Monday, June 22

More firsts

Things are growing very slowly on the plot this year, so slowly that many things are having difficulty outpacing the slugs. Things are being eaten faster than they can grow. Joining the carrot seedlings on the casualty list are the newly planted climbing beans, many brassica, courgette and squash plants. We've also lost the second sowing of carrots to the slimy menaces but bizarrely they have ignored the lettuces.

For this reason any harvests are going to be the source of celebration. Last week saw our first general harvest. 

Previously we have picked odds and ends of salad crops and herbs but this week we have some firsts.

Sweet Williams are now flowering and providing long lasting cut flowers. I also added a few candytuft to the vase.
On the plot we also grow some shrub roses chosen for perfume. I added some sprigs of alchemilla to the arrangement. The roses are ideal for adding perfume to the bathroom. The single yellow and white roses opened quickly so I was surprised by how long they are lasting.

We cut our first cabbage of the season.
The variety is Duncan which was one of a collection of plug plants bought from Marshalls. We usually grow brassicas from seed but find this collection gets us off to an earlier start. It's more expensive than growing from seed but provides a good fall back if you forget to sow seed or if slugs etc. devastate young plants. Martyn discussed the pros and cons of using plug plants in a post last year.

Another first
I know that I have gone on and on about pulling rhubarb but these are the first harvest from the variety Raspberry Red. Like Crimson Grooveless it keeps it's red colouring and it doesn't seem to 'break down' as much when cooked.

We have just bought some roots of another rhubarb variety called Poultons Pride which is reputed to harvest for 10 months of the year,
Our next first is a harvest that everyone awaits with eager anticipation - the first strawberries.
In the dish the variety is Fenella, on the left is Vibrant and the lone strawberry on the right is an unknown variety from an old overspill bed that was destined for removal until  we noticed that the plants had produced lots of fruit so it was granted a stay of execution
We continue to pick fresh herbs and salad from the salad bar which now needs replenishing. Having this bed in the garden was a good move.

At the weekend we brought home a second harvest.

More rhubarb, this time Crimson Grooveless, and a second cabbage along with our first calabrese head. The calabrese - Marathon was like the cabbage included in the plug plant collection bought from Marshalls. 

The strawberries are in separate punnets to keep the different varieties apart. We picked a few more Fenella and Vibrant. The other varieties were, Cambridge Favourite and Royal Sovereign. We also picked the first alpine strawberries of the year. I've just noticed that the photo makes the strawberries look less ripe than they actually were.

Although the flowers picked earlier in the week were still looking good, I couldn't resist picking more.






29 comments:

  1. Trying to make a return in to reading and commenting today. Thank you for your kind words on my blogs recently {on which I am still struggling to keep up}
    As you know, there is no produce from my small plot this year, just weeds and things going mad but I'm happy to see your produce starting to yield! You have inspired me to go see if there is a small posy of flowers that can be picked today. All we, and the neighbours, have had so far is a mad dash to bring in a few blooms that would not have survived the heavy rains!

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    1. Glad to see you back Deb. No heavy rain here just the interminable winds. Rain has threaten and drizzled just enough to prevent us from doing things but of little benefit to the plants.

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  2. How delicious your strawberry is, I can imagine, Sue. Lovely Sweet Williams, mine will soon bloom too and I liked your vases with Sweet Williams. You have grown many rhubarb, I have no it. What do you do with it?

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    1. We use rhubarb a lot Nadezda, stewed with custard, yoghurt of porridge, for crumble, as an accompaniment to pork. Sometimes also in muffins and in pork and rhubarb burgers.

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  3. Super harvest Sue, in spite of the slugs. I do so sympathise. It's hard going this year isn't it.

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    1. At least we don't have pheasants, Jessica

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  4. This is a wonderful time of year when all the 'firsts' start to be brought home from the plot. I'm not expecting many strawberries this year, I've allowed the bed to grow wild, never a good thing. I need to start a new bed ready for next year. Sweet Williams are one of my favourite flowers, such a gorgeous scent.

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    1. It;s good to start harvesting in earnest again . Jo.

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  5. Dang slugs. Mine ate over half the melons down before I noticed. I've since replanted and put sluggo on the bed. I hope the newly planted seed has time to regrow. I would hate to lose my melons. They are such a treat for a couple of weeks.

    The flowers look so lovely. I never cut mine to bring indoors. Mainly because I have too few of them as is. I don't have any beds just for cutting.

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    1. I only really cut flowers from the plot, Daphne. I don't like cutting them from the garden.

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  6. If it's any consolation we are struggling to outgrow the slugs too - a visit to the plot just this morning revealed that we won't be having pumpkins this year, the little plants were just too slow and immature to survive the post-rain shower slugs. I will resow, but realistically it is too late to expect to get a crop off them.

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    1. It's a nightmare year isn't it?- Not enough warmth to get things growing, We watered in nematodes but I don;t think it is even warm enough for them to do their job. I had two jumpers and a fleece on at the plot yesterday,

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  7. Wow, your overspill strawberries are just laden with fruit. But the slugs have been awful at your plots. It's an awful feeling losing so many seedlings. Hopefully it'll warm up soon, that should help.

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    1. It would help Phuong but summer seems to haverabandoned us this year and we can only hope for some better weather.

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  8. I too made a bouquet this week with roses and Alchemilla. I added in some Wisteria and Molleluca. Are those Rosa rugosa?

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    1. The roses are shrub roses, Amy and Rob, The yellow one is Golden Wings and the white one is Jacqueline du Pre both singles and very perfumed, The red is Elmshorn.

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  9. This gardening malarkey is a strange hobby, isn't it? Cold windy weather; inadequate rainfall, a plague of slugs, predatory birds, etc, etc. Do you sometimes think "Why do I bother?" When the harvests start arriving your mood changes though, doesn't it?

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    1. Completely agree (I also add in the element of allotment thefts and hooliganism), but we keep on doing it so it must say something about the resilient nature of gardeners.

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    2. And dodgy manure and composts, Mark and S and D - we are as resilient as some of our plants that carry in regardless.

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  10. Things certainly are growing slowly this year! What a shame the second batch of carrots got munched, all my squash were eaten but are growing back, albeit slowly....
    That cabbage does look good....but along with the roses the star of the show has to be the strawberries.....yum!xxx

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    1. We are having a third and final attempt with carrots, Dina

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  11. Good comment from Mark above! I like the look of that cabbage sue and I know how you feel with the slugs. I've lost 5 gherkin plants (the original three plus another two), a cucumber, a few squashes, several beans, carrots...the list goes on! Still time to direct sow some more beans I think fortunately.

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    1. I don;t know why they have been so bad this year Lou, I wouldn't have minded them attacking the plot lettuce as they are just what were left after planting up the salad bar,

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  12. Beautiful flower arrangements - the colours are so vibrant. The first strawberries of the season are definitely reason to celebrate - and it looks like you are in for many, many more...those plants are just loaded! I've been having issues with my beans and I have a feeling that slugs are to blame as well.

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    1. I just hope we achieve some beans, Margaret. I hope that you do too

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  13. Love the flowers!!! My Sweet William only started to bloom and it is not enough to bring it indoors. The strawberries look delicious!!! I only ate two from my garden, but there is more to be ready soon. Happy days!

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    1. You should soon have lots of flowers Aga

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  14. It looks like a very tasty apricot.
    We cannot grow them here - too cold.

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    1. This variety has been bred for our cooler climate, Alain. In the past we wouldn't have been able to grow them either

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