I just went under the stairs to check some spuds I’d forgotten about.
Oh dear, poor neglected blog. I got so caught up in the harvesting and eating of the things I’d grown that the blogging got left by the wayside. Must…..try…….harder…….
So far this year I only have garlic in the ground. They went in over Christmas before the snow so I hope they are ok. Last year I put them in around October and they were already poking through when the colder weather came. I’ve gone for a French variety this year called Cristo, which I picked up at the garden centre. Also last year I got rust on the leaves but it doesn’t seem to have affected the bulbs at all which we are still eating now. I probably got about 25 bulbs from last year’s efforts. I’ve given a few away and some were quite small but they all divided into cloves and taste great.
I can’t believe it is February tomorrow!! Must get some seed potatoes and start chitting. I only had a small crop of 4 different varieties last year, and unfortunately, as with most people whose blogs I’ve read, they went mushy on boiling. Some of the Desirees were huge when I dug them up.
Well, back to it I guess – need to find a good blight free tomato for this year, any suggestions?
My “Radar” onions had started to flop over and as they were getting quite large, and we had a dry afternoon today, I dug them up. They are of varying sizes but all big enough for me to be happy with. I’d say they were all at least as big as a tennis ball.
I also dug out a few bulbs of garlic as the leaves were getting very rusty. In last weeks “Gardener’s World”, Monty Don suggested that this is the best course of action for rusty garlic even though the bulbs may not be fully formed yet. The ones that came out were great but I have decided to leave the rest of them in for now and see if I can get them a little bigger. These were “Vallelado” garlic, an organic variety from The Organic Catalogue which I planted on October 4th. These were the first things I planted in my new veg patch and now they are fully grown and on their way in the big wide world. I’m so proud, (sniff).
I have put them all in the growhouse out of the rain, but with plenty of light to dry out. Hopefully they’ll last long enough for us to eat them.
Also today I harvested another batch of broad beans for dinner, along with some lovely rainbow chard from the square foot growbag.
Not quite ready, it hasn’t divided into cloves yet, but perfectly usable. I just couldn’t wait any longer, and in my haste I put the fork straight through the bulb as I dug it out!! I cut the leaves off as t was the first one and a tester but the rest I will let dry out and then plait them together.
Well I think I managed to avert the blackfly crisis by taking off the growing tips of the shoots on the broad beans, and I have just been out and picked the first handful for our dinner this evening.
From 740g of picked pods……..
……..and when these were shelled I was left with 115g of beans for our dinner……
Look how vibrant that green is and although my childhood memories of broad beans are that of eating sour rubber, these are lovely and sweet. And there are still loads more on the plants. These were planted back in the autumn, with the seeds put straight into the ground. The veg patch was new and had hardly anything added to it, a couple of bags of manure and a couple of organic compost and that was it. And I haven’t fed them since.
It was going so well with the broad beans, until I walked around the “estate” this morning and found this…..
Blackfly!!! They must have moved in overnight because there were none there yesterday. They are larvae and are all clustered around the tops of the broad bean shoots. And they have their little attendants – the ants. I just Googled and apparently the ants feed off of sugary secretions from the larvae.
Having read a lot of grow-your-own magazines and books over the last 12 months I knew this could happen and what to do so I went out with a pair of trusty scissors and cut all the top shoots off the beans. One stalk I had to go down below the first few beans because the larvae were on those too but I only lost 3 beans. It gave me a chance to open a pod and see what size the beans were and they were not quite big enough. Perhaps I can pick some over the weekend from further down.
Cripes, where did the time go? Over a month since my last garden update and everything has gone bananas! And these are almost the size of bananas……….
…….and growing at a rate of knots!! These are the broad beans that I direct sowed last October. They survived the winter and are about 4ft tall. The larger pods are almost ready to pick, I tried one a week ago but the beans inside were still quite small.
This morning I have finally got around to planting my tomatoes into their growing bag. It is a two sided patio bag and I have filled it with part homemade compost and part New Horizon organic peat-free.
In each half I have put 3 plants, one each of Gardener’s Delight, Moneymaker and a cherry plum called San Marzano 2. All grown from seed, I’m happy with them at the moment, we’ll see how they produce! The Tumbling Tom Yellow, I have also grown from seed and have put two plants in each of two large pots. One of them already has a couple of flowers on it…
A couple of weeks ago gave my step-dad one of each of the above 4 varieties and he is growing his in conventional grow bags so we shall see how his compare to mine as the weeks go by.
A few days ago i caught sparrows eating the leaves of my peas so we had to rig up a Heath Robinson style net using some canes, “BuildaBalls” and netting. There was much frustration from me as it kept falling over but in the end a bit of parcel tape and some clothes pegs were employed and at the moment it is still standing – just!
Thise are Meteor peas but I also sowed some Feltham First in a pot just outside the patio doors. They aren’t growing as fast but there is already a flower.
The square foot patio bag is going great guns, and I’ve been cutting salad leaves from the front left square for over a week now. The rainbow chard has really taken off too and everything else is catching up. I have two types of kale, leeks, carrots, kai-lan, chard, asparagus peas and salad in there
I think there were some tomato seeds in the homemade compost I added as there are two rogue tomato plants coming up in the back right square amongst the kale!
The potatoes are doing well and were earthed up on Saturday, and the onions and garlic are swelling nicely. One of the onions produced a tall flower spike but on advice from UK Veg Gardeners I cut it off as apparently onions that flower don’t store as well.
I am really pleased with the amount of blueberries on my two plants, but will need to net them soon to keep the birds (and dog!) off them
And finally the two non-veg beds. In this one I just scattered some wildflower, cosmos, echinacea, and poppy seeds back in March. I don’t know if anything is a flower or a weed at this point!!
And this one I call the Purple Patch because by pure coincidence I realise I have planted (mostly apart from the snowdrops and a white-ish lavender) all purple flowering plants – lavender, allium (which I seem to have cut out of the photo!) and a Japanese anenome.
Last but not least I bought a strawberry pot from Morrisons a couple of months back and a pack of 6 very tiny herb plants. Since I planted them in the pot they are starting to get going
So that’s my garden round up for the beginning of June. Hopefully the next post will be of my broad bean harvest!!