Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The First Strawberries of the Season . Fresh Peas and a Tiny Tomato

I know some of you are already eating home-grown strawberries but mine grown in the greenhouse are only just ripening.  When I open up the greenhouse first thing in the morning the smell of strawberries is really strong and they taste wonderful.  I had a few shop bought ones last week that were sour.  It just goes to prove that supermarkets grow for appearance rather than taste - how can a strawberry be sour! 
The bottom two pictures are those growing in hanging baskets outside - they still have a way to go.  I do have an unruly strawberry patch at the plot where  I allow the plants to do their own thing - I don't cut the runners off and just let them roam where they will - as you can imagine they patch is quite large now and I will have to have a bit of a sort out once they have fruited.

Some of the peas are now ready for picking.  These are growing in a trough  - the ones in the ground are catching up fast though - I just hope they don't come to fruition whilst we are away on holiday next week.

Hurrah - I have my first tiny tomato on the Sungold plant outside in a container.  This plant was a survivor from the February sowing - the rest got hit by frost.

These are the second batch of french beans ready to be planted out - alas, a greenhouse snail has already been having a go at them, one has been completely sliced off.  Grrr.

There are a few flowers forming on the container squash - it doesn't look like they are fruit-bearing though - still plenty of time for that, she says hopefully.

The Cavolo Nero are ready to plant out but I haven't got any room left - so I have potted them on till I can find somewhere to put them - probably when something has been harvested.

And finally my pear tree has managed to hang on to seven pears.  This may not sound much to you but it is the first time in all the years I have had this tree that pears have been formed and stayed put.  Let's hope no disasters befall them.

I won't be posting next week as I shall be sunning myself on the Norfolk Riviera - ha ha - that'll be a first!

Hope you have a good week
and may all your harvests be plentiful.

Check out what I've been up to at my other blog
Ramblings from Rosebank

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

winners and losers in the cool weather stakes

Where I live in the East Midlands the weather is definitely on the cool side.  The odd afternoon has been sunny but still with a chill wind - certain plants are thriving but others are suffering from lack of warmth.

The raised beds and container garden
 As you can see from this picture, everything appears to be doing well, but all is not as it seems.  Certain veg plants have hardly made any growth since they were planted - others are romping away.  And it is all down to the unspringlike weather we have been experiencing in our corner of the country.

I have only one tomato plant with flowers on so far, this one is outside.  But the greenhouse plants are way behind, barely reaching a foot in height.
Cucumber . Tomato. Tomatillo . Cucamelon
The ones I put out at the plot haven't grown at all.  As you can see - the Cucumbers are making slow progress, the Tomatillo plants look healthy enough - but the Cucamelon looks very sad.  I don't really know what they are meant to look like as I haven't grown them before, but they have been planted out for weeks and are still pathetic little plants.

Raddichio and Red Cos (Pandero)
On the other hand all the salad leaves and lettuce are thriving in the cooler weather - as are the potatoes.
container potatoes and courgette (Cocozelle)
But the courgettes and squashes need a bit more warmth and are hardly making any progress at all.
In this bed I have beetroot, chard and cauliflowers  which aren't growing very fast, but the containers with parsnips, carrots and beetroot seem to be doing okay.

container parsnips
container carrots (a couple of lettuce
seem to have got in there) - possibly
seed in my home-made compost
container beetroot
And despite everything, the runner beans in the container are gradually starting to climb
container runner beans
So I'm not sure really who the winners and losers are in this cool weather competition.  Progress is definitely slow for some plants, but maybe I am just being impatient and have forgotten what has happened in other years.  I just wish the weather would settle down.  On the news this morning farmers were saying that their yields are down again this year, so I know it's not just me - in fact knowing that prices will inevitably go up again - it is even more essential that we try and grow as much of our own food as we can.  Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Gardening on a Budget - Guest Post at Lovely Greens

Tanya from Lovely Greens invited me to write a guest post on some aspect of DIY/Homesteading as part of a series of posts she has planned over the next few weeks.  I decided on Gardening on a Budget or, as I like to think of it -  Credit Crunch Gardening, as my topic. 

As you can see from my salad garden - due to lack of space, I grow everything in containers that I have collected - it is astonishing just how much you can squeeze in to washing up bowls, crates and supermarket cartons - this really is growing your own food on a small scale with whatever comes to hand.

 If you want to read more about this subject then head on over to Tanya's blog to read my post and return here if you wish to leave a comment.

For those of you that don't already follow Tanya's blog and are interested in living a self-sufficient and simple life, then you will find her posts on everything to do with veg growing, keeping hens and bees and making her wonderful bath products, very interesting and informative. 

She is a great ambassador for the beautiful Isle of Man, UK, where she lives - and is very much part of island life.
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