Tag Archives: tomatoes

Summer – Phew What A Scorcher!

Well after the poor weather reported in the last post things have taken a much warmer turn. We’ve had temperatures over 25degC the last few days and exceeding 30degC yesterday and today. The prospect for the rest of the week s for temperatures between 25 and 30. All this means that is is far too hot to work in the garden during the middle of the day and afternoon and of course there is plenty of watering to do!

Nevertheless it all has to be done and the good thing is of course that we are in the period of maximum daylight at the moment so working in the garden is possible until just about 10pm (and of course from about 5am if necessary).

The flowers are looking good as a result, but keeping the climbing and dwarf beans well watered has been quite tricky. The bonus point about the good weather is that it has brought on some serious harvesting with some of the crops, most notably the strawberries as you can see:

The strawberry bed and fruit

One of the strawberry harvests (since had one with over a kilo of fruit!)

Elsewhere the mangetout peas are producing and we’ve been eating them in salads and steaming them with other veg for hot meals:

Mangetout peas waiting to be harvested – note the ‘eye protection’ on top of the cane.

The climbing beans had one ore two almost ready to be picked, but the plants themselves still look a bit scrawny and in fact one of the the original plantings had to be replaced with the more recent sowing as it clearly was not going to amount to anything even though it was still alive – just!

Climbing Beans – overview plus Cucumber plant

Climbing Beans – almost ready for picking

What were baby cucumbers a couple of weeks ago have suddenly become the size they should be picked!

Cucumber – should be pick I think

The dwarf/french beans seem to be hardly growing much, though all bar one are surviving:

French/dwarf beans – compare with the last post – not much change

The tomatoes in the greenhouse meanwhile are coming along nicely with fruit on all the plants:

Tomatoes in the greenhouse

The bush style plants near the kitchen seem to be doing ok with a mass of foliage and flowers:

‘Tumbling Tom’ plants growing well

On top of all this I had to hastily get the mesh cover over the redcurrant bushes at the end of last week as the redcurrants were ripening rapidly. If I don’t get them covered in time the birds will have them!

Ripening redcurrants – protected!

Plus the gooseberries aren’t far off being ready

Ripening gooseberries

I’ve also planted some more mangetout pea seedlings since starting this post yesterday and harvested a foot-long cucumber. I’ve also harvested a large enough quantity of mangetout peas to warrant blanching and freezing (too much for us to eat just now) and over 1lb of strawberries! This means we’ve probably harvested around 2 kilos of strawberries altogether – pretty good really.

In top of all the above had been the routine maintenance of course, mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges and weeding of course. The rainy period followed by sunshine has just encouraged growth of course. So it’s a pretty continuous process – once I’ve cut all the hedges etc. it’s about time to start again. Also, the hedge cutting in the ‘flower’ end of the garden right now is more tricky than ever as all the border plants, which grow right up to the hedges, have to be protected while cutting – it’s a real nightmare.

Wildlife

No trail camera results really since last post and no real changes in the birds arriving at the feeding points. I have seen some baby blackbirds being fed by their parents on the lawn though and I suspect the robins may have a second brood (or a different nest  judging by the noise coming from the hedge on one side.

One squirrel made into the garden and has been taken on holiday…..

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.

Some Rain after a Dry Spell

Apologies for this post – started on the 20th May but then after problems with uploading pictures it never was finished…….

Over the last few days we’ve had a fair amount of rain, which was needed as previously we’d had a long period with virtually no rain so the garden really needed it. In fact I’d been driven to getting the hosepipe on the garden – and a day later it started rain of course!

There has been some progress – a few things have made their way out of the greenhouse into the garden.

Four climbing beans – different varieties – are now in the garden. Probably a bit early but they were getting rather leggy in the greenhouse.

Climbing beans – after a few days.

One of  the cucumber plants is now under the ‘door’ protection – again it was getting too big for its pot in the greenhouse.

Cucumber just getting going.- it is a ‘burpless’ I think

Meanwhile the kale is hanging on ok and hasn’t been attacked too much:

Kale plants

The potatoes are coming on well:

Potato plants – earthed up already

The cauliflower plants are ok – one or two leaves have been attacked ?pigeons?

Cauliflower plants – still with ‘CD scarers’

and the broad beans are in full flower but I still haven’t ‘strung them’ yet but being ‘The Sutton’ they aren’t very tall and have managed to survive so far.

The Sutton beans in flower

The mangetout peas are thriving (a mixture including ‘Oregon  Sugar Pod’) and now need support canes

Mangetout peas

The one real disaster is the carrots which after only a few germinated the seedlings were all destroyed – slugs or pigeons – I’m not sure. So yet another sowing will have to go in….

Wildlife

On the bird front, not much to report. The robins have a nest in one hedge – I can hear the chicks when I’m working nearby. Not much variation at the bird table – just the dunnocks (on the ground), robins and blue/great tits plus the odd blackbird. There is a pair of magpies nesting in one tree alongside the garden which is rather annoying, I just hope they done’ have a go at any of the chicks that there must be in addition to the robins.

At the bottom of the garden the trail camera has shown the hedgehog(s) to be active and even coming into the main garden at least once.

 

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 Planting – and Some Preparation

Well the weather was reasonable around 8degC and dry so I felt compelled to get out in the garden and get on with something….

Firstly some work in the greenhouse – and a check on the mouse traps. I’ve been afflicted with mice for a couple of weeks – they eat most of my first sowing of broad beans – but a couple of traps seem to have sorted that problem out.

I have resown my broad beans – now they are all ‘The Sutton’ since the mice seem to have preferred the ‘Aguadulce’. I noticed this morning that one bean was just through – I guess one of the original sowing.

Also, while in the greenhouse I thought I would sow some tomatoes and peppers for germinating inside the house (my heated propagators are full of broad bean pots – not with heating, just because the covers keep any mice away). So some ‘Gardener’s Delight and ‘Zuchero’ tomatoes are in pots plus some Sweet pepper ‘Blockie’ and some chives (the garden clumps are looking a bit thin).

Then some work in the garden, I cleared one of the raised beds (no. 2) and added one of the bags of compost from last years growbags giving it a good fork over.  Then I put a couple of cloche tunnels over ready for – well I’m not sure yet.

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Then cleared another bed (6) and half of one (it has some plants waiting for transplanting to the flower beds in one end). Still several beds to go but t’s a start.

I’ve put the cover over the rhubarb now as it was just starting to shoot – makes me think of rhubarb pie (and custard) mmmm.

Daffodils are mostly out now and the snowdrops are m mostly over flowering now. One or to other flowers are out such as some cyclamen!, pulmonaria and ‘elephants ears’ (Bergenia cordifolia)

Daffodils (this bed is undeplanted with  perennials

Daffodils (this bed is underplanted with perennials)

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

'Elephant Ears' -

‘Elephant Ears’ – Bergenia

WIldlife

Robins always in attendance when I’m gardening and anxious to get any grubs they can find. The blackbirds are also very busy but I haven’t seen any territorial disputes yet. Also, long tailed tits keep appearing on the feeders as well as the usual blue & great tits.

No more squirrels so far!