Monday, August 31

The will to survive,

Years ago we had a long row of cordon apples and a pear that were causing problems and were not producing much fruit so we decided that they had to go. They were cut down and most of the stumps were removed but in the limited space behind  the greenhouse the stumps were left. We didn't intend to plant anything else there so it seemed to best option.

Somehow we didn't notice that the stumps were regenerating. Eventually when we didn't get round to doing anything about it and over time we ended up with three trees - a Conference pear, a Bramley apple and what we think is a Peasgood Nonsuch apple. This year it is the turn of the Bramley to provide a good crop of cooking apples. 

We harvested all the apples this week before they either fall onto the greenhouse roof breaking glass or fall to the ground and bruise spoiling the chances of keeping them stored successfully.

Any bruised fruit will be used quicky or pureed and frozen.
Tomatoes are now ripening steadily in both greenhouses and outdoors. We also picked our first aubergine from the garden greenhouse.

Tuesday's harvest
Sadly the wasps have found the ripe greengages as quickly as we have managed  to harvest a few. Wasps have been a big problem with stone fruit this year. So far they haven't homed in on the Victoria plums that we are beginning to harvest but no doubt they soon will.

The sweet peas have been a disappointment. We haven't had the usual abundance of flowers and many have had short stems. Already the plants have mildew and are fading. I don't know whether to put this down to varieties or the weather. Any recommended varieties for next year. I'm looking for good stem length and perfume.
The courgettes are producing steadily and even with twelve plants we haven't had the usual glut. This has been the sort of year that explains why we often seem to grow too many plants.

We picked another peach as something is nibbling them. It still hadn't developed the delicious flavour of the fruit that it produced in its first year.
Thursday's harvest
We thought that the beans would be a failure this year but they have come good to the extent that we have been giving lots away. All three varieties of runner beans - Desiree, Lady Di and St George - have done well. Each variety has a different coloured flower which makes for an attractive display.
There are of course bits and pieces harvested from the garden to eat straight away. Salad leaves from the salad bar and mini cucumbers from the cold frame.
The tomato is Corazon. The bunch of grapes may not look professional but the grapes are sweet and tasty.  Unlike Monty Don of Gardeners' World, we learned years ago that the blackbirds are partial to them and so both door and windows are covered with mesh which also prevents small birds from straying in and being trapped inside. 

As a treat we cut a cauliflower, they are not fully grown yet but big enough for a meal for two.
Sunday's harvest
This year after a very successful harvest of Cobra climbing French beans we decided not to grow any dwarf varieties. We added a purple - Cosse Violette and a yellow - Corona d'Oro. We also cut the number of runner bean plants by a third. Cobra was first to harvest and is producing a good amount of beans, the purple variety has now got going but the yellow one is slow. Yellow dwarf beans were always less productive so maybe this colour bean produces weaker plants. 
After the young plants had such a poor start the good harvest is surprising so we are considering cutting the number of plants further.

As with the apples the will to survive was strong.

Sunday, August 30

A lot has changed

Today my blog is
How did that happen?

Lots has changed in that time - to start with I was working full time and then some but strangely now I have more 'free' time I find it more difficult to fit everything in - how is that?

Things have changed in the garden - the puddle pond for example.
Nine years ago the garden was given very little attention so unsurprisingly we have few photos of it from 2006. Most of our free time was spent on the plot. We were busy knocking this into shape.

We had no shed nor plot greenhouse and the trees were a lot smaller.
Now we spend more time on the garden and yes we do use the summerhouse a lot. It's a question we are asked over and over again by people who think it was bought on a whim.
Over my nine blogging years I have enjoyed your company and would like to thank everyone who has shown an interest in our gardening activities and the little asides that I sneak in when I drift off piste.

I hope that you stick with me for a while longer.

PS If I haven't commented on your blog recently I haven't deserted you. I seem to be more pushed for time recently.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, August 26

Parcevall Hall Gardens - a taster

 Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Monday, August 24

Seeing red

The tomatoes are ripening well now but it is the cherry ones that are providing the harvest and the larger varieties staying resolutely green. 

