Saturday 15th -
Every morning I open the greenhouse and begin my inspection of its fauna inhabitants. This involves the searching out of open female flowers on my two melon plants and hand pollinating them. Which as you can see in the picture has proved successful. To keep track of the ones I have done I have taken to loosely tying their stems with a thin piece of yarn. Currently I have these three on one plant (which was grown from saved seed from a supermarket bought fruit) and two the other plant which is a variety called ‘Ogen’.
I generally spent the Saturday doing odd jobs here and there in the vege patch such as tying in the tomatoes, watering lots and removing rotten fruit off the old apple trees we have in the lawn area.
Haven’t seen a song thrush in over a month, its that time of the year when they start to return to the garden, lets you know that autumn is on its way.
I have been showing you the different stages of the carrot flower and this is the end stage with the seeds ripe and dry ready for gathering (I love photographing them. They are so striking at every stage, they make great arty farty shots). Since the ones I sowed almost three weeks ago have come up I picked some and sowed them to see if they’ll germinate quicker as they are so fresh (well you can’t get fresher seed than this, can you?).
Sunday 16th -
Today I worked on potting up some of the pot grown herbs and other plants that are currently housed in the greenhouse. The sweet potatoes that got started way too late and that I am going to attempt to over winter in the conservatory this winter also needed potting up. The second one was found to have at least two developing tubers, so I resigned myself to pot up into a much larger pot than I really wanted to (I also gave it a small wigwam to climb), hope fully this will give the tubers time to develop.
My tomato plant inspections have revealed blight, I’m sorry in my efficiency to remove the offending leaf and any other suspect foliage I forgot to take a picture. I’ll quickly tell you how I control the disease when it surfaces.
- First and foremost I try to prevent or at least reduce the risk by growing my outdoor tomatoes under an open sided cover which allows for good air circulation but reduces the amount of rain falling on the plants. I also grow my plants as cordons which also help to stop them from getting over crowded, again helping the air flow between the plants.
- I only nip out side shoots and remove any low lying, dense crossing over and suspect leaves on dry days preferably bright sunny days (preferably well before sundown), which I hope allows any wounds to dry quickly
- When the blight is confirmed I remove all the infected foliage and any surrounding leaves that may have been touching the infected foliage. Any suspect leaves are also removed forth with.
- My secateurs are cleaned between each cut with menthylated spirits/ surgical spirits and I also immediately spray the cut wound with the spirits as well (I think this dries out the plant cells at the cut wound entrance rendering them inhospitable to the blight spores. I did this last year too during the very wet summer and have yet to see any blight develop at any of my cut areas).
- I generally garden with latex gloves and so I also spray my gloved hands every so often when I’m doing blight pruning to prevent me spreading the spores on to uninfected leaves.
- Lastly because I don’t maintain a hot compost heap, I discard my blighted foliage and / fruits either through burning or in my household waste.
Another job I got started was the preliminary tiding up of the flower beds. Like I have said before this really only entails the removal of certain seed heads to keep a control of self seeding perennials and I also worked on straightening and staking plants that were flopping into the footpaths (the main tidy is done mid spring when the hibernating minibeasts starting to wake and the perennials are beginning to emerge). Though it’s not yet autumn in my tidying I did disturb at least 15+ lady bugs from some of the undergrowths. So I deposited them into one of the bug houses I built last year which are dotted around the flower and vege gardens. So hopefully they still over winter in the garden.
The latest sunflower to greet me in the morning.
This field grasshopper was creating a lot of noise with its leg rubbing antics. I tried to catch it on video but it got shy as soon as I pressed the record button, so a picture will have to do.
The day’s harvest.
Tuesday 18th -
We went into the town to run errands and the kids got to stop off at the museum for story and arts and craft, which is always a winner.
