Weekly Update: Saturday 18th June 2016

This week we have:

  • Netted berries and tied up broad beans (they just keep growing taller) and fruit bushes falling into the pathways
  • Sown more peas and lettuce seeds
  • Planted out more peas from indoors as well as some lettuce and chicory
  • Weeded a very overgrown flower area and pathway
  • Weeded around the struggling cranberry bushes
  • Weeded and mulched a garlic bed
  • Moved some potatoes from the pea trench that had self-sown themselves – we get a lot of that happening in our garden
  • Planted out Salsola and spinach
  • Sowed more radish seeds direct

We have been harvesting lots of strawberries and eating them fresh in the evenings and freezing the rest in preparation for some variation of jam. We have also picked and eaten the usual salad (lettuce, spinach, rocket, radishes), kale, broadbeans, tree cabbage, first raspberries of the year, cabbage and beetroot – the biggest I have managed to grow so far that I am very proud of – and a couple of baby courgettes were slipped on top of our macaroni cheese earlier in the week while it was under the grill because they had started to rot from the excessive rain. I also made a strawberry and elderflower cake using our homegrown strawberries and homemade elderflower cordial – look out for the recipe next week! I also put some rhubarb in the freezer today.

 

Other exciting news is that we left a collection of runner bean roots in the ground in one of the trenches so we did not disturb the celery or kale that had been left there. Mum loves leaving things to go to seed at the moment to harvest at the moment or to leave them to flower for her bees who seem to really love brassica flowers. It meant that I was banned from clearing this particular trench from last season which was just as well because the runner bean roots have actually grown some runner bean plants. We heard that this could happen last year and my gran tried it out but it did not work. I suppose we had kept the roots warm from being fleeced during the winter to protect the celery and they remained well fed too. We were very surprised to find them and have now fed and cleared around them. Let us see if they produce any flowers?

Weekly Update – Saturday, 11th June 2016

The weather this week was a great improvement. It was the sort of weather you wanted to be outside in all day long; half the time playing in the garden, the other half lying in a cooling swimming pool! It was my sister’s fete today, raising money for her school trip to Tanzania next year so we got little done in the garden this week as we donated a fair chunk of time to preparing for it. It involved mum preparing a lot of plants (digging them up, potting them on, etc.), picking elderflowers and making elderflower cordial (more shortly), lemon verbena sugar (again, more coming soon) and for me making fifteen jars of ‘Jumbleberry’ jam (more next week). Well, fifteen and a half – I got to keep the half from one of the batches to eat on my toast myself and it was delicious, I just finished up the pot this afternoon.

This week we managed to:

  • Net some strawberries from the birds that have found them already. We have started picking them (some wild strawberries, some posher ones) which we have eaten with chocolate cake and pouring yoghurt for pudding at night.
  • Mum netted a redcurrant bush today. I netted a blueberry whose flowers have finished.
  • Weeded hamburg parsley, beetroot and turnip broccoli and fed them.
  • Planted out last three courgettes from indoors and the only pumpkin (I only had three seeds left as I never bought anymore this year and only one germinated so it might be pumpkin-free harvest this year. Fortunately, I have LOTS in the freezer left over from last year…). I also fed the other courgettes and winter squashes.
  • I’ve started weeding the garlic patches.
  • Mum fed the potatoes with liquid feed.
  • I planted out Nigella flowers, lupins, cosmos flowers.
  • I planted out two new runner-beans today and sowed indoors more peas and soy beans. The soy beans are just refusing to germinate this year.
  • We harvested more salad, including the first beetroot of the year and some more peas and new kale (I’m giving the old flowered kale to the chickens and pigs now along with two lettuces that bolted. There are plenty left to make lettuce soup from and sharing is caring). The broad beans are ready to start harvesting next week.

On a sadder note, I did see my first cabbage white caterpillars crawling all over a flowered broccoli. There was a mixture of feelings, something like being close-to-tears. I haven’t seen anymore, yet…

Next week I will be posting more information about making Jumbleberry jam to use up any left over fruit in the freezer to make space for this year’s harvests. I will be writing about how to store your harvests shortly and recommend some reading material, for practical and enjoyment purposes!

Weekly Update: 4th June 2016

It has been a really tough week. The garden has been neglected but I am sure that it was very happy to be watered by all that natural, torrential rain. It could have done without the chilly temperatures though but the squashes and courgettes look alive, for now…

This week I have:

  • Planted out all of the orach (Real Seeds Company purchase).
  • Planted out the lupins in a flower patch next to a bee hive while they were trapped indoors during the rain – haha, finally! They don’t care much for my presence …
  • I also planned lupins in the areas of the squash patch (they are meant to make them taste better?) and some dotted around the place as they will get quite big and needed a lot of space.
  • I weeded the rhubarb and fed and mulched it.
  • I weeded and mulched some paths to try and keep the weeds at bay for a while.
  • I weeded the quinoa and amaranth patches that are impossible to weed when the sun is out as they are too close to the bee hives again so I made the most of the foul weather.
  • I weeded and mulched a lettuce patch.

I think that was it. Not a very productive week. However, we did harvest our first bounty of pea pods to have with out homemade matte paneer curry with rice, lentil Dahl, naan, lettuce (of coarse) and cucumber raita (sadly not homegrown cucumber, yet). They were really delicious. I will have to sow as many as I can this month before I run out of time!