We continue to enjoy fresh salad leaves and mini cucumbers although this week the leaves have come from lettuces grown on the plot.

Wednesday's harvest

It's the time of year when you have to take care when picking fruit as the wasps are homing in on any signs of ripeness. Plums are a particular favourite. They will also soon move in on the apples. We inherited a row of cordon apples with the plot and can only guess at the varieties. We think that the ones that we are picking at the moment are Discovery. 
These are still not fully ripe but ripe enough for us to enjoy if not the wasps.

We are now picking autumn raspberries which have merged with the summer fruiters to provide a seamless raspberry harvest. Joan J always provides us with a good crop despite she and I being in constant battle with bindweed. The yellow All Gold tries to complete but the berries are soon damaged by wind and rain.

After a poor start the runner and Cobra French beans are providing a good supply of beans. The yellow and purple beans are slower to get going.

Thursday's harvest

The sweet peas are providing us with lots of cut flowers but for some reason most of the stems are short. The problem is that I don't know whether this is down to the variety or this year's growing conditions.

Sunday's harvest
The nectarines fell off the small tree in the greenhouse. Although they were very juicy, the flavour still hadn't developed. On the other hand the greenhouse grapes are as delicious as usual.
Earlier we had been picking Oullins Gage plums but on Sunday we started to harvest Marjorie's Seedling. These proved to be not quite ripe and so the rest will remain on the tree a little longer. Hopefully we will spot when they are ripe before the wasps do!

The thornless Loch Ness blackberry is very prolific with many of the berries being huge.
We had intended to stay longer on the plot on Sunday and harvest more but we were seriously rained off, as you will see if you visit Martyn's blog. We did manage to collect a few things before the heavens opened. 

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, August 19

This year's annual flower bed

Monday, August 17

A plum week

Harvest at the beginning of the week
The runner and French beans are at last coming into production and not before time. So far the only variety of French bean to produce anything for picking is Cobra.

Although the soft fruit/berries ripened more or less on schedule, other fruit seems to be in the doldrums. Impatiently we picked some apples but although they are rosy red they are not yet ripe.

The yellow Oullins Gage plums which should have be ripening steadily are now starting to fall off the tree and the wasps are homing in. We can't blame them as they are really delicious.

The nectarines in the greenhouse are also falling off the tree - this week we have had four which to be honest after trying the first two were a disappointment. They were really juicy but hadn't developed the flavour that we were expecting. As these are the first fruits from this tree we were hoping that this isn't the norm. Then we tried a third which this time didn't disappoint not quite the wow factor but better. We think that the tree prematurely aborted the fruit before they were properly ripe.
We also picked a couple of peaches that something had nibbled but again these were not quite ripe and the flavour hadn't developed.

The tomatoes are now ripening but strangely the first to ripen were growing on the plants outdoors. These were the worst plants put straight in the ground on the plot to take their chances rather than throwing them away. They have been given no attention or feed and left to get on with it. We fully expected them to be killed by blight but so far this year we have been blight free.
Outdoor tomatoes
The stronger growing garden greenhouse plants are planted in good quality compost, been cosseted and subjected to a regular feeding and watering regime and are now also producing fruit.
Garden greenhouse tomatoes
Third in the race to produce ripe tomatoes is the plot greenhouse.

All the autumn onions have now been lifted. They have done really well - even the red ones that can be awkward - and have produced good sized bulbs. Some went to seed and so have a hard core but are still useable. The summer onions won't be far behind and are nearly ready to be lifted.
 Harvest at the end of the week
The potatoes dug this week were grown under weed control fabric. Last week's potatoes were grown more conventionally and provided a direct comparison. As Martyn reported in this post there was little difference in terms of yield or damage.

As in previous weeks the salad bar is keeping us supplied with daily lunch-time salad ingredients with mini cucumbers coming thick and fastl