Archive for June, 2012

Garlic – first harvest

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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.

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Broad beans – first harvest

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……..

………I got 215g of beans………

……..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.

Pest of the day – Blackfly

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.

Bursting out all over

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!!