Veg Patch

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

Saturday, 14 June 2014

What has happened to the veg?

I made a conscious decision when I start writing this blog over 2 years ago that I would only write when I had something different to say, this is my third season growing and to be honest, I am growing pretty much the same things and in the same way, so what would be the point of writing about them again? 

I have been quietly, (well if you don't count the iPod playing at full blast all the time, through speakers, with my favourite 70's and 80's disco classics) getting on with the business of growing us some food. So far this year there has only been one problem, and that is with a new crop for me. Beetroot, or as Jim calls it "The food of the devil" . His mum was a school dinner lady and it appears that she always brought home leftovers for tea. Poor chap not only did he have to eat school dinners for lunch, he got them at home as well. Anyway, through most of the summer it would appear that pickled beetroot was high on the schools menu list, therefore he has a deep aversion to it. I decided it might be nice to try and get him to eat a home cooked, sweet earthy beetroot, so I planted some. 

They started well and were growing at a reasonable pace, then a couple of days ago I noticed that loads of the leaves looked dead. 

After posting a picture on twitter last night I was left with two possible causes, either the leaves had been scorched or they were suffering from a leaf miner infestation. 

I popped out this morning for a closer look at the leaves and quickly found this

So leaf miner it is then. I have cut off and destroyed all of the offending leaves and shall keep an eye on the remainder. Apparently, though we can still eat the beetroot, so Jim will still get his chance at Beetroot rehabilitation. 

Those of you who read regularly will remember last summers frustration when my peas, wouldn't grow up my beautifully constructed "Great Wall of Barton" . Dwarf peas were never going to make the top, Note to self, always read the packet properly. So this year I deliberately purchased a variety called "Colossal" in the hope that things would be different. I am happy to report that they are. These are growing like mad

Elsewhere, the "Leaning Tower of Barton" has been relocated to another bed and this year definitely has three trailing courgettes growing up it. No pumpkins this time, Although it was very entertaining trying to stop pumpkins dropping from 5 feet up . I am happy to report than in a week or so if this weather keeps up we will have a courgette glut. 

The potatoes and onions are ready to be dug up, in fact I may do that in the morning. 

And this year, my broad beans have survived and are currently covered in fattening pods. 

In the greenhouse, all the usual suspects are growing furiously, I already have a few tiny tomatoes and the cucumbers are growing really quickly, some straight and others not so straight..

The one in the top photo became our first summer crop of the season and was consumed yesterday evening for our tea. 

Chillies, it goes without saying, are taking up loads of room

Waiting for them to go red always takes an age . The whole greenhouse looks very different to a few weeks ago when it was full of plants of the hospice sale. 

I have posted loads of pictures of flowers already this year but here are a few more. our house, and all the neighbours are already full of wonderfully smelling blooms and there are many more to come yet. The Sweet Pea's have finally started to come thick and fast and there are so many cornflowers. 

The Dahlia's I got from Georgie at Common Farm already have buds on them and the hanging baskets I planted up are looking splendid.

In fact it all is

I have just been and picked these so shall be having them with some ice-cream in a bit . 

In other news, Woody the baby woodpecker fledged last saturday. He spent a day or so hoping from tree to tree calling for his parents, and then just like that he was gone. The nest is silent, but I know they will all be back and hopefully have babies again next spring. 

Gibson has been spending a lot of time with his friends Flo and her puppy . I think I told you about the puppies who were born on St Patrick's Day. They all had Irish names for a while, but one by one they left all except for one who was originally named Conner. My neighbours decided to keep him and he has been renamed Dodge . He is a sweet little dog and he adores Gibson who is very gentle with him. Each time he comes to visit , Dodge hops into bed with Gibson for a cuddle, its very sweet. 

Right that is all for now, I am off for Strawberries and Ice-cream . Enjoy the sunshine. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Distracted Gardener

Unusually the last few days, we have had nothing much to do, no runs in Freda, no appointments anywhere, basically free time. So that always means gardening for me. Now normally I have a list of jobs filed in my head and I get on with it, but for the last few days, I have found myself badly distracted.

The reason will shortly become apparent. All around our garden are a good mix of well established trees of various types. This means they are a wonderland for birds, especially the Great Spotted Woodpecker. Soon after we moved in I spotted Woody ( naff I know but what else should I call him?) having a wonderful time pecking at the trees. He makes quite a lot of noise for a small bird but there is something rather special about the sound he makes. 

Last year, I know he was a dad, as I saw the fledgling in the garden, but I didn't know where the nest was. This year however we have been very privileged to have (sorry) a birds eye view of the whole family. Some time ago the pecking reached fever pitch and a large hole appeared in the front of a fir tree. Its about 25 - 30 feet up but I have a clear views from the veg patch. 

This week suddenly, the activity around the nest has been intense and the noise is quite spectacular. The baby or maybe more than one? has hatched and now the poor parents are working literally from dawn to dusk, trying to keep them fed and happy. But the bonus for us is our very own wildlife show which I must say, has kept me mesmerised for hours on end. I decided to borrow Jim's fancy camera and tripod and see if I could get some pictures. I have amazed myself. Firstly I didn't know I could stand still for such a long time, and secondly I never thought I would become a bird watcher... 

So this is what I have seen over the last few days. I am very very pleased with these pictures. 

Not bad for an new photographer/twitcher . I shall keep watching as I am determined to see the baby/babies emerge. Once or twice today I thought maybe I was going to see one but I think they were getting a bit overexcited when dad brought food. In all of these pictures it is the male bird that is feeding the babies. I know this, as I have looked on the RSPB website and it is the male that has the red mark on the back of the head. 

Well thats all on woodpeckers. I have everything planted now and growing well. The flowers are starting to arrive .

And so it means that once again the house, and the all the neighbours houses are full of British Flowers . I have embraced the "Jam Jar Posy" after my last trip to see Georgie at Common Farm  we don't actually use a lot of jam so mine are mayonnaise jar posies !! 

And having accidentally chopped of a big clump of my wild, beach lupins, I also made a nice vase full

Thats all from the garden, but as its getting more summery, we are out and about a bit now in Freda. Last Sunday it was our turn to organise the monthly club run, so we decided to go to Stourhead House. We met at a rather dirty old service area on the side of the A36 . We arrived first and by the time we were ready to go 11 other cars had joined us. It made for quite a sight in the car park

After a great drive along loads of B roads through Hampshire and Wiltshire, we crossed into Somerset and arrived at Stourhead. If you have the chance its really worth a visit. The beautiful gardens are worth the trip alone. We didn't go inside the house, but those that did said it was also lovely. Here are a few views of the house and garden .

Thats it for now, hope you enjoyed the pictures and I shall continue woodpecker watch until I get pictures of the babies flying. Have a great week.