We woke this morning to blue skies, but also white encrusted grass. The sun soon had things gently steaming and the frost quickly disappeared. It was just the confirmation of what we already knew – autumn is here. The frost wasn’t sharp enough to do away with the beans – so we may get another couple of meals. But the squash and pumpkins, which didn’t have a good year anyway, are gone for another year. It is the cycle of seasons, but this one is always one I am reluctant to let go.
There is nothing better than retrieving little cache of vegetables from the garden!
Runner beans are doing really well this year and this is the biggest kohlrabi I have yet grown at 1.5Ibs!
Inspired by this week’s – one a week photo challenge – cache
The last two years I seem to have struggled getting the vegetable plot in order. Just when I think I am getting things under control the weeds seem to take over! Currently the autumn strawberries and the blueberries are somewhat overwhelmed with weeds
We’ve had a reasonable crop of purple sprouting broccoli and broccoli (which I started last autumn inside. Mange tout are cropping both inside and outside and broad beans are coming slowly.
Purple sprouting brocolli
The potatoes are doing well. Cabbages are suffering a bit of slug damage – how the slugs love them! I surround them with broken egg shells which does help a little. Usually I can get some lettuce going early in the year, but anything I have set outside this year has just vanished. So I’ll concentrate growing these tender leaves in the polytunnel. Of course the weeds in the raspberry and blueberry beds are probably havens for slugs, and the recent damp weather doesn’t help either. We did watch a blackbird dismantle a slug the other day, but it did seem to have a problem with the slime.
Leeks, onions, parsnip, beetroot, red and white cabbages, courgettes and runner beans are all planted out. I have the latter two planted in the tunnel too in case we don’t get a warm summer. In the greenhouse, I have just recently planted tomatoes and cucumbers.
So if I can just keep on top of the weeds and slugs it will all be fine!
Things are definitely greening up. But unlike previous months February has been wet so it’s practically impossible to do anything outside. Even in the polytunnel and greenhouse I have been slow enough getting things going. I only planted the potatoes in the polytunnel last week. I have gone for ‘Charlotte’ as they did well for me again last year.
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I’ve planted salad crops and the first of these are beginning to germinate. Over wintered broad beans got some kind of dieback a few weeks ago so I have had to start afresh. So no early broadbeans this year!
The comfrey is coming on well both inside and outside and perennials are starting to show new growth too. I collected wild foxglove seed last autumn and these have germinated well. I overwintered them in the greenhouse and have put them outside to harden off. I did the same with Ragged Robin seed and have already planted some of these plug plants into the meadow.
The daffodils have been battered a bit by storm Doris and the continuing wet and windy weather, but they are doing their best. Jemima ii is sitting on eggs. I must say I am impressed with her persistent as she decided to make her nest outside and has endured all sorts of weather including the storm! I had always thought domestic ducks were not good sitters but she is certainly proving me wrong, at least for now. But I am not counting my ducks before they hatch!
Spot the duck!
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.
Well things are busy in the garden this month but at least we are reaping some of the benefits. We’ve been enjoying broccoli from the greenhouse from over wintered plants, which are being gradually cleared out and replaced by cucumbers and tomatoes, and also a few early beans. We’ve also had a few early strawberries, and the first courgette is just coming.
Dwarf french beans
In the polytunnel things are getting a bit overgrown, as the early potatoes need to start coming out. The broadbeans have cropped well and we are enjoying them for dinner. The mange tout seem to have suffered from our recent dry and sunny spell as I think they prefer cooler conditions, so leaves are looking a bit yellow but they are still producing peas.
Outside plums are forming as are some pears and apples – though I am a bit concerned that the pears are already looking a bit scabby.
In the vegetable garden things are a little slow. Cabbages though have benefited from the warm weather as there has been minimum slug damage. Beans and onions are just coming slowly. I am gradually catching up with weeding but they seem to continue to grow!!