Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Great Pumpkin Harvest

Well, maybe great is a bit of an exaggeration, but compared to last years harvest of one minuscule butternut,

this years harvest was indeed great.
10.4kg of Butternut and 4.8kg of an unknown volunteer.

As you can see in the photo one of the pumpkins has split, I have since found out that it is an indication that the fruit had been left on the vine too long.  It was the second one to have done it, my own fault, but I wanted to make sure they were fully ripened before I picked them. I was worried that they might have gone mouldy or started to rot inside, but when I cut them open they were just fine and the pumpkin soup that was made with them was absolutely delicious.

There are still three more Butternut pumpkins on the vine that should be ready to pick on the weekend, I will be making sure those are not left too long.

Did you grow pumpkins this year? How did they go?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Snowy - At Last

After many seeds sown and a few false starts I finally managed to get a "Snowy" eggplant to grow this year. It started to flower, but never set any fruit or so I thought. Look at what I discovered this morning when I went down to the vegetable garden.
To say I got excited to see it is an understatement, but it's my first and grown from seed which makes it extra special in my book.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Garden Update - March 2017

Well, here we are, March is over and the first month of autumn has gone, but March was a very warm month and it has only been over the last week that the weather has finally started to cool down. 

As I expected pickings from the garden have been small, both in size and quantity.
The only two eggplants I've had so far this season with three each of Honeybee and Principe Borghese tomatoes.

Surprisingly over the last two weeks the eggplant has really picked up and has doubled in size, it is covered in flowers so I am hopeful of a few more fruit before the colder weather arrives.

One thing that wasn't small in size was the rockmelon.

It weighed 2.2kgs, and was sweet, juicy and delicious.

I thought it was going to be the only one for this year, but as you know the garden is always full of surprises.
  I hope it matures quickly.

There are also two watermelon slowly growing in the garden as well, one is nearly ready to pick,

the other was a relative late comer so I'm not sure it will mature in time.

The pumpkins are getting closer to being ready to be picked every day. I can't wait to cut this one open to see what's inside. This was a volunteer plant that popped up in the garden, and although it looks a bit like a Queensland Blue I have never grown them or bought them so I have no idea what it is.

Looking forward to lot of pumpkin soup this winter made from these beauties.

Readers will remember this photo of a tomato flower from last month's blog post, I have since found out that it is a fairly uncommon condition called fascination. The cause of fascination is unknown, but it is harmless to plants and it doesn't spread to infect other plants.

This is the resulting tomato fruit.
It looks weird, but it tasted just like a normal tomato.

One last photo to finish this post, my orange tree is once again playing host to the caterpillar of the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly, and hopefully I will be lucky enough to watch them hatch again.

Photo taken October 2015
Well that's it for this month, hopefully my blogging mojo will come back soon and I will blog a little more often, if not I will see you next month. 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Garden Update - Waiting

Have you ever noticed that as gardeners we do a lot of waiting. Waiting for the soil to become warm enough so that the spring crop can be sown or planted, waiting for the  temperature to drop so that the autumn seeds and seedling can be put into the earth.  Waiting for fruit to ripen on their vines, waiting for leafy greens to become big enough so that they can be picked.

At the moment I'm waiting for pumpkins to stop growing and start maturing so that they can be picked and stored away to be used over the winter.

Waiting for tomato flowers to turn into tomatoes that in turn will be made into passata and pasta sauce.

 Waiting for plums to ripen so that I can enjoy their sweet and juicy deliciousness.

And there are melons on the vines that are still a long way from being ready to eat.

One thing I'm not waiting for anymore is zucchini. The plants had been doing so well in December, but by mid January they had succumbed to downy mildew.

The cucumber which had showed so much promise got powdery mildew and had to be pulled out.

The corn grew well and developed good sized ears, but I think I waited too long to pick them and they were tasteless.

The Turkish Turban also bit the dust. I think it must have been infected with downy mildew as well.
I did sow another one, but I don't think there will be enough time for it to produce fruit and for that fruit to mature.

None of the plants have done particularly well this season which given the crazy weather, days of extreme heat, followed by cooler days and more rain than is normal, it's not surprising that the plants have struggled.

 I always ask myself at this time of the year, is it really worth trying to grow vegetables in the summer?
I'm starting to think it's not, especially with all the extra water that it takes to keep the veggies alive during the frequent heat waves we have experienced over the last couple of  years, not to mention the pests and diseases that have to be contended with, I think with the money I would save on the water bill I could just buy organic vegetables and save myself time, money and energy.

What do you think? Is it really worth growing vegetables during summer anymore?

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Ten Raised Garden Beds To Inspire You

Raised garden beds, they seem to be the way to grow these days, so if you have been thinking of making some for yourself and are looking for some inspiration, look no further. 

Use logs to impart a rustic feel to your raised beds.

You could also get that rustic look by using old corrugated galvanised steel in different shapes.
Credit for this image has been given to this website, but I have been unable to find it there.

Source unknown
This  gorgeous garden is actually part of a school playground in Clapham, London,  I think all schools should follow this example.

Try using different shapes in the garden to add some visual interest like this garden designed by Casa Smith Designs.
The owners of this garden have planted a dwarf lemon tree in the centre of the star bed.

Using retaining wall blocks makes it easy to add curves to raised beds.


Add some whimsy to your vegetable garden by using a bed as a bed.
Source unknown.

If you only have a small space to grow in try one of these ideas.



So there you are, just a few ideas to get you started, if you decide to use one of these ideas let me know I'd love to see it.

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know