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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

What I have Been Up To............

So what have been up to, that has kept me from posting. Well with last week being the last week of the school year there were loads of activities to attend school wise but in amongst it all I got to do some gardening mainly maintenance stuff, such as tying in tomato plants to their supports and removing their side shoots. Watering what ever needed watering was also a must although we did get the odd heavy night shower from time to time. With my first free from children extra activities weekend of the year I was in my gardening glee and got to spend countless uninterrupted hours in my garden, which I will get into further down this posting.

First I’ll share some pictures from last week, mainly some of the crops progresses.
Ying Yang Beans I'm growing to harvest the dry beans in autumn.

Yellow Hungarian sweet peppers and Festival sweet peppers.

My late sown in situ cucumbers are starting to fruit right on schedule.

Runner beans.

Purple podded french beans.

A borlotto bean.

Tomato 'Galina' ripening.

The recently sowed French beans have started to germinate and there are signs of beetroot seedlings popping up as well but I forgot to take a picture.

Back to what I have been up to….

Over the gardening full weekend I started clearing some of the vege beds of spent plants such as the self sown opium poppies. I decided to harvest the seeds for the kitchen and out of the open pods I filled one jam jar and an empty herb bottle, (I’ll be putting the weights in my My Supermarket Savings post when next its updated). The pods will be kept for inexpensive Christmas decorations and when the unopened pods do open I’ll save those seeds for swapping and seed sowing.

I stopped short of completing this job as when I went to remove a lot of the over wintered plants I left to go to seed I found them to be filled with a host of beneficial insects, such as native seven spot ladybirds and other native ladybirds, all manner of differing hoverflies, other types of flying insects like bees and butterflies, spiders and there were many other beetles and bugs I wasn’t able to identify and I was loath to destroy their food source. So that job was left unfinished.

A big job that had been left undone for too long was the emptying of the compost bin of usable compost and the turning of the cooking stuff into the empty side. So after sifting the usable stuff of all the woody non rotted bits along with bits of bindweed root (I thought there was only a standard bucketful left but it turned out to be much more). It took longer than expected to sift the good stuff because the wind was really blowing and at one point the heavy lid blew shut onto the side of my face OUCH!!! Thankfully I did not get cut but I did retreated inside to ice the area and have a bite to eat. The bin was soon emptied and the cooking material was turned into the empty side. My husband offered to mow the lawn while I was doing this and so the grass clippings were added in layers to the turned green waste.

Over the weekend I got the opportunity to harvest some of the pictured produce I shared earlier. It was the first harvest of the runner beans, French beans, tomatoes (Galina, the larger of the two and Broad Ripple Yellow Current) and carrots. It was the last harvest of the mange tout peas of which I had left on the plants to long so I depodded the very mature pods and refrigerated the more tender lot.

We have had fewer fledglings visiting the garden but recently there has been a group of five or six great tit fledglings visiting the garden. I was able to get really close to them and was able to take some fabulous photos of them. I won’t clog up the posting with all of the photos but I will share one of the really good ones and a video of some of them, if you listen you can also hear them chattering away.

There has not been much sightings of the foxes of late but the calling cards still litter the garden most mornings, eww!! They love hiding in the tall grass and bramble patch growing at the bottom of next door’s garden, here is a picture of one of their entrances.

There has all of a sudden been an explosion of native ladybug species to the garden, it went from no seven spots to numerous amounts mainly in the pumpkin and squash patch and also on the plants that have gone to seed such as over wintered chard and the whitefly infested brassicus plants. There has also been the arrival of other native ladybug species.

1. 7 Spot, 2. 14 spot ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata), 3. 22 spot ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata)

Here are pictures of some other mini beast I have photographed in the garden since my last posting.
If you didn't know, this is the pupa case of a hoverfly, from this stage it hatches into an adult hoverfly. They come in many different colours and I assume its according to the type of hoverfly but always the same shape. I'll try to photograph a picture of the larva stage, when I do I'll post it the blog.

Poplar Hawkmoth caterpillar.

A Gatekeeper with its wings open, for once!!!

The fennel flowers have been a buzz with a multitude of wasps.

Bumblebees gathering pollen in a squash flower.

Still the odd painted lady about this one was brand new looking, so it must be a new hatchling.

'Coreus marginatus' an adult Dock Bug.

Cardinal Beetle 'Pyrochroa serraticornis'.

My courgettes have given up two more jewels today and one of the plants are showing signs of powdery mildew which has started to really take hold with the recent wet nights we have been getting so yesterday I got myself some powdered milk to keep in the greenhouse. I mixed up a batch and diluted down 1:10 solution then after removing the worst infected leaves I watered it onto the plant and the surrounding soil. The picture I have shared will be the before picture I hope in a few days I would be able to see an improvement.

Last but not least here are some pictures of the flowers that have started to bloom in the garden over the last week or so.

Some late sown sweet peas.

More red poppies.

This African marigold is a common site in my native Trinidad but I didn't sow them at least not intentially. I noticed a week or so back that my salsify plants (i've never grown these before) appeared to be going to seed which was a pity (as I had planned to harvest their roots this winter and just assumed the recent dry weather we experienced had stressed the plants into flowering almost nine monts early). So imagine my surprise when I found these flowers. Ah well since the area was deeply dug I'll sow my scorzenera to over winter for an early harvest next spring.

A repeat flowering of the geranium since it was cut back late spring after the first flush of flowers.

One of the tall sunflowers I planted next to the old apple tree is in flower, it's growth is quite stunted most likely due to too little water. But it is still very pretty.

The water mint is blooming.
I've been showing you all all the different stages of the carrot flower this is the stage showing the unripened seeds.

My maincrop spuds have began to flower.

Both sweet basil varities (green and red ruffle) I have grown on the edges of the tomato bed are starting to run to seed, the red is so pretty, thought I would share.

Another flower opened today on the late sown sweetpeas, obviously a mixed flowering variety.


  1. Well, there's certainly lots going on in your garden, Kella. I love the video of the great tits. They're just like children playing at the seaside.

  2. Wow Kella - there's an absolute hive of activity going on in your garden! SO interesting to see all of the different types of vegetables you're growing - some intersting types in there. Good luck - look forward to more photos!



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