finally stopped producing (I’m still hoping to harvest some more) but most haven’t been properly cut since late spring and some have really grown.

Some of the remaining brambles

Some of the remaining brambles – there are better ones elsewhere though

I must get round to digging up the potatoes as well – the tops have died back almost completely.

Wildlife

The trail cam deployed recently on the lawn showed two hedgehogs together and a young hedgehog has been wandering around in daylight as well – and it is small enough to get through the protection cage around the ground feeding station so the camera caught it inside a couple of times.

There have been ‘visitations’ of greenfinches to the feeder with sunflower seeds a few times recently and they can empty it in a couple of days. It also rather annoys the great tits who can’t get near the seeds for the greenfinches and they regard the feeder as theirs normally.

I have seen a squirrel around the garden a couple of times but not round the bird feeders as yet so it is safe – for now….

 

Harvesting Now Fruit & Veg

Both vegetables and fruit are producing just now and the weather has been genuinely summery with temperatures in the upper 20’s for most of the last week.

The fruit harvest has been red currants a couple of weeks ago over 1.5 pounds, and currently raspberries, close to a pound now in the freezer and the bushes are still producing.

Raspberries

Raspberries

The gooseberry bushes have berries on that look to be ripe now – and since starting this blog I’ve picked them Over 2lb of the red berries and about half a pound of green ones.

Red gooseberries  - nice and sweet

Red gooseberries – nice and sweet

Green berries - not as many of these

Green berries – not as many of these

and the blackcurrants are close to being ready.

Blackcurrants - not quite ready

Blackcurrants – not quite ready

The strawberry plants are just producing a new set of flowers so it will be a while before any more strawberries. Some of the blueberries look to be ripening, though it doesn’t look like there will be as many as last year.

Meanwhile I’m harvesting climbing beans, and one of the varieties is producing yellow beans (don’t know the name as it was a pack of ‘mixed’ varieties)

Yellowish climbing beans - they are quite tasty though

Yellowish climbing beans – they are quite tasty though

The ‘dwarf’ beans are just at the point of producing, there are tiny beans at the moment but it won’t be long…

The broad beans have been pretty poor in contrast, we’ve only had a couple of helpings of beans and several plants didn’t produce a single pod.. I can only blame the weather, no idea what caused the problem apart from that as the plants seem healthy enough.

The mangetout have been producing for over a month now and are still producing, mainly because I have planted new rows at intervals.

Mangetout  ready for picking

Mangetout ready for picking

Also the courgettes are now producing pleant – I’m trying to pick them while small to avoid the usual glut – but i’m sure we’ll eventually be overwhelmed….

Small courgettes

Small courgettes

and I’ve already picked a cucumber:

Cucumber - a few days before being picked

Cucumber – a few days before being picked

Plus tomatoes are beginning to ripen – just the small ones at the moment but it won’t be long before some of the larger varieties are ready

Ripening tomatoes

Ripening tomatoes

The salad crops I planted a while ago haven’t been terrifically successful – the radish are ok but the salad leaves and lettuce rows are rather sparse, but there may be some leaves worth harvesting.

I’ve now dug up the garlic bulbs and they are just drying on the bed but they don’t look to be as good as last year but perfectly acceptable.

So that’s the harvesting situation just now..

Update With Pictures

A big update with pictures to bring things more or less up to date.

All things in no particular order :

Tomatoes – the ones near the kitchen are doing ok – there are four in the container, but the two I grew from seed (tumbling tom) are well behind the two I bought (sweet ‘n neat – bush type & ‘orange zinger’ a cherry tomato type) – the latter being a main step type see below:

Tomatoes outside the kitchen - the tall one if the 'orange zinger' with fruit already set

Tomatoes outside the kitchen – the tall one if the ‘orange zinger’ with fruit already set

Outside the greenhouse two growbags have the later germinators (marmande and 2 x pomororo) and they are still relatively small but the RH bag (2 x pomodoro & giulietta) are now big with well developed fruit (see below)

Well developed plants outside the greenhouse

Well developed plants outside the greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse, all the plants bar one have been ‘stopped’ as they have got enough trusses or have reached the roof and several have fruit but not ripening yet (see below). They are at the point where watering with tomorite is now a regular job. There is more of a mixture of types – ailsa craig, marmande, pomodoro and giulietta. The odd mixture is a result of the rather peculiar germination record this year (lots of pomodoro for instance).

Full size omatoes in the greenhouse

Full size omatoes in the greenhouse

Greenhouse tomatoes developing well

Greenhouse tomatoes developing well

The pepper plants in the greenhouse again were late germinators and only one – a sweet pepper (gourmet) is growing well but still yet to produce flowers. All the others, mostly chilli type (prairie fire), are still rather small and only a couple have been repotted into big pots yet.

Not much else in the greenhouse apart form some house flower cuttings and a set of helianthemums waiting to go out into the garden.

Elsewhere the garlic plants have all collapsed (weather) though they don’t actually look to be ready yet:

Garlic bed - but are they ready?

