Tag Archives: Broccoli

Garden August update and harvest #gardening

First up I have to say how much we are enjoying the butterhead lettuce. I planted in a small space and we are eating the inbetweeners as we fancy. I expect only two will reach maturity, but that’s fine with me, better than wasting:
These are the garden bargain of the year, packet of Wilko seeds for 54p! Actually and even better is that these were a gift, so they were free 🙂
They are the tastiest lettuce I’ve ever had, shame they don’t grow overnight and that I’m not organised enough to plant weekly for a regular crop.

Next are the runner beans, the plants are full of flowers and small beans, notably top heavy with very little growing low down, but they are rather sheltered under the trees:
I’ve nipped them and they keep growing, but of note is they exploded with flowers only after I’d started nipping the growth. So I’ll remember not to train them so long next year.
There are some nearly ready to pick:
The funny thing is that I thought there were more, then I realised I took the photo after my wife had raided them:

My monstrous broccoli plants aren’t doing too well now, mostly bolted and now catapillars are munching through. I think the cat isn’t chasing the butterflies now, she’s moved onto bigger prey I guess. So only small bits rather than watching it flower:

Next up is an update on other things in the garden, the leeks are doing well:
There’s weeds growing back, I think I’ll put some grass cuttings down as a mulch, not sure what the expert advice is, but weeding leeks isn’t on my list of things I enjoy doing.
Those with a keen eye will notice how we’re getting through the potatoes just to the right of the netting. We’re now on the main crop (Desiree). The wife loved the early potatoes (Arran pilot) boiled and insists we grow more next year even though I think the yield is poor and she doesn’t like boiled potatoes, well, until mine I guess. Next year I’ll space them so I can walk down both sides of the rows as watering was hard.
Finally the Merryweather damsons are changing colour:
Really looking forward to a couple in this first year, given the normal damson fruit I’ve had in the past these look huge, more like plums. The wife hasn’t ever tried damsons so she’s going to have a treat I hope.
I’m disappointed the pixy Victoria plum tree hasn’t produced yet, but be patient Tim I keep telling myself.

Another sighting, let’s hope she eats the black aphids

From time to time the black aphids come back in thousands upon thousands. I spotted this harlequin ladybird on the runner beans, could be the same one I spotted elsewhere in the garden, who knows:

Let’s hope she eats some of them for me. Still no sightings of native ladybirds.

I spotted a few caterpillars on the broccoli, I’ve given them new homes in the weeds 🙂

Harvesting for dinner

Today I harvested a tiny amount of broccoli, some potatoes and runner beans.

Doesn’t look a lot in the photo, but on the scales 1.6kg:20120728-180834.jpg
Yes, they are more early potatoes (Arran pilot), I’ve got more of them to come I think too, but it’s hard to tell where the main crop starts as the plants are growing horizontally!

The runner beans:20120728-180858.jpg
Decided to pick three that looked ready, again they look small in the photo, but they are a good size:20120728-180905.jpg
Fortunately keeping a close eye on the plants has really helped reduce the black aphids to threat level “not bothered”, though I still check for them.

Looking forward to the eating!

Garden July update 4 – the cat solution?

As you can see from the following photo, the cat has destroyed my onion patch in the back garden:20120724-141823.jpg
I’ve previously blogged about my front garden where I planted the spare onion sets, the cat hasn’t destroyed them so I’m hoping I’ll get some onions from there instead.
So in light of the cat’s destructive powers I’ve decided I needed to protect my leeks from her and of course other animals too. Pigeons have also been shredding my broccoli too, so netting seemed a good plan. Here’s my first attempt:20120724-142020.jpg
Some of the netting I used was left in the shed when I got the house and that covered half the patch, the rest was 50p low quality fruit netting 4m x 2m from ASDA. I bought three lots thinking I’d need more, but one was enough. The canes were £1.28 for 5 from Wilkinsons, I needed two lots, and I used a metal rack I had lying around to cover the last 18 inches of gap (my place of entry to the netting on the right side, not visible in the photo).

