July is fast coming to an end so I thought it was time for another garden update. It is not proving to be the best of summers. There has been lots (too much) of rain but thankfully temperatures are not as low as last summer, but it is not looking like we will have bumper harvests.
In the greenhouse, tomatoes and cucumbers are producing but not in big quantities so there has not been surplus for pickling. My cucumbers (and also the courgettes and squashes) have all got this strange virus – it looks like mildew, but starts as perfect circles and increases and multiplies till the whole leaf is covered. I keep taking off the affected leaves and so far the plants are surviving. One variety of cucumber (marketmore), shows no sign of the virus so I may concentrate on growing that variety next year.
In the polytunnel, the early broadbeans did well as did the Charlotte potatoes which we are about half way through. I have some beetroot to harvest and also started harvesting these purple kohlrabi. We all prefer them raw to cooked so will probably have the rest with salads. I just planted some more seed in the hope that I can get some to crop in late autumn or over winter for next spring.
Outside the first of the runner beans are appearing ( I put five plants in the poly on a wigwam and they are really not happy, and I don’t know why), and I am hoping for a better crop than last year. The dwarf beans are really suffering, probably because it is not warm enough. I did plant a couple in the greenhouse and it turns out this was a good idea because they are cropping well! Cabbages do seem to enjoy the wet and we’ve been enjoying the first (variety Greyhound), and I am hopeful that we will get a decent crop of red cabbage. Courgettes are small and slow.
We’ve had a few nice summer raspberries but the loganberries are proving very popular with the blackbirds!! We’ve picked over 2kg of blackcurrants and there are still some more. The kids are enjoying blackcurrant cordial and it’s a “bribe” to get them picking some of their own! Blackcurrants are always one of our best croppers.
In last week’s post I was bemoaning the lack of success in the vegetable garden and while things were not as productive as I’d like in the polytunnel and greenhouse, in general plants fared better and produced more there.
We’ve had a pretty constant supply of lettuce and greens from the polytunnel. The cool temperatures made it a perfect growing environment for them, and it is only in the last week that we are a bit short of lettuce though still doing well with mustard greens and rocket. There are more lettuce plants on trays waiting to be planted out – endives and winter destiny lettuce.
In the greenhouse the tomatoes have actually done pretty well, and though they weren’t enough cucumbers to pickle there have been plenty to eat fresh each day
Tomatoes – Gardeners delight
Tomatoes – Green zebra
Black tomato (possibly blackberry)
With our beans doing so badly outside I planted some late in the greenhouse and polytunnel. Some are already producing – not many, but a nice bonus.
According to the packet these are supposed to be dwarf beans but they seem happier climbing up some bamboo canes!
In the greenhouse, patience is finally paying off and we’ve been enjoying the first of the cucumbers. There are plenty of green tomatoes (no sign of them going red yet) and some interesting black ones (a friend gave me some seeds earlier in the year – I think they are called black berry).
Tomatoe – black berry
The bees are enjoying the oregano that is flowering. And we are still enjoying some alpine strawberries.
Carder bee on Oregano
I’ve seedlings started for some autumn and winter crops for the polytunnel including lettuce, mangetout and these leaf beat. There are more winter crops to go in, but I have already planted in some calabrese, which I have had mixed results with in previous years. After a poor summer in the vegetable garden I am hoping for a better autumn! Optimism when vegetable gardening in an Irish climate is essential.
This week’s rain has confined me mostly to the greenhouse and polytunnel, both of which needed attention anyhow! Yesterday I cleared out the last of the mangetout plants (the outside ones are now cropping). We’ve been enjoying the Charlotte potatoes, broad-beans and purple kohlrabi all from the tunnel.
In the greenhouse, some of the tomato plants have set their first fruit and there are a couple of tiny cucumbers too, though the plants are still small. The purple dwarf beans have cropped quite well and the courgette plant is looking great. I need to take it out as it’s taking up too much room and I have more plants outside (looking very small and miserable) and one in the polytunnel. As it’s cropping very well I’m going to leave it as long as I can. So for now I’m removing some of the leaves.
Courgette in polytunnel
Today, it had stopped raining so I had a chance to do some weeding in the vegetable plot. I am leaving the strawberry bed (it’s full of weeds), as the damp weather has resulted in lots of slug damage and those the slugs aren’t eating the birds are. My plan for next year is to put the strawberries in pots in the blueberry fruit cage.
Slug eaten strawberry
Today, my son did manage to find a few nice ones. He decided he was going to eat a lunch that he himself picked. This was the result. (He did take my offer of a freshly cooked pancake too!)
My son’s lunch plate
Yes, we have some nice black and red currants ripening. They are one of our most reliable fruits. The green bean like pods are actually the seed pods of some of my brassicas. I leave some plants to get seed for next year but the kids and I find them quite tasty too.
In the greenhouse, plants have benefited from our mild September. Despite going in late (we were still finishing the greenhouse) the miniature peppers are now a wonder red and the kids love them just as they are.
Minature red pepper
The tomatoes are looking healthy. They are the best tomatoes I have every grown, even if they are still green. I can see lots of jars of green tomato chutney in my future. They are just beginning to go red so we may be lucky if the weather remains mild. Next year, I will have no excuses and will hopefully get things in on time.