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Monday, 27 July 2009

Finally Getting Back in the Swing of Things....

I haven’t taken much pictures of what I have been up too but you will have to take my word for it. A couple months ago I blogged that I was going through a bit of a down moment which left me feeling a little lacking in motivation to do much of any thing and this included gardening. The result of this lapse in attention has been the reduced produce I have not got to harvest this month. I simply didn’t water enough or didn’t act quick enough to halt differing early pest infestations and as for successional sowing of seeds??? Which means that my beetroots and carrots are really small this year, when I harvest my last ready lettuce I have none waiting in the foreground (they all in the seed packet) and my brassicus have been decimated by whitefly.

Well late last week I finally started to feel like my old self was coming back to the foreground and started by cleaning up some of the neglected beds and happily found the kale growing new leaves now that the lady bugs have wiped out the whitefly, there was some Chinese cabbages ready to be harvested under all overgrown cabbage leaves and the beetroot is finally getting bigger.

I also got some more seeds sown kohl rabi, swede, mooli radish, fennel and some mange tout peas (yep I know its late in the season but I‘m hoping the autumn will be mild which should hopefully give me a late crop of peas). The spring onions and beetroots I sowed back mid July are making an appearance but the beetroot seedlings were mucked up a bit by birds scratching in the soil so I may throw a ‘handful’ seeds in the area and thin them once they have germinated.

The over wintered chard plants that I have left to go seed are like I said before a great attractor for beneficial insects, the area was a real mess all falling down into the foot paths and onto my celeriac crop. Well I have tidied it up using lots of canes, I don’t need the area as yet so now its been tidied I would leave well alone for the hoard of ladybugs and hoverflies visiting the area and maybe I would also get some seeds off the plants for sowing in the future.

Other jobs I got done over the last few days was watering undercover plants such as the tomatoes, sweet peppers, aubergines and plants in the greenhouse. Some weeding of the foot paths was also undertaken. The celeriac plants that were uncovered from the flowering chard and poppy plants were tidied up as well, following from advice I gleamed off of the web I removed some of the lower leaves and gave them a really good soaking as they have not really been watered by me. The area they are growing in benefits from a little shade so the soil in that area rarely dries out. But I think I will be watering them more often from now on to help them put on more size.

Some of the harvests over the weekend and the later part of last week were prepared for the pot before I realised I didn’t photographed it (see second pic), so you will just have to imagine the ones you don‘t see here. The later past of last week more runners and French beans were picked along with my first ready sweet peppers and spring onions. Over the weekend more courgettes, two Chinese cabbages, my only two kohl rabis to grow from spring sowings, spring onions, and other herbs were also harvested.

Today I’m afraid its teeming down with rain so I’ll have to delay my lettuce and carrot seed sowing till tomorrow afternoon after I return from taking the girls out. In the mean time enjoy the photos taken since my last posting.

Crop Progress
The first chillies to start ripening.
The male (see above pic) and female cucumber flowers of this variety 'Burpless' are really big and blousy, the varieties I have grown in the pass are normally much smaller and nondescript.
The Invertebrates

24 spot ladybird 'Subcoccinella 24-punctata'

Cream spot ladybug 'Calvia 14-guttata'

There are three variations of the 10-spotted ladybird here are two of the guises they present themselves.

2-spots getting it on.

A pollen beetle an important pollinator.

Female Migrant Southern Dragonfly 'Aeshna mixta'

Female Parastic Wasp 'Gasteruption jaculator (L.)'

Lygus cf. pratensis. Family- Miridae

Field grasshopper 'Chorthippus brunneus'

Male Speckled Bush Cricket 'Leptophyes punctatissima' in his mating colours.

A couple posts ago it showed you what a hoverfly pupa looked like this is the larva which is a voracious aphid feeder.

Lacewing 'Chrysoperla carnea agg'

Well a picture speaks a thousand words, I didn't realise that pond skaters were carniverous till I saw this mass gorging on a dead wasp, blech!!

Garden Spider/ Garden Cross spider

Haven't shown much of these for a while but they are around and very busy.

There are so many butterflies and moths in the garden this year, it makes the place so much more cheery. At the moment the most dominant are the gate keepers and cabbage whites but there are still the odd early spring species to be seen like the speckled wood (see pic below).

I think this is a: Large Yellow Underwing 'Noctua pronuba'

Male Vapourer Moth 'Orgyia antiqua'

Medium Size Wildlife Seen
Friday morning when I went out to put tiles under the young squashes and pumpkins to keep them off the damp cardboard and hopefully away from the slugs, I checked a hole my husband dug for a fence pole to see if any frogs had fallen in as they sometimes do following a night of rain. Well I didn’t find any frogs but two young hedgehogs, I’m afraid its not all nice as one was dead DAMN!!! So I fished out the living put him in an enclosed place with some water and donated raw mincemeat from my neighbour. The dead one was well… thrown out and the hole was dutifully covered as it should have been (I did check it Wednesday but was out all day Thursday so I assume it died from dehydration???). Happily the little one recovered ate all the meat and drank all the water, then escaped.

Saturday must have been frog finding day as I found one in the pumpkin patch, one in the flower beds, another under some sticks in the vege patch, a medium size froglet in the boggy area around the vege pond and an injured frog in the vege pond.

Still a few fledglings around from time to time, saw this young blackbird calling it parent/s.

What’s Blooming

I found this plant growing in one of my raised beds. Its called Small Toad Flax ‘Chaenorhinum Minus’. From my research it doesn't appear to be rare in the UK except NI and less common in Scotland or up north but did find out due to modern farming methods it is starting to decline. So I'm loath to yank it out. I will most likely let it set seed but will sprinkle seed on the edge of the foot paths and in my flower beds. I haven't got a clue how it got here but one probable way is; the bed I found it in was bought top soil, that bed is also full of field poppies so maybe it came from a farmers field.
Coriander seed heads.


The buddlia I'm attempting to grow as a standard is beginning to flower.

Still have some california poppies, this sef sown one is in the raised bed with the cucumbers, onions and celeriac.

Not sure what this is but I planted them out along with other summer flowering bulbs that I got free through an internet promotion in the spring from J.Parkers.

I sowed these rudebeckia seeds in the early spring but by the time i got round to planting them out they were terribly root bound in theie individual cells in the seed trays but they have begau to fower at about a foot in hieght. I hope they survive the winter and are able to put on a spectacular show next year.
The sage in the herb patch has been flowering for months now, just thought I would share.


  1. I'm glad you've got your motivation back, and your harvest doesn't sound bad at all.
    Poor little hedgehog, still, at least you managed to save one.

  2. Oh its good to feel motivated again, today after a lovely morning out with the girls I found myself putting another 4 hours into the garden much to the demise of my bladder and stomach LOL, so I know I'm back :)

    Yes I feel really bad about the dead hedgehog, when the holes were dug that was the only one not to be covered as at the time I didn't have anything safe to cover it with. But I found something asap following this tragic event and painted a big red X on it to remind the girls not to step on it, last thing I need is one of them stepping on it on their way to gorge themselves on the wild blackberries at the back and injuring themselves by putting their foot down the hole.

  3. Kella,
    I so like your blog. The way you capture nature. Wonderful.

    PS I like the look of that chilli pepper, I wish I was successful in being able to grow my own.

  4. Hi Mangocheeks,

    Thanks for checking out my blog and for your lovely comments, I've just checked out yours and your food pics looks scrummy. I'm off to do a proper nose of your blog and I'll be sure to leave a comment as well.



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