The potato plants are spreading more horizontally than vertically now:20120724-141907.jpg
The ones closet to camera are the earlies, still 50% left to dig up, they are lasting well, but then we had a lot of potatoes given to us just before they were ready.

The broccoli, still looking ok, but I’m worried about bolting after one has (it tasted good though), there’s also been some black fly maybe on it, but just a few that I’ve shaken or washed off, also note the pigeon damage closest to the camera:20120724-142012.jpg
Worth mentioning the cat has one use, she loves butterflies, so I don’t have butterfly problems with the broccoli!

Then the leeks, the reason for all this netting:20120724-142003.jpg
I’m really happy with the leeks for the moment, I’m hoping the weeding effort and this netting will be worth it.

The Runner Bean plants climbing the fence:20120724-142029.jpg
Some of the beans I’m watching:20120724-141855.jpg

Any finally my first attempt at round lettuce have been planted in the greenhouse soil:20120724-142040.jpg
(pellets down as I’m not taking any chances with mr slug)

Finding new homes for new friends

This picture says it all….

Garden July update 3

I dug more early potatoes yesterday and there’s a mix of tiny, small and mid sized. I was fairly happy but they were taken from me before I could photo them, they tasted nice the next time I saw them though. There’s a couple of kilo left, but a photo now wouldn’t do it justice.
A couple of bits of the broccoli have bolted, I expect more will too, but I’m ready to harvest the small heads before I lose them. It also has got black aphids or flies, i keep shaking them off, but I might have to come up with one of those magic potions to kill them. No photos again sorry. Some plants have been pigeon nibbled, I’ve put up some netting and that has protected it a little, more netting is required and the time to do it too.

Anyway the reason for this blog entry is the runner bean progress, I haven’t seen any wildlife eating them thus far and I’m starting to get excited
The tip of the plant in the last photo was heavily loaded with flowers but I accidentally snapped it, I was gutted, but it has promoted growth of the beans rather than climbing, so it might not have been such a bad thing.
I’ve covered the roots with grass cuttings to try and retain moisture in the soil now we’re going to get some summer.

Not a lot of other developments other than I’ve given up on the onions in the back garden, next year I’ll plant where the cat won’t destroy them. There’s still hope for those in the front garden and I gave them a good watering can full of feed, just so they know I’m looking after them.

The onions in the back garden have been my biggest disappointment and probably one that i’ve spent the most time on. In reading online forum posts I see gardening for food isn’t always fun, keep your chin up, spread your bets and enjoy what works. There are always other things you can grow, other varieties, other ways (e.g. Grow bags when the soil has blight), etc. Never give up, you’d have to weed that patch either way!

Garden July update #gardening

While the rain took a rest I thought I’d take another garden snapshot.
First up the broccoli has started to get bigger now and finally started to grow the erm… broccoli?

Next up over the last two weeks I weeded the leeks, the furthest ones grew noticeably while the others awaited weeding
New potatoes / earlies (Arran pilot) should be ready
So I picked a plant to investigate
Alas, there were only 6 small pots, so I think I’ll leave them another couple of weeks (the bucket is a very small bucket!)
Note: I had previously earthed up the potatoes and later emptied grass cutting on them too, mainly because the composting bin was getting full but also because it is meant to keep moisture in and suppress weeds.

The runner beans are still climbing, not many leaves, but they’re flowering

The onions are still a mess, some look strong but I’m not that hopefully at the moment.
We’re getting a nice supply of raspberries and some small strawberries.
I’m currently growing salad leaves on the windowsill and the beginnings of some lettuce are in the greenhouse.

I’m enjoying this relax and rewarding hobby thus far, impatience is hard to overcome, but I’m sure next year will be easier as I’ll know what I’m doing and what to expect.

Garden update

Last night I posted a snapshot of the garden on 26th May, well a fair bit has changed since then, I mentioned some of the changes, but I thought some more recent photos would be nice, so here’s another update…

Can you spot the leek seedlings?

Here’s one, the tell-tale folded leaf on the seedling:

The potatoes have exploded, here’s a photo to compare with the last post:

I earthed them up on the weekend:

And even the spares growing in the soil pile have really come on:

The broccoli look happy now I’ve weeded them:

The cat features in the top corner of the photo, she was around my feet for most of the time, sucking up after eating my charger cable!

