Wednesday, September 28


Monday, September 26

Mystery apples

20 September
All our potatoes have been dug - this time from the overspill bed, the one where any leftover sub standard seed potatoes were planted. The few in the brown bowl are Vales Sovereign. This variety is off out 2017 list as the tubers are badly affected with blight. Even earlier stored potatoes are rotting whereas other varieties planted alongside them are fine. Martyn posted about this here. 

Last week we picked more apples - quite a lot of apples in fact - from the apple hedge that we inherited when we took the plot. Apple hedge is the name we have given to the overgrown cordons. 

We have no idea what the varieties of apples are although we are pretty sure that the apples picked last week are Discovery and maybe another two other varieties are a Golden Delicious and Laxton's Superb. Can anyone suggest the variety of the apples shown above. They are eating apples but we have so many that lots have been cooked and frozen, some with blackberries. We are still picking fruit from our Loch Ness thornless blackberry.
We also harvested some apples of the other unknown variety. These had fallen from the tree.

Again suggestions for the name of the variety would be welcome.

As well as the apple hedge we have five more small apple 'trees' on the plot one of which is an Egremont Russet. We tried a couple of fruits when we had a coffee break. Although very tasty they were not quite fully ripe. Note the knife, number one rule when eating fruit from the plot is never bite into a whole fruit!

The club root resistant, Clapton cauliflowers have started to produce curds. We harvested three last week.

23 September
We are still picking yellow raspberries but now there is a higher proportion of spoiled fruit on the canes.

The tomatoes above are from the plot greenhouse.

The one pear was picked from our small, Invincible pear tree. It wasn't ripe but I removed it as it was sitting on the soil. The trees branches are bowing under the weight of the remaining fruit.

I think the orange spots on this tree are pear tree rust which I will post about at a later date.

You may also notice a couple of potatoes on the 23 September collection - these are Casablancas that escaped the initial harvest.

You may remember that we used up our left over pea seeds making a late sowing in Mid July. We knew that the chances were that they wouldn't produce a crop but we have managed to pick a few pods. The plants have been affected by mildew.

The peas however, are just fine.

24 September
The tomatoes above are from the blight affected outdoor, plot plants. Although some fruit is spoiled we can still salvage some. 

We have also started to harvest our carrots which will hopefully last through winter.

25 September
I picked a few nuts from the Kent Cobnut. There may be more nuts in there but the bush is a bit dense and high to spot them.
We picked most of the ripe tomatoes from the garden greenhouse.

We have grown lots of the small sweet tomatoes this year. Most of the above were made into a tomato sauce which was frozen. This will make a base for pasta recipes etc.

I always forget to mention bits and pieces harvested from the garden as it is usually a case of pick and eat. I did remember to take a photos of a few spring onions and a sprig of parsley destined for an omelette.

Friday, September 23

Planting - ornamentals

This year instead of starting my biennial flowers - wallflowers, sweet Williams and sweet rocket in modules and transplanting I decided to go for direct sowing. This worked well for the wallflowers and sweet rocket but in the case of the sweet Williams either the germination was poor or - more likely - the slugs made a meal of freshly emerging seedlings. I bought more seeds and sowed these in modules which I planted out last week.

We had quite a poor showing of sweet Williams in spring this year and so I am hoping that the slugs don't move in and cause a repeat next year.

I felt that the tubs in which our alliums are planted needed some 'ground cover' and so planted some bellis perennis that we had raised from seed earlier.
Due to foraging molluscs the above was all that was left from a tray of seedlings. Let's hope the slugs and snails don't make a meal of the survivors before we can enjoy the flowers.

Last year I popped some primroses into a pot and after flowering they set seed and grew lots of baby plants. These were put aside over summer and had been attacked by leaf miner.
I decided to give the plants a chance anyway and planted them in another pot of alliums.
At the moment they look rather shabby but they may outgrow the miner damage.

We went to a local garden centre for lunch a week or so ago. This may be the last visit this year as already in September the indoor gardening stock is making way for 'festive' products. I refuse to use the 'C' word when autumn is only just moving in.
Whilst we were there we picked up a few heathers to brighten up our patio area over the winter months. I really only needed four plants but they had a 'buy two get one free offer' so I ended up with six. 

The extra two went in another pot  but 'Oh dear, just look at those gaps in the planting."

Not to worry I needed a visit to our local garden centre - one that happily still has the word garden at the centre of things with nothing festive in sight. There I picked up a couple of packets of miniature iris bulbs.

They filled those gaps nicely. I sprinkled a little gravel in the planting holes to aid drainage.

I also picked up a few packets of hardy annual seeds.

I've been experimenting with growing annuals this year - more on that later - as part of that I sowed some seeds a week or so ago to see whether I can have some early flowers. I picked up three packets of annual seeds and found a packet of larkspur which had been in the freezer since spring so I may be a tad optimistic in sowing but nothing ventured etc.

I planted four rows of seeds - one for each packet - in trenches cut in weed control fabric and they are already germinating - more slug fodder?

Left over seed was sprinkled under the pear trees where each year self sown candytuft pops up.

In fact when I scattered the seeds, I noticed some candytuft seedlings had already germinated. We have other self sown annual flowers popping up on the plot so if they can overwinter why not the ones that I sow?

Wednesday, September 21


Monday, September 19

Apples and pears.

13 September
There is less variety in our harvests this week, partly due to the fact that there is now a gradual phasing from harvesting crops completely for storing and harvesting for more or less immediate use.
Our harvest highlight has to be the apples picked from what we think is our inherited Discovery 'tree'. This 'tree' is part of our apple hedge which was on the plot when we first took it on at least 13 years ago. By rights it should maybe have been disposed of as the whole hedge is riddled with canker. Despite this the 'trees' fruit well and as far a Discovery is concerned, this year it has excelled by producing apples that not only look good but taste delicious.
We are also picking sweetcorn.
The cobs have filled out well so pollination has been successful. As is usual for sweetcorn we plant in blocks of closely spaced plants to encourage effective wind pollination.
The problem is that often the wind isn't very obliging and can fail to blow at the right time so I believe in given nature a hand. When the male flowers at the top of the plants appear to be loaded with pollen, I shake the stems of the plants whenever I pass the bed.
I am still picking plenty of cut flowers. The cosmos are providing the most cutting material but the sweet peas are still flowering and the stems are still a good length.
14 September
The above pickings came from the garden greenhouse. The mini cucumber had become a little chunky. The photo was taken under artificial light and the Sunchocola tomatoes look darker than they really are. The colour is more realistic in the photo below. The Sunchocola are between the yellow unknown plum variety and the apples.
15 September
The tomatoes above came from the plot greenhouse and some tubs in the plot which are managing to produce ripe fruit in spite of blight. The tubs which are in a different part of the plot have been touched by blight but are not as badly affected as those planted in open ground. 
I noticed that some of the badly mildews courgette plants were producing fresh green leaves and flowers and so I decided to remove all the mildewed leaves to see if this will encourage them to produce more fruit. This year we haven't experienced the usual glut and so will be happy to pick more.
I didn't mange a photo of one of our crops - the Red Williams pears. We had eaten the pears before we had taken a photo but here they are earlier on the tree.
That is our entire crop but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in flavour. The tree is only small and produces lots of suckers which I think affects the top growth. Any ideas how to rectify this will be gratefully received.

Today I am linking to Harvest Monday over at Dave's blog  Our Happy Acres