Monday, August 20

Salad Days

We finally harvested our first ripe tomatoes - we seem to have waited an age for this event. These are now eaten and there is very little evidence of any more ripening soon.
These tomatoes - Gardeners' Delight - were growing in the plot greenhouse. The plants there seem to be fruiting better than the ones in the garden greenhouse.

It's usually the opposite way round. The plants are looking really healthy but we would like the fruits to ripen soon. Maybe we should hang up a few bananas to coax things along.

We grow an outdoor variety of cucumber - Burpless Tasty Green. So far we have harvested one small fruit but the plants are the best we have grown and have lots of baby cucumbers and flowers.

Lettuce has also proved a challenge this year. It's grown but so have the weeds surrounding it. The weather has prevented us visiting the plot as often as usual, and as there has always been some more important task needing attention, the lettuces have had to struggle on. The consequence has been not much useable lettuce. Now we have planted more lettuce and this time through weed control fabric.
So far we have used weed control fabric for the carrots and strawberries - both seem to have worked and we've planted brassicas through it which seems to be working so let's see how the lettuce fare. The idea is that if we can cut down on some of the weeding we can concentrate on areas left undercovered - well that's the theory. When we remove the fabric it will be labelled so we can reuse it for the same crops next year.

Radish needs to be sown regulary. The roots are very sneaky - one minute there is nothing at all and the next the plants have gone to seed. The trick is to catch them midway between the two extremes. Not easy when they are growing on the plot where we can't keep a daily look-out. We have managed some harvesting though.
We are thinking of having a few salad crops in the garden next year where we can keep them under closer observation.

Then there are the spring onions. What is it with spring onions these days? We used to grow them with no problems at all but now they seem so very slow. We thought it was something we were doing but one of our plot neighbours was complaining of exactly the same thing. We picked the first spring onions on 16 August after sowing on 20 May and some of these were pathetically small. Three months before achieving a tiny harvest seems ridiculous as we used to sow successionally throughout the season and have a regular supply. We've tried different varieties and also tried growing in large pots of compost but it doesn't seem to make any difference.
As for celery - it's our first serious attempt at growing it and whether we will achieve a harvest or not is anyone's guess.
PS: have you seen the photo of our exotic visitor on Martyn's blog? We haven't had any suggestions so far about what type of parrot (if it is a parrot) this is. Can anyone help with identification?


26 comments:

  1. Nice to have some ripe tomatoes at last, mine are still a way off. We had a trip to Swillington yesterday and managed to pick up a few bargains which I'll blog about soon. Did you get anything in the sale? I think the bird on Martyn's blog is a love bird. Have a look at this http://www.parrots.org/index.php/encyclopedia/profile/fischers_lovebird/
    Poor thing must have escaped from somewhere and it will be missing it's mate.

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    1. My sister bought some tubs but that was all.

      I did wonder about a lovebird but thought they were sort of squatter.

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  2. Great looking veg, wish my tomatoes looked like that. Good luck with the celery, we've been munching our way through the first few and they taste great.

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    1. So did your celery produce thicker stems or did you eat it undergrown. Damo

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  3. I think its really smart to try the weed suppressing fabric like you are Sue, particularly if it frees you both up to tackle other tasks. I like the idea of you unrolling the correct pre-cut fabric for each crop again next year, will be intrigued to see how well it works.

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    1. We're just hoping that the fabric isn't too frayed to reuse Janet or it will be too expensive to buy new each year

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  4. Well you should be very pleased about all that Sue. The crop is great, and this is a good update. Your tomatoes are picture perfect. Now about those bananas...????

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    1. Just thought the ethylene that the bannsaa give off would speed up ripening, Bren but then again I guess the taste wouldn't be there as they would be similar to the supermarket ones that ripen using ethylene away from the plant instead of on the vine!

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  5. Congrats on your first tomato picking of the year.

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    1. Thanks awpol now we just need lots more to follow suit.

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  6. I use celery leaves in stocks - so even if the stems don't develop very well you should be able to do that. I love that beautifully long cucumber - looks like a fun variety.

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    1. Just a very normal variety of cucumber Liz but it was really crunchy and fresh. I'll have to remember the bit about celery leaves. I wonder whether they would grow as mini-greens over winter under our grow light?

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  7. I think a lot of people seem to be having a problem with smaller harvests and stunted plant growth this year due to the terrible weather. Here's hoping for an Indian Summer so your tomatoes ripen quickly. :)

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    1. Let the Indian summer start early too Simon. I think low light levels are a big part of the problem

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  8. sorry your weather hasn't been good for tomatoes this year. But your cumcumbers have appreciated the rain and look great. Vegetable gardening has to be the hardest type of gardening there is but also the most rewarding. Christina

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    1. I really feel sorry for anyone who is growing vegetables and fruit for the first time this year Christina and hope they don't give up after having a poor start.

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  9. I harvested my first ripe tomatoes today but it was pretty meagre and I will have to buy some tomorrow. I haven't any lettuces ready yet but those who planted there's earlier than me have none either as they bolted and went to seed so I'm not so bothered that I ma going to get a late crop. Everything is so slow this year and I am hoping for an indian summer so that I can really benefit from the produce of my allotment this year!!

    As for the parrot, I think it's a 'lovebird'. As far as I'm aware they aren't native to Britain...I'm guessing it's an escapee from somewhere...I knew someone in my village who used to have some...you don't often see them on their own!!

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    1. We are still buying too Tanya and our first lot of lettuce didn't produce much either!

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  10. Your veg looks great. I'm finally getting some ripe tomatoes as well (long awaited). I remember harvesting celery last year even after light frost so hopefully it will work out for you.

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    1. We tried some of the celery this week Kelli and the thin sticks were rock hard so we'll leave it and see if it gets any better.

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  11. I think its a peach-faced parrot.

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  12. Be interesting to see how your celery works out - I have planted some this year after many years without - not quite sure when to harvest it - the sticks are quite long but very green - I expect I should wrap newspaper round it to blanch it - is this what you do?

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    1. We tried some the other day., Elaine as Monty Don said you could harvest some immature bits and use it now. The stuff he picked looked just like ours but ours was as hard as iron. It's the first time we have really grown it and had any decent sized plants develop so we are a bit in the dark like you. Ours is supposed to be self blanching and not need the collars. I won't mind green stick as long as they taste like celerey.

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  13. Well done for having some edible tomatoes. We have hardly any fruit set and nothing is ripening.

    Greenhouse was only 7 degrees last night, brrr, Management suggests I start heating it but I'm not convinced the very small crop we have is worth the cost of running a heater.

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    1. Not many though BW. We don't heat our greenhouse either - it's bad enough having to heat the house with today's costs!

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