Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I'm back!

Hmm... somewhat neglecting this at the moment. My excuse is that the lens on my camera has broken and I've had to send it off to get fixed and so haven't been able to take any nice piccies. No nice piccies = nothing to boast about :p = no writing.

I haven't been able to take piccies of:

1) My mahoosive sunflowers, all of which are over 2.5m tall, one of which have reached the first floor french windows. I'm so chuffed! And even P is happy even though he is *such* a non-gardener, but because he's a boy, he gets excited about big things.

2) My mahoosive second shark fin melon, which is now nearly 1.5 times the size of my first. I'm just letting this one grow on to the end of the season and see how big it can get, as I don't have to cull it prematurely to let others grow. Again, big. P likes. Very much.

3) My tomatoes! They were blighted, so I took advice and pulled all of the tomatoes plants up and harvested all of the green tomatoes. I gave half of them away as I didn't know what to do with them, and apparently you have to cook them up quickly to avoid the blight getting to them further. I wish I hadn't give them away now. As I sat there for days pondering about what to do, they started to turn red, not black. I bought a bunch of bananas and put them on top of the toms, and 90% of them have now turned red, with the rest to follow! I could have cooked up a vat of tomato base with the ones I gave away! A lesson to be learned here, I think - don't be too hasty with blighted plants. Will need to remember for next year. Do not panic, do not panic!

4) My cucs! Fortunately, I gave a plant away at the beginning of the season, and only one of the my remaining 3 survived. From this single plant (Marketmore), I have had over 10 cucumbers, with another 3 or 4 begging to be picked. I'm not sure if it's been the sudden additional blast of warmth from this 'Indian Summer', but the past week has seen an additional flush of flowers, which are beginning to bear fruit. Cucs coming out of my ears. Eek!

5) The courgettes have been brilliant, with the plants giving me around up to 5 per week at the height of the season. The green ones are succumbing to powdery mildew now and are beginning to show signs of stopping, but the single yellow plant I have (Jemmer F1) is continuing to keep me in courgette heaven.

6) French beans - one wigwam with about 6 plants (and a couple that I grew up a sunflower for fun *looks really pretty - Blauhilde, with purple stems and flowers winding around the stalk*) has kept a little tupperware dish in the fridge fully stocked for the past month.

I wish I had a camera, to take a pic of the trombocino squash that I've grown. I never expected these to come to anything as I sowed quite late on in the season (July, I think), but the first squash has appeared and is about 10cm long. I hope it has time to continue to grow and fill out - these are squash with bulbous ends, that can grow up to 30cm long.

I've harvested my Asian pears. I only let the one year olds fruit for fun, and the fruit that they produced were small. I think they would have been nice and crunchy if I'd harvested them earlier - I think I left them on the plant for a bit too long so they were a bit soft (but sweet!). My two year old Shinseiki, however, was a different story. It only bore 2 fruit, but oh, what two fruit! Crisp, juicy, and the sweetest that I have ever tasted (I'm sure the chuff factor has something to do with it). I can't wait until next year!!!

Who else is reaping in the delights of Autumn?

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Blight!

After the excitement of the past few days seeing my tomatoes ripening, my mood came tumbling today when I inspected the toms a bit closer. Yes, I have blight. Only a few tomatoes were showing the signs but the unmistakeable blackening of the stems means that the plant had to go to stop it spreading to the others.

One of the cordon plants in the ground is affected so far, with its neighbour showing early signs. I have pulled the affected one up, taking care to remove all the foliage and as much root as possible from the area. It's all going into a bag and to landfill. Blight affected material should never be composted in case the spores linger in your garden.

I had to go to the garden centre to get some Bordeaux mixture. It's approved by the Soil Association for organic use (I think, but the info might be out of date), but I still feel sad and a bit guilty, because, well, I really didn't want to spray anything in the patch. :(

Hopefully, this will slow down the process in the minor affected plant to allow the fruits to ripen, and stop the onset in the other plants. I have over 10kg of tomatoes in the garden. Losing the lot would feel like a stab in the heart. :(

I managed to salvage about 2kg of green tomatoes and have hung the bunch up to ripen. If on inspection tomorrow, any more shows signs of deterioration, I'm going to have to cook the whole lot up into, erm... something that uses green tomatoes.

Chutney, anyone?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Pasta sauce in a basket

My first toms are ripening!

Balconi Red, two plants in a hanging basket, along with some basil that I propogated from a supermarket pot back in March.

Two of the larger fruits on the Harbinger toms in the ground are turning too - not too many days between me and my own home grown tomatoes!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Oh My Gourd!