Now for a mini rant! Why don’t sports stores sell sports equipment? I ran around like a headless chicken trying to find some swim shoes for my girls between the museum trip and a Dr’s appointment. One of the stores shop assistance said the reason its hard to get want you think you should be able to get at sports stores now a days is because the stores are concentrating more on sports fashion than on sports, humph go figure. Anyway while sitting in the Dr’s waiting room I remembered the last place I got swim shoes for my eldest was at the leisure centre. So after the Dr’s a quick trip to the centre unearthed a pair for my little one but non for my big girl. The cashier said a good place to get them all year round would be at the coast, great that's where I’m heading tomorrow I tell her I’ll get the other pair there.
Since we were now spitting distance from the cherry plum trees I foraged from last week, we went to check and see if the yellow ones were ripe yet. Well some were so we picked a small amount of 2lbs and brought them home to ripen a little more before I make some jam with them. I also picked a 2lb bag of red ones for my neighbour.
When we got home a quick check of the vege garden revealed this cute little froglet, they are starting to spread out from the relative safety of the pond’s boggy area.
Wednesday 19th -
Another scorcher 30° C, a day made for the beach. Met up with a friend and her three girls + one niece and headed to Stone Bay in Broadstairs, this is the best beach I have found thus far in Kent. It has sand, extensive rock pools and it never gets too crowded and I apologise, I completely forgot to take pictures of the rock pools inhabitants that my youngest and I discovered, there were crabs, shrimps, fish snails, limpets, sea urchins and barnacles.
The air temperature wasn’t marred by cool winds and my girls braved the British seas and went into the water much to my surprise. The day was lovely and on the way home I did get a swim shoe to fit my eldest but of course she had to cut her foot on a sharp rock in the water 15 minutes before we left.
Thursday 20th -
Knackered from the day before events not much was done today outside of a little light laundry and opening of the greenhouse
There are more developments with the greenhouse melons. The three I showed you earlier in the post have become one not surprising as all three were on the same side shoot so I knew the plant would cull what it could not maintain. These melons are easily becoming another growing obsession.
The only other thing I did was harvest some veges.
Friday 21st -
Laundry day, besides the laundry I just did a little crop maintenance and lots of watering. Later in the afternoon there was some rain heavy but not for long enough to make a difference.
I have started to harvest the seed from the previously cut seed heads of the amaranth plant. I’ll show you a picture when that job is done.
I did create a lovely light dinner which was liked by all: Courgette and Red Pepper Pizza.
Slice the courgette/s and red peppers very thinly and season with ground black pepper, fresh thyme, lots of crushed garlic and whole cloves (to your taste), olive oil to coat and sea salt to taste.
Bake covered in a baking tray on medium heat till almost cooked. In the mean time prepare the dough for the pizza and place onto your banking sheet.
On the dough spread some chilli paprika chunky paste (I get mine from my mum’s friend whenever she returns from her home country Hungary). A homemade version might be made with some roasted red sweet peppers, olive oil, sea salt, and chilli all blended together (I can‘t read the Hungarian words so can‘t say what other ingredients are in it). I prepared two of these with the second one coated with a non chilli version of the Hungarian paprika paste, in case the chilli one was to hot for the kids.
Next layer the cooked courgette and sweet peppers onto the prepared pizza base, dot a few choice pieces of gourmet type cheese (a goat’s cheese should work nice) over the surface (I used vegan cheese).
I baked the pizza at 120° C for about 20 minute to ensure the dough (mine was a thin crust) cooked through then I fan grilled it on high for a five minutes to crisp up the surface and melt the cheese.
I served it with julienne runner beans which were stir fried in olive oil with garlic, black pepper, roma tomatoes and salt to taste.
Saturday 22nd -
Today I did some more blight control maintenance on the outside tomatoes, things are still looking good. My neighbour on the other hand has had to get rid of two of his outdoor plants, confirming once again you can control the situation if the plants are covered against the rain.
Other small jobs were done, light weeding, watering, nothing major to report.
At the end of the day we saw this in the sky, my youngest loves when they fire up, which I captured in this shot.
And just to end the moth populace is really high here are few I photographed this pass week.