Sunday, 26 July 2015
This squash came from a friend who said it was either a butternut or a dumpling squash (they'd lost the label). It doesn't look like either of those and is fast growing into what appears to be a marrow. It is now close to needing a sling to support it.
This is another one that popped out of the compost. This one could possibly be an acorn or a harlequin squash.
And there are a lot more dotted around the garden including a definite butternut squash.
Friday, 24 July 2015
Blightwatch so I've been carefully checking the tomatoes for early signs of blight. My heart nearly stopped when I saw these from a distance. Then I realised that they are Indigo Beauty, a variety I am trying for the first time this year and that they are meant to be that colour. Panic over.
A full Smith Period has occurred when at least two consecutive days have had min temperatures of 10ºC or above and on each day at least 11 hours when the relative humidity has been greater than 90%. A 'near miss' occurs when one or both of the above two consecutive days has only 10 hours when the relative humidity is greater than 90% and the temperature is 10ºC or above. Of course, microclimates in the garden will also come into play and I find that going into the garden a couple of times a day to get a feel for the temperature and, more importantly, the humidity is a better guide to when conditions make blight more likely to occur.
|Full Smith Period alert for RG4|
Blightwatch.co.uk is run by the Potato Council's Fight Against Blight. To receive alerts of full Smith Periods you first have to register (free of charge) and then give it the first part of the postcode you want monitored. You can receive alerts by email or by SMS and view the charts online.
When it comes to treating plants, by the time the symptoms of blight have appeared it is usually too late to do anything. Most of the chemicals that have been used in the past to prevent blight have been withdrawn from sale to home gardeners in Europe but it has been suggested that aspirin may help protect plants (Trouble in the vegetable patch? Break out the aspirin). Prevention remains the best strategy. See Identify, prevent and treat Tomato Blight in the UK
Saturday, 18 July 2015
|Blackfly on a courgette|
The veg gardening is flourishing and so are the aphids, and in particular the blackfly. I haven't been too badly hit - only a couple of beans and a courgette - but some of my friends have reported a total infestation plus a noticeable absence of ladybird larvae that usual chomp up all the little blighters. A couple of people have reported that the ladybirds have started to appear but too late frown emoticon
I sprayed the beans with water from the kitchen washing up bowl and the courgette is thriving left to its own devices, although the infestation isn't that bad.
Are others in the UK, and especially Reading, suffering as well and how do you manage the problem?
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
|Cauliflower and squash cheese with crispy, shredded |
|Dolma - stuffed cauliflower leave|
|Dolma with spiced tomatoes, steamed cauliflower and carrots|
We added a spicy tomato and onion sauce to our dolma and served them with steamed cauliflower florets (what else!) and carrots.
|Spiced cauliflower, potato, beans, mange toot and |
onion on injera
|Cauliflower, potato and leek soup|
There has to be a soup in this collection of recipes and the one I went for was a chunky cauliflower, potato and leek soup with herbs and a dollop of yoghurt.
And finally... piccalilli. I love it. The first batch was a variation of the Hairy Bikers recipe. For the second I used a Waitrose recipe.
Monday, 6 July 2015
Sunday, 5 July 2015
There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to braid garlic. The ones I found most useful were:
Plaiting Garlic (in the Horticultural Channel) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8G0sc0JMLE
Plaiting the garlic crop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0tartEai7Q
How to braid "Hard Neck" Garlics - Garden Harvest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R8McOxz9E4
Thursday, 2 July 2015
All three of the bags have tomatoes and onion/garlic borders but I also plant chillies, lettuce, beetroot or carrots. The one in the photo contains tomatoes, garlic (about to be harvested), onions (about to be harvested), lettuce, plus a couple of things (squash/marrow?) that popped up out of the compost added to the bag earlier in the year. Throughout the year there is always something growing in these bags, which are in our permaculture zone 1.
I add a thin layer of my own compost to the top twice a year and when stuff starts to actively grow I water them once a week with a very dilute feed of comfrey fertiliser (around 1:100). I've stopped the liquid feed now as I have added some shredded comfrey leaves to the surface.
I was thinking the other day that I wasn't having many problem with pests in the bags. I assumed it was because of the the mix of veg I had planted and the onion-garlic borders. Then this morning I spotted a frog, no doubt just having finished her breakfast and thereby zapping a few more pests for me. This is the third frog I've seen hopping around the garden. We don't have a pond - just some areas that are shady and covered in foliage, a couple of wood piles, and a few plant pot saucers containing water dotted around.
So, the veg bags are still looking good and I'll probably continue using them until they fall apart.