I'm growing shark fin melon (also known as fig leaved or malabar gourd) this year. I'd been advised against this, as the vines can grow up to 4m(!), but being one to pack as much in to the patch as I possibly can, I threw all caution to the wind and begged for some seeds (can't buy them in this country - nearest online place I found them was in Germany). Unfortunately, the seeds didn't germinate, but FIL came to the rescue and gave me about 5 seedlings from his garden. FIVE! I picked the two strongest ones to plant out to grow over the arch (space saving, see?), and cut down the weaker one once it looked like one would survive.

It doesn't take much looking after - the vines indeed do have a life of their own, and I swear that the tendrils wrap themselves around whatever it is I've freed from them, the minute my back is turned!

The melons themselves also grow by the hour. This is a baby melon just a couple of days after making its first appearance (28.07.09):

A week or so later(07.08.09):

And today:
I decided to cut it down today rather than let it get any bigger, because the other baby melons that were on the vine have stopped growing and are starting to shrivel up. I'm not sure if it's the same principle as courgettes whereby the plant stops producing if you leave a courgette to grow on? This size will be more than enough for myself and P anyway, although, I had wanted to save some seed but have just read this on the internet:

"The fruits are only properly ripe if they are left to run their full course on the vines until they are cut down by frost". Ack. Hope another one develops.

Oh, also trimmed and cleaned up all the garlic bulbs that I harvested last week and cut the chillies off the chilli plant. I've left a few on for decoration. I still have some in the freezer from the first de-chillifying... Hmm.. curries and chillies on the menu, ad infinitum?

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Grow your own entertainment(!)


Tomato evolving a new way of pollination?

:p :p :p

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Friday, 7 August 2009

Wee Veggie Patch 07.08.09

All my babies have grown up! *sniffle*

French beans have reached the top of their canes and more, malabar gourd is threatening to take over the garden and I keep having to snip it back (the largest gourd on it is now the size of a galia melon), the sunflowers have reached over 8ft high, the cuc plant that you see in the corner is going mental (I didn't even know cuc plants grow so large and climb up everything available to them?), and the courgettes are going great guns.

We're eating a ridiculous amount of courgettes, but hey ho, just have to get a more adventurous with recipes. Courgette and chocolate cake, anyone? :)

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Duck & pancakes

What better way to use up my first cucumber? :D

First, shred all the vegetables as thinly as you can - I've used carrots, cucumber and chives here. I think restaurants give you spring onion and cucumber? I can't remember. But anyway, I'm using what I'm using, because it's what I can get from the patch. :)

Next, take a pancake, spread a little hoi sin sauce on it, and pile on the meat and veg.
My MIL made the duck, so I only chucked it in the oven and shredded it up - didn't have to slave in a hot kitchen for hours. :p

The trick here to to wrap it like a sandwich wrap. I've seen people just roll it up, and I hate that, because all the good stuff falls out of the bottom when you're eating, which means you end up eating pancake. Then duck. Then veg.

Then, bite into this:
Yum! :)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

End of July at Wee Veggie Patch

It's the end of the second month of not having to buy in any veggies - apart from onions and potatoes, because I just do not have the space, oh, and mushrooms too...cos there ain't mush room. Lol lol lol! *ahem* (¬_____¬")

*regains composure*

So, through the round window... we see:
Cucs becoming ready...


Garlic harvested (a little too early I think, but I needed the space for something else). Most have them have split into cloves, which was a surprise, as I didn't plant them til late Feb:


A malabar gourd (shark's fin gourd/fig leaved gourd) beginning to develop. The first baby one shrivelled up and dropped off, due to lack of pollination I think. This grows really fast - the vine can grow up to 2ft per day(!) and I can almost *see* the gourd swelling every day:


An abundance of tomatoes - all still very green. I think some drastic action is required - going to cut down some of the leaves so that the sun gets to the fruits. This is just a couple of trusses on one plant. I have 8 plants, with about 4 trusses on each. P is questioning just what I'm going to do with all these tomatoes:

End of July harvest - I picked this as a wee pressie for my friend Furry Fiend in Manchester, but alas, ended up not going because of an outbreak of swine flu at work and didn't want to risk transmission. :(

Saturday, 25 July 2009

I finally have sweetpeas!

It's taken 2 packets of seeds (which actually didn't come to anything), and two pots bought in from the garden centre, but I finally have sweetpeas for cutting!

They're well worth the wait - they're so delicate and pretty, and nothing beats the scent that they give to a room. :)

I've put them in with a few leucanthemum here, also from the garden. The variety is "Highland White Dream". Pretty, huh? :)