Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Friday, 26 July 2013

Am I boring you yet?

It occurred to me the other day that maybe as this is now nearly the end of the second season in my garden, that people may be fed up with another picture of a cabbage!! 

But then, it also occurred to me that I am still growing things that I haven't grown before and so long as I only stick to them, it shouldn't be to tedious for the reader. Its not as if I am some sort of genius, who knows what they are doing and can offer advice. Although I did find myself doing exactly that on a gardening forum the other day . That made a very nice change, rather than begging for help to overcome another disaster. So now I have got that off my chest here are this weeks new arrivals. 

These are the beans I bought in Florida. The packet showed three different colours but it was impossible to tell from the seeds if that was the case. Well it was. Green Yellow and Purple. 

One slight oddity. I don't know what makes the purple ones that colour, but when I popped them in a stir fry, within about 2 minutes they had gone back to being green. What a swizz !! I shall try steaming them next and see if the same thing happens again. 

Another of my Florida purchases was the Spaghetti Squash. These are growing very well and there are now three that are a good size. I am going to leave them a bit longer before I cut them. 

The Mange Tout that I inadvertently tried to kill with too much feed, are looking very odd. The lower leaves are nearly all now yellow, but at the top it is growing again and new peas are forming. 

And then the Chilli. Its that one, that I shall not name in full, just in case I have another thousand teenage boys viewing this page. Peter!! He is covered in fruits, but to be honest I am a bit disappointed. I am no expert but they just don't look like the body part they were advertised as. I have to hope that as they get bigger, they change shape a bit!!! 

So thats it for veg, now the flowers. 

There have been a few new arrivals in the cut flower patch this week and one is stunning. Its full name is Malope Trifida Vulcan.

It is about the size of a saucer.. Beautiful 

Next to appear were the Godetia. These were my favourites until Malope arrived. Hope they don't realise they have lost the top spot on my flower list. 

and then this unusual plant. Another case of not reading the packet. Two issues with this plant. Firstly I didnt realise it would be covered all over in rose like thorns. I manage to scratch myself on them all the time. This is because of the second problem. I didnt realise they would grow quite so tall and therefore have planted them in completely the wrong place. They must be about 3 feet high and they are all in the front of the beds.

Its called a Cleome Spinosa Violet Queen another beauty I (If you ignore the thorns) 

Out and about this week I went on a visit to a local lady Pollie Maasz who I found on Twitter. She grows Day Lilies. Now I assumed these were the same as the ones you get at the supermarket or buy as bulbs from the garden centre. How wrong was I. She patiently explained that they actually grow from seed. They take few years to get to a decent size, and when they flower, it is literally for 1 day. But I think when you see the pictures below. It is really worth the effort. And of course you can always buy a well established plant to start with. 

If you are interested in knowing more have a look at her website Pollies Day Lilies here

This beautiful Dragon Fly paid us a visit

Gibson is up to all his usual tricks. He is determined, one day, to pick up his two favourite balls at the same time. Personally I don't think its ever going to happen. It doesn't stop him trying though. 

Have a great weekend .

Saturday, 20 July 2013

That's Shallot!

Its still glorious and I made a pledge that I wouldnt complain about the heat. After all the bad weather in the last 12 months it has made a very pleasant change. I have stuck to my pledge and have so far uttered, not a word about how hot it is. It has meant though, that I have been using lots of water on the garden and today, I discovered my water butts were empty. This meant I had to drag the hose all the way up the garden and refill all three butts. It took ages. 

Ice cream is of course the best antidote to sunny weather, so lots was required. In order to do this Jim, got an Ice cream maker attachment for my Kenwood for his birthday         (long story) . The large pile of strawberries I showed you in my last blog were destined to be it's first trial run. 

As you can see it worked very well, it took quite a long time, but the flavour was amazing. So picked in the morning and Ice cream by the evening. 

As usual in a garden everything is ready at the same time so I am trying to think of inventive things to do with all my produce. This was the first of the courgettes, and it was destined to become a quiche.. 

The squash is growing out of control, in fact one of the pumpkins has decided it would rather be growing in the leek bed. 

I have to walk the long way round now as I cant step over it anymore . 

The leeks have been sharing space with shallots since the spring. I also planted some Nasturtiums to keep the bugs away and it seems to be working. 

