Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Going nuts

When we first took over plot 18 we planted a few small trees around the edges. Some were hazel trees and I thought that maybe we would see a few hazel nuts in many years to come. Well just four years on we do indeed have hazel nuts on one of our trees. I tried to pollinate some of the female flowers with a catkin from another tree and it seems to have worked. Now I need to work out when the nuts will be ripe, and hope the local squirrels don't find them. Six hazel nuts will not make a feast - maybe more next year.

We also took the last of our gooseberries yesterday along with five courgettes and our first carrot  - another little success. There were a good take of mange touts and sweet peas too.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Dwarf french beans

We spent some time watering the plot this morning. Promised rain came to very little and no more rain is forecast this week, so it was needed. The good news is that the dwarf french beans have produced a crop. When we looked closely it was more substantial that I had thought. We took a few spring onions too. A few of the beetroot are swelling so we might have some of those soon too.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hungry army

A very useful visit to the plot this morning gave us half a kilo of broad beans (out of their pods), another half kilo of gooseberries, some mange touts, a big bunch of sweet peas, our first spring onion, two courgettes and the army arrived but too late.

The broad beans have caught up a bit but they have still not produced as many pods as in years before. Some of the plants were so badly attacked by black fly that they had no useful pods on them. We have taken the last pods only to find the plants were covered in an army of seven-spot lady bird larvae. They should much through the black fly, but they arrived too late for the beans.

The gooseberries are all ripening nicely. There will be loads more yet, they are just a pain to pick with the thorns being carefully positioned to defend each juicy berry. Some more mange touts were ready with the plants growing nicely having recovered from the partridge attack. I wonder if ladybird larvae will attack partridges.

The courgettes have responded to the water we have given them, and some rain has helped. The first two fruit were ready with more growing. The spring onions are doing very well, so we took one to try. I also dug up the first garlic, but the stem was still too hard so they can stay in the ground to fill out some more yet. The French beans are growing well, but they are not quite big enough to pick yet.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Mange touts

The summer is really upon us, with warm, sometimes hot, days. The long days have pushed everything into growth spurts and so lots of water is needed. We still haven't had plentiful rain, but June was a bit wetter than the previous three months. Today we paid two visits, the second in the afternoon was after we saw how much work was needed from a brief visit in the morning. There was a lot of weeding with a hoe and by hand, a lot of watering and the reward was our first mange touts. Not many yet but the plants, suitably watered, weeded and protected from partridges and pigeons, now look strong with flowers and a few more small pods. The time from flower to edible pod is quite short so we should have some more to eat later in the week.

We took another batch of sweet peas. They just go from strength to strength - the more you cut the more grow to take their place.