Wednesday, August 29

Shouldn't borage flowers be blue?

Monday, August 27

It's still summer isn't it?

The plot has a distinctly autumnal feel, although we are still enjoying snatches of summer, we seem to be carrying out jobs that we would normally do in early autumn. 

Beds are being cleared although it still is too dry to try digging most of them over. The rain that we have had over the last week or so has managed to green up the grass but done little, to more than temporarily, dampen the soil.

We have eased up on the watering but still can't leave the task completely to nature.
I've carried on pruning the fruit canes and bushes that have finished fruiting. The summer raspberries haven't yet made much new growth, as was apparent when I cut away all this year's fruiting canes. I hope they will now make a bit more effort.
The tayberry on the other hand has produced lots of new canes. They tend to be produced much earlier than those of the summer raspberry. They are very prolific. I had already cut out some of the new growth earlier in the year in order to access the fruit. Last week, the old canes were cut away along with some of the new ones and then the remaining canes were tied in to the frame. 

More potatoes have been lifted. We had started watering the potato beds so the task of digging was somewhat easier. Osprey and Kestrel produced better crops than the varieties lifted earlier, so we wonder whether they benefited from the late watering. Nadine didn't produce as well but then again their tops had died off completely before we started watering.
After lifting these potatoes, Martyn managed to go over the bed with a tiller and so we plan to plant autumn onions and maybe some garlic in the vacated space. We just need the sets to appear in the garden centres.
For quite a few years, we have had a problem with some overwintering brassicas, purple sprouting broccoli is just one that we have struggled with. We don't know whether clubroot is an issue as, we can't find clubroot resistant varieties of many overwintering brassicas, or whether it is down to our timing.  Maybe we have planted out too late. This year we have made an effort to get the plants in the ground earlier. We keep trying. Last week the PSB was added to the overwintering cabbage and cauliflower planted a couple of weeks ago.
20 August
 Our second bed of brassicas which, are all club root resistant varieties, are now coming to maturity and we are enjoying lots of cauliflower and cabbages 
 We've also been harvesting heads of Monclano calabrese from this bed.
21 August
This year the greengage trees have excelled and fruit is being harvested by the bucketful. The freezers are full so we have had plenty to give away. So far we have picked most of our fruit from Reine Claude. The fruit on our other tree, Mannings, isn't yet quite ripe meaning that there is plenty of fruit left to come.
The plum trees have done well too. We have moved on from picking Oullins Gage and are now harvesting Victoria plums.
I'd never really noticed before that the greengages and plums produce fruit clusters rather differently. Greengages seem to produce their fruit in 'strings' whereas plums seems to produce theirs in clusters.
The wasps are still keeping their distance and allowing us to pick the fruit in safety.

 We are now harvesting carrots of a much more respectable size.
23 August
 We picked our first sweetcorn cob last week.
Our harvest boxes were less bountiful last week as we are more or less just picking fruit and vegetables as we need them.
25 August
Apples from the plot are replenishing our fruit bowls or in the case of the Bramley apples being combined with the blackberries to make a crumble. The small Bramley apple tree has produced quite a few fruits but as with many other of our apples, the individual fruits are smaller than expected.
Greengages and apples are providing us with a mid afternoon snack when working on the plot
We are still managing to gather small posies of sweet peas although most of the flowers being produced are almost stemless, however our other flower beds are stepping up to fill the gap.
As I carry buckets of cut flowers, bees often follow me around the plot. They seem to prefer the flowers that I have cut to the ones left behind.

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Wednesday, August 22

Thirsk Bird of Prey Centre - Would you dare ruffle these birds feathers?

Monday, August 20

Time for a few other jobs!

The rain on Monday gave us a bit of time off watering and so we were able to tackle a few other jobs.

Martyn managed to tidy up the two beds from which he had dug some potatoes and then sowed them with green manure. He sowed buckwheat in one and grazing rye in the other.
I tidied up the purple, Glencoe raspberries and the Black Jewel raspberries. Both of these are clump forming and grow like blackberries. They had already grown very long, new canes that were whipping around in the wind and so needed attention before the new canes spoiled. Each year all the canes, that had fruited earlier that year, are cut out completely and the new canes are tied in to wires. Side shoots will grow from the new canes and, will hopefully,  carry next year's berries.
As most of our strawberries died this year, we decided to buy some new plants of a variety called Sweetheart. These were advertised as being specially prepared to fruit this August. So far the plants have only produced one or two flowers so it looks as though that promise is not going to be realised. The plants have, however, produced a mass of runners. Maybe if I had not been so preoccupied with watering and had removed these earlier the plants would have concentrated their efforts on fruiting. Anyway it's too late for that now but not too late to pot up a dozen rooted runners.

On each visit to the plot, one of our first jobs is to pick up all the fallen fruit. Fruit naturally falls from the trees but the winds this week have made matters worse. A path runs under the plum and greengage trees and fallen plums on a path can be messy and slippery. 

Every other day at least, we are picking up buckets full of spoiled plums. Martyn has also cut back some tree branches as some were so heavily laden with fruit that they bent down and made the pathway almost unusable.

There are also plenty of windfall apples which need picking up. All this spoiled fruit means that our compost heap resembles a giant fruit basket and some diners are quick to move in.

With all this spoiled fruit you would think there wasn't much left for us but in fact we have so many plums that we are now given lots away. 

So far the wasps are leaving the fruit on the plum and greengage trees. There are plenty of wasps around so are my waspinators working?
13 August
The greengage trees have produced a record breaking harvest, for a few years now the two trees have only produced enough fruit to remind us of what we are missing.
Being green it is quite difficult to tell when the fruits are ripe. It is also quite a surprise when you taste them as they are so sweet and delicious so having an abundance of them this year is a real treat.

The Vivaldi potatoes were lifted this week and as with the potatoes harvested earlier the crop was a mere shadow of what it should have been. There were very few of the large tubers that the variety should produce.
15 August
As well as bringing tomatoes home from the allotment we are also picking them from the garden greenhouse. All of these were cooked down to make a sauce which has been portioned and popped in the freezer.
As well as providing us with tomatoes we are now picking grapes from the greenhouse. The variety is Himrod which is sweet and seedless.
Our second planting of brassicas are now being harvested, the calabrese is Montclano and the cabbage is Kalibos. 
16 August
The purple climbing French beans have now picked up the baton from Cobra and are producing buckets full of beans, however, the runner beans are still disappointing.
18 August
Not featured in the photos are the apples that we pick and are eaten straight from the tree when we have a coffee break whilst at the plot. Is there a better way to enjoy apples?

The herbs and salad leaves picked straight from the garden don't feature either as they are usually picked and used immediately with no time to pose for their portraits.
We are still picking sweet peas but have long given up on trying to completely clear the flowers. Not only are there hundred of flowers but many now have hardly any stem at all. Maybe it's the plants way of thwarting me and trying to be left to produce seed pods.

No problem though as there are plenty other flowers to provide cutting material.

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Wednesday, August 15

At last - we had rain