They are covered but the veg isn't.

The bed was very messy and needed some attention. It had all sorts of things growing in it including a couple of Foxgloves, goodness knows where they came from !

10 minutes and order was restored. 

The Shallots looked ready to come out, so they did..

They are much better than last year Still not huge but at least they are not rotten this time. They are now laid out to dry.

The heat has been a bit much for the cucumbers in the greenhouse. Lots of them have shrivelled and gone brown 

But the tomatoes and aubergine seem to love the heat. This time last year, we were eating the tomatoes, but they still seem a long way off at the moment.

The cut flowers are an absolute triumph . I know I keep going on about them but I cant help it. I just love them 

I got this beautiful old jug in a charity shop for £1 and it is perfect for the sweet peas. 

And now Gibson, you haven't seen much of him lately. he is happily getting on with his busy life of basically eating and sleeping. This week though he has been busy posing for the camera again. 

Earlier in the week it was to wish a twitter flower loving acquaintance Happy Birthday

As soon as I took the picture he ate the flower. Then yesterday a purchase we have been waiting a while for, arrived. He will be travelling in the back of the TR6 with the top down and we wanted to make sure his eyes were protected, so we bought him some doggie goggles. I think you will agree he looks pretty cool !!

Have a great week 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Always follow the instructions!

I say that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I worked in a couple of places where you were deemed a wimp if you tried to read an instruction book before using a new gadget. I therefore have over the years developed a bit of an aversion to any form of written instruction , that also includes recipes. 

Just lately though that aversion has come back to bite me. Since having the hens I have been baking lots and lots.. I have learned that you must follow cake recipes otherwise you end up with a gloopy or flat mess in a tin. 

And now I must start reading the seed packets before I plant things out. This week it has become glaringly obvious I had done something wrong.. 

First my peas. If you remember some months ago I unveiled the Great Wall of Barton. It was built specially to support this years pea crop. 

It still stands forlornly waiting to become a wall of green. I didnt read the packet!!! the peas I planted were dwarf ones, they dont grow more than 50 cm high. I won't make that mistake again.

Then the cut flower patch. 

To say that its overcrowded is an understatement

I should have read how many plants you could put in a bed this size. I think I seriously overdid it here. But I still cant bear to pull any out. I am sure they will all find a bit of space and I am cutting them as soon as they flower. 

The sweet peas have gone mad. I think every time I cut one, three more appear

Then the poor Mange Tout. These have been growing beautifully and taste great. But I thought they needed a feed, so I took a big scoop of feed and plonked it in the watering can. Of course I didnt read the instructions. I happily watered the plant. 

Two days later it looked like this

Yellow droopy leaves. Once again back to the packet, and sure enough I had used far too much feed and had practically killed the poor plants. I am hoping it they will recover and give me some more lovely pods. 

And the final failure - Asparagus peas. I have been watching these interesting plants grow wonderful pods and so today as they were a reasonable size, I decided to try some.  I picked some nice plump pods

I gave them a wash and a quick steam and then tried one. It was like eating a bit of old carpet!! That cant be right, so I went and read the packet. Of course, I had failed to note that you should eat the small pods up to 2cm long. The pack clearly stated that the larger ones become fibrous. So  I have pulled off all the big ones and will now wait for the smaller ones to appear. 

I have though had one success where I did my research properly. The trailing courgettes. 

I bought them because apparently they grew like a climbing plant. And they do!! amazing no rotting courgettes laying on the ground but suspended in the air. 

I am looking forward to eating the first one, but at the moment I am very pleased with them and because they grow up, they are are a real space saver. 

The Duke of Yorks were finally ready. The greenery has died back so I had another dig today. 

Success. These were from 1 plant. Last year I had to dig up 3 plants to get this many and they were not as big as these..

Just a quick roundup of what else is growing well. The chilli are now so big, I have to take them all out of the greenhouse every morning, otherwise I cant get in. 

I have loads of cucumbers

And green tomatoes. I just need them to go red.

All of my bean plants are covered in flowers

The lettuce are almost ready

After the potato success, I carried on picking for dinner

And I topped it off with a few vases worth of cut flowers

As well as the pictures today, I also did a video walk round, with commentary. I have loaded it on my youtube channel and you can view it by clicking here 

Have a wonderful sunny week