Veg Patch

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

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The great pumpkin debacle !

Those of you that read my blog regularly will know that over the course of the summer I inadvertently planted pumpkins in a rather unsual position. I wont retell the whole story here as it is fully recorded on a couple of other blogs. Mind yer ead  and Squashed probably being the best . 

A quick recap though, basically I bought trailing courgette plants, I built a tower and planted them, the fruits looked rather large and upon close inspection I realised they weren't courgettes. At first I thought they were Vegetable Spaghetti, but later realised they were Pumpkins. Unfortunately they were growing 5 feet in the air at this point. I then spent the rest of the summer trying to prevent them dropping off or blowing over. 

Right so now you are caught up, yesterday I noticed that the whole plant had died and the only thing keeping the pumpkins in place was the net.

It didnt take long to clear back the dead foliage 

And finally cut down the three beautifully coloured and unmarked pumpkins. 

I dont think I have mentioned previously, but I planted three plants around the frame, Only one of them was a pumpkin, the other two were actually courgettes, they grew beautifully but I left them on the ground because I didnt want them to get damaged by falling pumpkins. Now the beasts were down, I decided to let one of the courgettes, that is still producing, to have a go at climbing up the frame. 

And then as the main squash bed was looking awful, I decided that it was time to clear that as well. 

I had planted vegetable spaghetti, more pumpkins and butternut squash plants in here at the beginning of summer, the plants had been beautiful, but now were just a dusty looking mess with the odd fruit laying on the soil, or path.

Gibson watched on as the pile started to grow. 

and this was the final harvest. 1 Pumpkin, 3 butternut squash and 6 vegetable spaghetti

I gave them a good clean off, and moved them to the greenhouse. It was at this point that I realised that maybe I hadn't been such an idiot as I thought, and that I appear to have inadvertently carried out a pumpkin growing experiment. 

This picture is my proof. 

On the left the smallest of the trellis grown pumpkins, beautifully ripe and golden from hanging in full sun, with no blemishes or damage to the skin. On the right, the traditionally grown pumpkin, with uneven colour and loads of blemishes and marks where it has spent the summer coming under attack from all sorts of creatures. The two traditional plants produced only 1 pumpkin between them, but the 1 trellis grown plant produced 3.. So bizarrely, it would appear that growing pumpkins on a trellis produces the best results. In fact I am so please I am considering doing it again next year on  a more substantial, but not as high frame. Watch this space. 

Elsewhere in the garden, the greenhouse was becoming an overgrown mess with lots of green tomatoes hidden amongst the foliage , so I gave the plants a good cut back. I did the same a few days ago to my rude chilli plants and the fruits on them are now going red. 

And I have so many Dorset Naga Chillies, I have no idea what I am going to do with them. 

Outside, I am already getting next years plants off to a flying start. I planted several rows of flowers, but sadly they came under serious slug attack. The only ones left now are the Calendula. 

They have been lightly nibbled, but obviously dont taste very nice as they were left. 

I have replanted the eaten seeds, but it may be a bit late now for them to grow,. They have also been protected with a very light sprinkling of organic slug pellets. I try not to use them as I dont want Gibson to eat them, but these are at least not going to do him any harm if he does. I also added a row of Larkspur and Godetia, to those already there. 

I saw an article a couple of weeks ago about a specialist sweet pea producer, My addiction kicked in, and I found myself ordering seeds. They have arrived and look wonderful . The producer is called Roger Parsons and this is his website  He produces old fashioned sweet peas, so I am looking forward to mixing these with the beauties I got from Ben at Higgledygarden 

In the same article it mentioned that rootrainers were a good way to sow sweet peas so ever keen to try new thing, I got two types to try. 

Well thats all from the garden this week. Out and about we went on a run last sunday with our car club. It was Freda's first long run (130 miles) and she performed brilliantly . We were both a little nervous that we would be coming home on a car transporter, but she didnt let us down. Anyway, we went to a brilliant motor museum, The Haynes International Motor Museum which is in Sparkford, Somerset. It is owned by the company that print the car fixing manuals. 

The cars were beautiful and we spent quite a few hours wandering round. What really caught my eye though, were the bonnet ornaments on some of the cars. There were quite a few American cars in the collection and they were amazing. I dont think you would get away with driving now with some of these on  the front of the car!! 

Of all the cars in the collection, this is the one I would have if I could. Its a Fiat 500 Topolino, a really sweet little car. 

Well thats all for this week, looks like a decent day, so its a run in Freda and a bit of gardening for us 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Hanging on by its fingertips!

Summer that is. Every time I think I should turn on the heating and get settled in for Autumn the sun reappears. Once again this weekend after a couple of miserable wet day, the sun has got his hat on and it looks like our TR club run in Freda tomorrow will be blessed with a nice dry day. 

And that brings me to my flowers. I thought by now I would be buying them at the supermarket or elsewhere, but each time I need a new vase full I manage to find enough to fill it. There are still loads looking beautiful.

And my Helianthus Giganteus are only just flowering

Elsewhere in the garden, the tomatoes just keep coming, 

so it was time to try some in my new dehydrator. I wasnt quite sure how to prepare them and was thinking about looking it up online. Wandering past my bookcase, I stopped to pick up one of the dogs toys and looked at the books. I noticed a book on the shelf, I had no memory of buying, so it must have been a gift, but sorry cant remember who from, anyway , who knew,I have a book about preserving veg !!

And luckily there was a section on preserving and drying tomatoes, so out came the dehydrator again

A quick wash and dry and then cut in half and a bit of salt sprinkled on each piece and that was it. It did say though it may take up to 24 hours to dry them. 

As it was going to be running, I decided to try drying some of my herbs to see how they came out. So I picked Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

The smell was amazing. The herbs took a few hours. As this was only an experiment, I only dried small amounts and didnt have any jars to store them in. But once dry, the concentrated smell of each herb was wonderful. I am going to have to buy some jars and do loads. 

A great many hours later, the tomatoes were also begining to look ready. I had decided to try and store them like the sundried tomatoes you buy in the shops, so I sterilised a kilner jar and added some of my dried thyme.

Then as the tomatoes were dry enough, 

they were added to the jar

And then covered with a nice olive oil

I have tried one and they are very tasty. 

Outside, I have continued to tidy up the patch . The sweet pea tower was the next to be  cleared. 

And then whilst rummaging around in the flowers patch I noticed this. Its is one of the Bells of Ireland. I think it looks beautiful even though it is now dead.

The Nigella seed pods are also very exotic looking, like they have come off the set of a Sci Fi Movie

This afternoons job is to try and tidy up the greenhouse a bit, it has got very messy lately

Finally  in the veg patch, after a couple of nervous nights for me, when the wind was howling, I am pleased to report that the Courgette/Veg Spaghetti/Pumpkin towers are still standing and the three huge pumpkins look pretty much ready. I may cut them this week .

Gibson, makes his last attempt of the summer to win a class in a dog show today. Its very local today, just around the corner. He says if he doesn't win this time, he is going to retire from the whole summer dog show scene.. 

Well thats all today, so I shall finish with two last beauties a rainbow over the house the other day

And Freda getting herself ready for our run tomorrow

Have a great week