Garlic bed – but are they ready?

The mangetout on the other hand are ready and producing plenty of pods – I added two new rows in the last week or so to keep production going.

Mangetout - now producing

Mangetout – now producing

The dwarf beans are growing ok (?) after initial attacks by pigeons, but are yet to produce flowers.

Dwarf beans

Dwarf beans

Climbing beans

Climbing beans

The climbing beans are flowering and I can see there are at least two types but I don’t know what types they are. I just hope they produce well unlike the ones I grew last year.

I have one cucumber plant growing well under the glass – a ‘mini’ I bought as germination of the cucumber seeds was poor – the one plant that I did grow from seed is now in ‘special care’ as it was attacked by slugs. Two courgettes did germinate (‘atena’, the yellow one) though and both plants are under the glass and we have had one small courgette already with more to come soon.

'Mini' cucumber

‘Mini’ cucumber with courgette flowers beyond

The broad beans however are a bit of a disaster area. Poor germination from the ones planted in the ground in the first place but even the ones produced in the greenhouse are not producing pods. They are tried and tested varieties I’ve grown before as well (the sutton and aguadulce) we haven’t had a meal from them yet. Some sutton plants don’t have a single bean pod or flower on them for instance.

Broad bean plants

Broad bean plants

One bed I’ve planted up with salad crops only a couple of weeks ago has seedlings through, but it is netted to keep away the pigeons. It’s a mixture of salad leaves, lettuce, turnip and radish.

Salad crops

Salad crops

The carrots have been a problem. The first sowing was all eaten by slugs?, the second by slugs & pigeons and the third only a few have survived!

The fruit is doing well despite the weather though. The redcurrants are ready and protected by netting so a picking session is in prospect (we had enough for jam last year) and the gooseberries can’t be far behind.

Gooseberries - ready?

Gooseberries – ready?

Ripe redcurrants

Ripe redcurrants

The raspberries have started to ripen so a few have been ready enough to eat already. There are lots on the canes ready to ripen as well

Ripe raspberries

Ripe raspberries

The strawberries which were supposed to produce fruit in succession according to the variety instead seem to have produced some fruit at least all at once! Most eaten now though…

Strawberry plants - with straw!

Strawberry plants – with straw!

That’s all on the growing

Wildlife

The trail camera out for a couple of months showed two hedgehogs together and a different fox but no return of the badger.

No squirrels for a few weeks then one appeared this morning.

Autumn – Suppose I Should Clear Up

Well so far the autumn has been fine but what you might ask have I been up to in the garden since the last post.

The answer is not a lot really. I have cleared out the growbags in the greenhouse and one of the ones from alongside the greenhouse. The others will go as soon as I have time and they are finished growing and any tomatoes left aren’t really ripening or are too ripe. We’ve had such a glut of tomatoes from all the plants that there’s no keenness to use any of the ones left!

Still producing are the peppers in the greenhouse, and it’s been so mild and even sunny many days that they are probably still ripening. Also still producing are the courgette plants but I would guess that apart from the courgettes that are currently still on the plants there won’t be any new ones. The cucumbers have more or less given up growing as well. the cucumelon has ‘fruit’ on but I’m not sure if they are ready.

There are still potatoes in the ground, but the carrots and beans are finished and cleared away already.

On the fruit side I’ve harvested the apples (Lord Lambourne & a few Braeburn) as the wind had blown many of them off anyway. The blueberries were finished a couple of weeks ago, I was able to have some with my breakfast cereal for several weeks. Also, raspberries, from the canes that have been in the garden since before I moved in have been producing until only a few days ago, again nice with mmy breakfast. There have even been a coupl of strawberries in the last week!

I have been potting up a load of winter bedding flowers including Bellis, Pansies and Sweet Williams plus some ‘garden ready’ Bellis and Polyanthus delivered a week or so a go are waiting to be planted out.

Wildlife

Not much to say except several squirrels have been taken on holiday since the last post. The results of a trail cam at the bottom of the garden have shown regular visits from cats and hedgehog(s) plus one sighting of a fox.

The birds, mostly tits, have been going through the sunflower seeds rapidly together with a ‘fat slab’.

Bit More Clearing Up

Managed to spend a bit of time in the garden recently and cleared away the dwarf beans – not impressed with them this year lots of foliage but not too many beans, plus I cleared away the extra pea plants I’d added into the same bed and some bits of the climbing beans.

Also, most of the tomato plants in the greenhouse have begun to die back or have produced as many tomatoes as they can so I’ve chopped many of them down or, in a couple of cases, cut them right down to the growbag. There are still a few tomatoes to ripen in the greenhouse but will soon be finished. Meanwhile, there are plenty of tomatoes to be picked outside the greenhouse – I picked about 3lbs the other evening which were promptly made into pasta sauce for that evenings meal.

Harvesting is of course still ongoing – we’ve had carrots, and some calabrese recently and there have been enough raspberries to make my breakfast cereal interesting. I picked half a pound of brambles the other day, and some more this evening. The last of the blackcurrants today plus some maris piper potatoes ready for our Sunday roast tomorrow.

