Monday, August 26

All change

The end of last week certainly saw a change in our weather. Instead of our excuse, for not getting enough work done of the allotment, being that it was too wet and drizzly we had the excuse that it was too hot and sunny. Our weather is nothing if not changeable.
We spent a fair bit of time watering. The drizzly rain that had kept us indoors had done little to quench the thirst of our plants.

We did manage to fulfill some tasks. I planted some All Year Round cauliflowers to fill up one of our brassica beds. 
This year is very much going to see a deep divide between plants that have done well and those that have failed, but that topic is for another day. 

The brassicas seem to be one group of plants that are thriving, that is if we can protect then from munching machines.
It didn't help that the gales of previous weeks blew the enviromesh from one bed, on two occasions, giving free access to the white butterflies. At least one had seized the opportunity to lay eggs and the resulting caterpillars had been feasting. As many as we could find have been removed but as they were the offspring of the small white they were green and difficult to spot. On the plus side at least the small white lays eggs singly rather in the clusters laid by the large whites which produce a voracious army of progeny that make short work of any plant within their reach. See them in action here.

We may not have removed all of the caterpillars so will have to be vigilant.
If it isn't problems caused by pests feeding on our plants or weather making them struggle, as you know we have a problem with our compost. The photos below show the difference in the tomatoes growing at opposite sides of our plot greenhouse. Granted the varieties are different, so some may argue that this isn't a fair comparison, however, the difference is dramatic. Some of the failing tomatoes are Sungold that usually produces a prolific harvest 
I have spoken to the manager of the garden centre from which we purchased the grow bags and he has passed my complaint to their buyers who have contacted the manufacturers and have also offered to refund the cost of the grow bags as a goodwill gesture.

I am wondering now whether the problem we have had with one bed of onions is compost related but more of that in another post.
At long last we seem to be having some success at growing spring onions. As a last ditch attempt, I sowed spring onions seeds into a crate filled with compost and they are growing strongly. They're not yet ready to harvest but I am hopeful, so much so that I have sown more in another crate.

We did manage some jobs last week. I removed all the runners from the strawberries for the third time. The plants had been so prolific that, I filled a wheelbarrow with discarded runners.
Martyn dug more potatoes.  The Rocket potatoes that were grown as a clearing crop were rubbish and badly eaten. We thought at first this was to be expected and didn't hold it against the variety, but looking back at notes and blog posts, we found that this variety had been targeted by pests when we grew them previously which was why it was dropped from our list of potatoes to grow.  As it happened it was one of the few varieties available in the garden centre when we went to buy some for this bed. As we didn't expect much of a crop from the newly cleared area we didn't care which variety we planted.
The the other varieties, Casablanca, Vivaldi and Sarpo Mira, had produced a good crop. Casablanca is sold as an early potato, but we have found that it keeps well too and obviously hasn't suffered through being left in the ground longer that usual for an early variety. We had expected Sarpo Mira to carry on growing for much longer. The photos above are not a direct comparison as there are still more Sarpo Mira to lift.
22 August
The leaves in the bag above photo are coriander, (cilantro). I sowed seeds in another crate and they produced a good crop. Rather than risk them going to seed and being wasted, I cut the leaves and have frozen them. The frozen leaves are not as good as fresh ones, but are better than nothing. I've sown more seeds to try and get another batch. I also sowed more spinach seeds in a grow bag.
One fruit that has produced it's best ever crop this year are the All Gold late raspberries. They have produce more berries, larger berries and hardly any spoiled berries this year.
One of the varieties of beans that we picked last week was climbing French bean - Python. This variety has matured a little later than the Cobra beans and seems to have the potential for extending the season of climbing French beans.
24 August

Victoria plums
Finally, I've seen lots of peacock and painted ladies feeding from our buddeias but hadn't seen any tortoiseshells, which are usually one of our most abundant species. Last week I spotted this one along with a red admiral which disappeared before I grabbed my camera.
The camera is great at capturing details that are usually not apparent to the naked eye. This year one of the things that has struck me is that the different species of butterfly have different faces. I'd never noticed that before.

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day I am getting lots of Anonymous spam comments which go straight into the spam folder and then deleted so I'm afraid that if you comment anonymously this may happen to your comment.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started.


  1. All of those beautiful fall colors. Love seeing them. Don't you hate those drizzly days that keep you inside. Then when you go out you figured you should have just got out in it anyway.

    1. The trouble with drizzle, Lisa is that it doesn't do the garden any good at all.

  2. I know where your rain went to - it came here to us! The brassicas look healthy to me even if some got eaten on. I love the butterfly pics too. I confess I've never thought about the faces, now I'll have to get my camera busy and see what I can see!

    1. We're hoping that the nibbled brassicas pick up, Dave. I'd never thought of butterfly faces either until looked at the photos. I hadn't noticed that some had stripy antennae too. I think lots of insect faces provide inspiration for horror stories.

  3. I'm always amazed at how much you harvest! Everything looks grand. A mouse gnawed on m zucchini. There is nothing more annoying. You get past the weather only to be hit by bugs or animals.

    1. Some of our courgette/zucchinis have been nibbled too, Bonnie, It amuses me that we use the French word for these fruits and you use the Italian one.

  4. I know it's hydrangeas not tomatoes, but I bought two identical plants, potted up in identical containers and compost from the same bag in each. They are placed just five feet apart on opposite ends of a window, one is doing really well, the other is less than half the size. At least I am not relying on them for food.

    1. It is strange, Deborah unless something wasn't spread evenly though the compost and the sickly one drew the short straw.

  5. Aah, it's so nice to see blue sky again! Love the butterfly life-cycle video. The small white's caterpillars are a real pain!

    1. It is indeed, Belinda but we just need the thermostat turned down a degree or two. The trouble is that the yoyoing weather doesn't give us chance to acclimatise.

  6. Butterflies have different faces....what a fascinating thing for me to look out for!Maybe write about that one day for my rescue wildlife blog! The compsot issue is scary for sure, I've noticed an awful performance in the tomatoes this year, I shall be renewing my efforts to make more home-grown!The weather is weird now, same here!Oh..those whites!xxx

    1. I haven't forgotten about the blog post, Dina- just busy at the moment


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