This week mum:

  • Planted out the rest of the lettuce from indoors that I had sown too close together… oops.
  • Dug up and planted some plants into small containers for a fete my sister has to sell them at next weekend.
  • Planted out the thyme from indoors around brassicas.
  • Tied up the blackcurrant bushes that were falling over from their laden branches – the bees are going nuts over the berries this year, particularly the raspberries. YUM.
  • Netted some strawberry patches.
  • Cleaned up some of the debris still inside the greenhouse, we are so bad at cleaning.
  • Cleaned around the outside of the greenhouse.
  • Pruned and tied back a budlier that was shadowing the greenhouse.
  • Poured liquid feed over the carrots, beetroot and some kale when it was not raining.

Here’s hoping the weather improves and that it is a better week all round next time. Come on June, give us a good summer please.

Weekly Update: 29th May 2016

We’ve had surprisingly good weather this week – other than the freezing night-time temperature that came out of nowhere one night and I had to quickly fleece everything up in layers and layers of protection. Thankfully, the courgettes, squashes and sweetcorn lived!

This week I have:

  • Planted out all of the sweetcorn.
  • Planted out hamburg parsley I grew indoors (outdoors did poorly this year), sorrel, pak choi, cosmos flowers, some lupin flowers, some orach
  • I weeded and fed a cabbage, brussels sprouts and brukale bed.
  • Weeded and fed the courgettes and squashes and set up umbrellas to protect them from the irrigation sprinklers (the sprinklers last year worsened powdery mildew).
  • Planted out more aubergines, cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse.
  • Weeded and mulched the quinoa and amaranth beds.
  • Sowed more turnips and swede because some bird has been pecking them out of the ground.
  • I found a toad hiding under one of my cabbages! I moved him to the compost heaps out-of-the-way.
  • Planted out all of our runner beans.

Mum, while stuck in the throes of awful hay fever and more bee work has done:

  • Completed weeding and mulching the big carrot patch.
  • Did the poles for the runner beans.
  • Fed all of the potatoes with liquid fertiliser.
  • Sprayed the cucurbits and plants that can harbour blight or powdery mildew with our milk spray (more on that another time).
  • Potted on more tomatoes.
  • Weeded the broad beans.
  • Weeded and netter my broccoli and cauliflowers.
  • Weeded and cleared an old celery patch she is leaving to flower and create seeds this year.
  • Weeded the immense amount of mustard and goosegrass wrapping itself around our Japanese wine berry and boysenberry.
  • Created a support for the collapsing bed of the tree cabbages.

We also finally harvested our first batch of rhubarb for the year after putting it off for so long. More on that another time…

Weekly update -21st May 2016

I haven’t been entirely up to date with posting on this site. My excuse is that I am having some trouble with my laptop, it is blocking this website (as well as Wikipedia and Facebook, I do not know why but it has chosen those few) so it makes posting difficult.

Well, this week in the garden I managed to get some jobs done…

  • I weeded a cabbage patch, fed and mulched it as well as gave it a new netting to protect the vegetables from those pesky cabbage whites. They are savoy cabbages and are looking lovely and green and a couple are growing to a good, big size.
  • I netted my other cabbage trench that are planted with brussels sprouts and brukale (brussels sprout crossed with kale, will be interesting). Still need to weed and feed them…
  • I weeded, fed and mulched my tree cabbages (purchase from Real Seeds). These are looking pretty good and I can’t wait to harvest them. You pick off the leaves and use them like kale, apparently.
  • I planted out all of the celery, celeriac and leeks into the same long trench (leeks are apparently good companions plants for these crops). I’ve popped a fleece over the top of them to protect them from the wind which is quite  gusty at the moment and is drying everything out too quickly.
  • I planted out half of the sweetcorn, probably a little to recklessly after looking at the forecasted 7C next Tuesday night. I ran out of space in my block (they require 30cm apart from each other) so I need to make a new bed  for the remaining nine plants. I will try and start that today in the rain.
  • I potted on two aubergines from indoors and moved them inside  the greenhouse – finally, first vegetables inside the greenhouse! I also moved another strawberry inside there – useful hint, pot a couple of strawberries inside your greenhouse during the winter months and then they will fruit earlier and the birds might not get to the berries before you do.
  • We have been harvesting lots of lettuce, spinach, the last of my first sowing of radishes (tasted a little woody by now,  they were sown in February), rocket, purple sprouting broccoli, green sprouting broccoli, kale, parsley, coriander and some oriental vegetables, bok wong chinese cabbage (Real Seeds Company, again), komatsuna, mustard (a dominant weed in out patch which we really should eat more of but are too fussy) and it might have been mibuna or mispoona?
  • My fellow gardening partner, my mum, has been busy with her bees all week, feeding them and trying to prevent a swarm from taking off but she still managed to fit in some gardening jobs: weeding carrots and starting the shallots (horribly intricate jobs), planting out spring onions and nearly a whole seed tray of lettuces (again, very tricky and stressful with those little roots), potting on the sickly cucumbers and starting on the tomatoes.
  • We still have a lot to plant out from indoors which is the main priority despite the unstable weather for May. We will also be up to our necks in weeds if we don’t try and do some of that at any opportunity.

Happy gardening this week. I will be sharing some posts on salad next week with recipes, starting with lettuce, I think.