The runner bean race was won and the strongest looking one did indeed reach the top of the fence first:

Another Damson picture, look carefully and you’ll see a fair few damsons:

I’m looking forward to educating those who never tried a damson 🙂

The raspberry bush is looking plentiful, the children will enjoy these this year:

The strawbs are looking much better this year:

Last year I eat most of them, maybe this year others will too.

Finally, not strictly garden related, but I’m trying bean sprouts (Mung beans). A tablespoon full, warm water and a jam jar:

Placed in a box (padded with news paper so it doesn’t tip up:

Closed up to keep the light out:

This is trial and error, we’ll see how they go.

May sun takes affect

A retrospective post about how the garden looked on 26th May.

The leeks remain unchanged, still looking like blades of grass and starting to be overtaken by grass and weeds. I’m a bit fearful of weeding them, I’m sure to pull out a lot of them in the process, so I’m going to leave them alone but as a result I’m not very hopeful of a worthwhile crop either. Mental note: next year plant in seed trays and then transplant when larger, that’ll give them a head start above the weeds.

The broccoli seedlings are starting to make themselves known and showing above the weeds:

Since this photo was taken I have weeded this area and the broccoli seedlings are looking healthy, I have lost a few, but still plenty to give a good crop.

The runner beans are climbing nicely:

The jam jar on the right is my beer trap for the slugs, they just keep coming.

And the potatoes have rocketed up:

And they’ve got even bigger since, the recent rain will aid them further.

Onions aren’t developing much, so nothing to report there.

Onto fruit, not a huge development, strawbs look plentiful, raspberries not showing as fruit just yet, but the biggest development is the Damson tree, we have fruit:

Ah, in this photo you can also see where I planted a few spare seed potatoes in the soil pile, they are growing well there too.

I’m planning on growing some lettuce too, I might be taking on too much, but I’m sure I’ll cope.

Spring in the garden (again, but with pictures) #gardening #green #money

The end of the garden needed some use, so I’ve taken up gardening!

I went a bit mad this year and planted all the onion sets I bought in a 500g net, I’ve got onions everywhere! I need my neighbours to take up growing their own so we can share sets, seeds etc. Whilst we are deciding what to plant in the front, there are onions there too, at least it adds some green shoots rather than plain soil. Notably the sets in the front were untouched by the blackbirds, but there are a fair few missing out the back where they spend more of their time.

The front onions LHS:

A few plants then some more:

The front onions RHS:

(argh, weeds growing too now)

At the back:

The new apple, plum and damson trees are showing signs of blossom and small leaves, but the old bramley is still pretty bare.
The pixy plum:

The damson:

The Bramley:

The Spartan apple tree:

It is about to flower, when the fruit buds come they are to be taken off so it puts its resource into growing rather than a couple of tiny apples.

The raspberry is slowly sprouting some leaves:

We really enjoyed the bush last year (our first year here), so I’m hoping it will provide a nice crop this year.

The strawbs are flowering nicely:

They were poor last year, so fingers crossed for this year. They are in big pots, I feel like planting them in the garden, but it’s another thing I should have done already and I don’t want to disturb them at this stage.

My runners are about 10cm high, slug munched, but hanging in there:

I started them off in the door-less green house, some weren’t ready, so they are waiting to be transplanted:

(a lot of slug pellets surround them now, at least 20 dead slugs I’d seen within 24 hours!)

Broccoli and also leek seeds sown, eagerly waiting to see some growth there (see top image between the new trees, broccoli on left and leeks in centre, right will hopefully be potatoes).

I’ve been meaning to plant my potatoes for some weeks now, they’ve sprouted (chitted) a little, but as they have been in a cool place they haven’t done that well. I keep putting them off as there’s a fair amount more digging to be done, but this weekend maybe…

I’m amazed how into this growing my own I’ve become, maybe my love of food and hate of spending money combines into a good (second) hobby for me. I do hope it’s worth it, we should save a fortune and really make the most of what I hope the garden will provide us.