Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Potato black-heart disease

I'm a bit disappointed with the potatoes this year. Despite being assiduous with the weeding, and thereby depriving ourselves of the lovely poppy show,  the potatoes didn't produce a lot. We ate some straight from the ground that had a bit of visible damage, like worm-holes, and stored the good-looking ones. Now we've come to use those I've discovered nasty, holes in the middle with greyish edges. I think this is "black-heart" disease.

Potato black-heart disease -
our poor specimens
The disease is apparently caused by either poor ventilation in storage or water-logging whilst growing. See this description of potato black heart >>.

It is possible, that I packed them up a bit too tightly for storage. I usually use cardboard wine boxes lightly sealed with parcel tape to keep out the mice. But certainly we had a lot of water-logged soil this year with some potato plants going soggy and rotten.

So far we haven't tried the stored Santes and Kestrels. Need to get into them next week.

It doesn't look like our potato stores are going to take us through to Christmas, so I've planted up some in big pots. When the weather gets cold I'll drag them into the greenhouse to protect from the frost.

Thankfully we have an abundance of squashes to help out with meals.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

In the pink

This week we had the hottest September days for 100 years but this morning was misty and cold. The leaves and flowers were bejewelled with dew-drops and the spiders webs bright with fine mist. It felt very Autumnal.

But there's a way to go yet with the Summer. Garden flowers are having a final fiesta before the dark days come along and the trees take the glory with their reds and golds.

I went walk-about with the camera and found the garden was painted pink!

Bright pink roses - irridescent

Tiny cyclamen under the mallus tree

Pinky-red hydrangeas having a final fling

Pink Japanese anenomes are everywhere. They seed prolifically but cheer up the garden
after the sumer bedding has mostly gone over.

These pink roses have been flowering all summer and still have plenty of buds.

Pink sedum is a late-summer feast for the bees and other insects.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Summer Summary

I've been too busy in the garden to blog this month. August has seen mixed weather - but mostly quite sunny and hot. In between some showers, often quite heavy, so in general things have been growing OK. We had a spell a couple of weeks ago when we had to get the hose out to the veg and the fruit trees each evening.

The raspberries are between harvests at the moment. We had a good harvest during July and I put some in the freezer and made lots of raspberry jam as well as eating raspberries with cream, yoghurt, in trifles or just off the bush. All the other soft fruit has finished but the raspberries are just starting to set for the second flush.

The fruit trees are starting to produce. A few plums are ready. The Bramley apple is absolutely loaded. Surprising, because last year it gave a good harvest and Bramleys are notorious for "one year on - one year off". With the strong winds there are a lot of fallers, so blackberry and apple crumble was on the menu on Sunday. (Blackberries from the hedge).

The runner beans are nearly finished but have done well. This year we put the brussel sprouts in a cage to keep out the cabbage white butterflies and the pigeons. So far they are doing well and hopeful for sprouts for Christmas. A first for us this year is sweetcorn. Again, we caged these to keep off the rabbits and squirrels. The cobs are beginning to form nicely and should be ready in a couple of weeks I should think.

We've had a couple of meals from the chard which is going very well and on Sunday I planted a second row. The beetroot in the veg plot are really good and I popped half a dozen in the oven alongside the roast beef yesterday. The beetroots in the "leek bed" are rather poor. It's quite shaded under the ever-expanding cherry tree and also very dry. Planted another row of beetroot in the veg plot, because you can never have too much beetroot.

In the greenhouse the tomatoes continue to amaze. I pick them as soon as they start turning and ripen them off on the kitchen window sill. Plenty for us and for the neighbours too. There's also 5 pepper plants with some small fruit just forming.

So everything is doing well on the produce front.  After last year's neglect the shrubs and flower beds are pretty desperate and we've all been out there digging and chopping to try to get the jungle under control. Good exercise! Oh, and while clearing weeds and overgrown bamboo fromt the top of the rockery I stood on a wasps nest - OOUUCCH! They got inside my trainers and stung both ankles. Decided to leave the rockery until the wasps move on.