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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Just a Few Things.

Sorry for not posting before but spent the most of last week getting ready for the start of the new school year and the early part of this week getting back into the school run routine.

So not much gardening or even venturing into the garden done except to harvest. So I’ll show you all those pictures first:

Tue 01/09/09

Wed 03/09/09

Sun 06/09/09

As you can see in the picture I also harvested my first lot of sweet corn. Although the tassels were brown and the actual cobs were falling away from the main stem only three cobs out of the seven where properly ripe and even those might have benefited from a few more days (I‘m also please to see full cob pollination of the kernels, as I have never achieved this before). Everyone enjoyed them though and we all look forward to trying some more this weekend (this time I’ll do the press the thumb into the kernel test).

Mon 07/09/09, decided to remove all the dry pods of the dwarf bean ‘Ying Yang’, although they have kept relatively dry under the outdoor tomato shelter I didn’t want to temp fate. All the plants though seem to have gone into over drive with the starting of a few new flowers and growth of new beans in evidence.

In the dry beans picture you can see to your right a very speckled bean pod that belongs to the borlotto plants and this lone one was dry and rattled. Though the plants were slow to produce flowers, it is sure making up for it now.

Today Tue 08/09/09, there is a monster runner bean that obviously got missed at the last picking (its as long as my four year old arm and she’s big for her age) and my largest beefsteak tomato this year is this ‘Vintage Wine’. I grew this variety last year and enjoyed it a lot so grew it again this year and though this year the plants where not as robust in growth, taste wise they beat another I was trying this year ‘Costoluto Florentin I I ’ which was more prolific but I grow for taste.

Ok so as of Wednesday of last week the tomatoes have hit a three bowls (this picture was taken today) on the window sill proportions, not that I’m complaining but must admit to be feeling slightly panicky. I do plan to use the cooking tomatoes for making chunky sauces which I will bottle as I don’t have the freezer space. So far no one is complaining but we are seriously eating a lot of tomatoes both cooked and raw. They do need harvesting about every other day but over the last week I have tried to stretch this out a bit more.

Here are a few pictures of different crop progresses:

As if the out door tomatoes aren’t bad enough but the first ripe greenhouse tomato ('Broad Ripple Yellow Current') grown from cuttings taken in June month was found on the 02/09/09 which after taking its photo I ate it.

The melon from the plant grown from seeds saved from a supermarket purchase has begun to ripen. It is a little bigger than a cricket ball.

The sunflowers are still giving new blooms almost on a daily basis but the local squirrels since their tasting a couple of weekends back have decided to maul a few of my unripe heads, I have taken to dusting them with cayenne pepper which helps but I fear I may loose this battle, all I can say is they better stay away from my sweet corn or there’ll be hell to pay.

I found this amaranth plant growing in the crack of a pavement on the route to my daughters brownie meeting place. I took these samples and emailed
Real Seeds company for help in identifying it; here is my email to them;

“Hello I was hoping you could help me with either id-ing this amaranth or point me in the right direction of where I could get help id-ing it.
I'm in Kent and while walking home three days ago I found this amaranth growing on the side of the road out of a crack in the pavement. It was approx 2ft high, compact conical shape and very healthy the entire plant was green including the flowers as you can see in the attached pic. There was many flower heads but I took the apex on off the plant as I didn't have my camera on me at the time, the leaves were small with the biggest no bigger than 3", with the largest being near the bottom.
When I got it home though I thought the flower was not ripe I attempted to see if there were any ripen seeds and there was as you can see in the pictures attached. It was very easy to dust the seeds out.
They are very tiny, black and shiny, I was hoping they were edible or that the leaves are edible, but I must say there was such a lot of flower heads it did not come across as a leafy variety.
I am used to a wild variety that grows in the West Indies which also grows approx the same height and has red stems and is quick to bolt the very young 6" plants are what is normally picked but the cultivated leafy variety is green stemmed and green flowers an slower to bolt but I don't recall the colour of the seeds.
Thanks in advance for your assistance,”

and this is what they said…

“Sorry, can't give a definite ID - it looks like one of the weedy amaranths (collectively often known as pigweed - though other things also go under this name).

Black seeded amaranths don't have edible seeds - only the white seeds are good to eat. As far as I'm aware leaves of all varieties are fine to eat, but of course the small leaved varieties aren't really practical to eat in any quantity.

Hope that is of some help, best wishes Kate”

I plan to grow some for the hell of it next year, probably as an edging plant in the flower beds.

I have enjoyed cooking up a couple more mangocheek’s recipes she has posted in her blog
Potato, rosemary and tomato bakeand Green Bean Salan I added patty pan squash to the beans to bulk it up as we had an unexpected but always welcome visit from my mum’s sis and her husband on Sunday.

Must close with a mention of the weather, the last week of the school holiday was not only somewhat gloomy but even a little chilly at times but of yesterday the weather has been really glorious. More cloudy weather was forecasted but we have woken to practically cloudless skies and pretty hot temperature. The wind in the shade is also very warming to the skin and you’ll get no complaints from me. Had to get the watering cans out again though.


  1. great pics Kella...and pickings too. I am very envious of your corn and melon...I am hoping to grow both of these next year...any tips for the melons??? Did you use the runner-bean?? I had a few missed like this but ditched them as I like young tender beans!!

  2. Hi Tanya, there are four main crops I wanted to succeed with this year after three years of failures all round; sweet corn, melons, ochro and aubergine.

    Sweet corn: sown direct 35 seeds over approx two weeks in a 5' x 6' bed = +ve results, yeah!

    Melons: four planted, two survived, with one plant appearing at least to be able to produce two ripe ones = a partial success.

    Ochro: 8 planted, one survived didn’t grow much taller than 2', producing two very small fruit = poor results :(

    Aubergines: 6 planted all survived, lots of flowers, no fruits = failed :'(

    My only advice re the melons would be to ensure lots of lovely heat and rich soil, oh and maybe go for an early variety (I just used what I had, may try to seek out a better early variety to try next year).

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