There are the grapes to harvest from the greenhouse yet, plus several sweet peppers – and three cucumbers turned up the other day – they’d been hidden under courgette leaves!

Three surprise cucumbers - not small either

Three surprise cucumbers – not small either

At least the courgette production has slowed so there isn’t so much of a courgette crisis now.

Wildlife

The most strange thing happened the other day as I was harvesting brambles – a small mouse appeared from under the hedge, ran round my feet, then proceeded to nibble happily on some titbit a foot or so away – it was so unworried that I was able to reach down and touch it – and it didn’t even rush off then – I tried to take a picture, but of course while I was preparing, it moved off out of sight!

The bird feeders have been visited frequently just recently by mobs of long-tailed tits plus some green-finches as well as the usual visitors.

So What has Been Happening With The Veg?

Well they have been growing and I’ve been cropping – but not all and not all successfully.

First, the broad beans are finished now, the last beans were harvested today and some of them too old to use but all needed peeling before uses (they are going to be used later this week). they have been pretty good and have produced a reasonable crop. Cant’t really say that the De Monica produced better than the Aguadulce, both seemed pretty good.

Broad Beans - all picked and waiting for the chop, with Garlic in front ready to harvest

Broad Beans – all picked and waiting for the chop, with Garlic in front ready to harvest

The mangetout peas are also almost finished (although there is a small number of plants I planted after the others in the beans bed still not flowering yet). and they have also produced well, still a few pods to come though I think.

The climbing beans are producing now (we had some today) but not really well and they still are pretty reluctant to climb properly. Even allowing for the poor weather early on after they were planted it’s still pretty disappointing- so I don’t think I’ll grow the variety (Fasold)again and will return to the previous variety (Blue Lake) grown over previous years.

The reluctant Climbing Beans

The reluctant Climbing Beans – note the amount of growth at the base

The ‘dwarf’ beans have been misbehaving as well – not being dwarf and pretending to be climbing beans so they have needed support – all a bit weird really – still they have produced a few beans.  (we had some today).

The 'Dwarf' Beans not being dwarf!

The ‘Dwarf’ Beans not being dwarf!

The peas (Hurst Longpod) are close to harvesting and the pods are filling out well so next weekend I think we’ll be having them.

The 'full size' peas

The ‘full size’ peas

The ‘climbing’ strawberries have finished their first crop but there are one or two new flowers so there may be more coming. While on the fruit, one of the raspberry canes planted last year which is supposed to be an autumn variety has been producing for the last couple of weeks, just enough to go with my breakfast cereal, and very nice too. Meanwhile, the blackcurrants are ripening up and looks like we may be harvesting next weekend.

Raspberries - great with my breakfast cereal

Raspberries – great with my breakfast cereal

The salad cops haven’t been as good. A container of salad leaves is currently being harvested and a row of radishes is also ready plus a row of lollo rosso lettuce is also ready. However, other crops like beetroot, leaf beet, and mini-celery have either failed or are struggling with a few plants. Partly this is down to pigeon damage and partly to failure to grow at all. As an example, tow rows of lettuce germinated but after a couple of weeks half of each row had gone as a result of pigeon or slug damage.

Lollo Rosso lettuce with

Lollo Rosso lettuce with radishes behind

Turnip, with Pak Choi behind and Calabrese at the back (plus plenty of weeds!)

Cos lettuce, Turnip, with Pak Choi behind and Calabrese at the back (plus plenty of weeds!)

The Courgettes are of course trying to overwhelm everything else – below is an example – there is a cucumber plant left of it (completely hidden)and the climber is a ‘cucamelon’ donated by my neighbour (who is growing one as well) growing as an experiment. I have harvested two cucumbers already though.

Courgette taking over!

Courgette taking over!

To finish off – one tomato (a ‘Gardeners Delight’) is just starting to turn (see below) – so soon we’ll be harvesting by the ton…..:

The first tomato to start ripening

The first tomato to start ripening

Wildlife

A rather annoying squirrel has been about which mostly ignores the peanuts I put out to entice it into the trap, and goes straight up the pole to the seed feeder – which it has almost destroyed. Drastic steps were needed – so I bought an anti-squirrel baffle to put on the pole – which I’m please to say has ‘baffled’ the squirrel (I watched the other morning go up the pole then wonder what to do next). So I’ve now got a new seed feeder in the hopes it will last longer.

The trail cam has been located on the lawn for a while recently and revealed a hedgehog wandering about and was itself knocked over by magpies – 3 of which appeared early in the morning looking for trouble – one marched up to the camera pecked the lens then jumped onto the top and knocked it over!

I noticed over the last couple of days at least one house-sparrow on the feeders which is encouraging, but I wish there were more. There have been greenfinches on the seed feeders as well recently and the usual tits, though most look pretty scruffy so I think they may be youngsters.

A few butterflies about, the buddleia bushes are just coming into flower so I expect to see a lot more butterflies soon.