Thursday 16 July 2015

Poppies in the potatoes

I'm a dreadful gardener - look at the potatoes that I planted back in March! I didn't get around to hoeing this patch and then when the self-sown poppies started coming up I thought I'd wait and see the flowers. Well here they are. I dug a row of Pentland Javelins last week and they were fine so maybe the poppies haven't done too much harm. But today I went to dig some Kestrels for tea and there were so many bees buzzing in the poppies I had to go and dig up some "feral" potatoes growing by the broad-beans. These are ones which have come up from tubers overlooked last year and usually provide some extras to the official planted potato crop.

Poppies - lots of them - growing between the potatoes.
Beautiful big red poppy.
I should have weeded - but they are lovely - and the bees enjoy them.

Friday 10 July 2015

First Raspberries

Picked a punnet of raspberries yesterday. There's plenty more ripening and more flowers on this year's shoots. Instead of cutting down the raspberry canes during the winter as I was always told, in the Spring I just cut them to about 2 ft and clear out the dead canes which have fruited for two years. (See Pruning raspberries in the sun.) This way I get an early harvest and a later one too.  Also picked a handful of loganberries which are well loaded with ripening berries. Have to watch out for the pigeons which have now devastated the unprotected row of blackcurrants and will be looking for something else to plunder.

Raspberries are just lovely as they are, and I'll make raspberry ice-cream for a delicious treat.

These are the ones that made it to the punnet. Quite a few more straight to my tummy!

Thursday 2 July 2015

Hot garden round-up

Hottest days since 2006 apparently! The last two days have been unbearably hot - the garden thermometer showing 31 C. The tomatoes in the greenhouse have been wilting despite watering twice a day. African violets on the window-sills in the house have got scorched with the sun. I've been out with the hose in the evening to keep the vegetables and salads going and the fruit trees. The apple trees are loaded with small fruit and are at risk if they don't get enough water. I think the last serious rain was two weeks ago and the ground is pretty dry.

Despite the dry weather the broad beans are doing well. We usually have a couple of meals from the top shoots, but this year, after one meal of  bean tops last week, and my advice in my blog post, the black fly have got in there probably boosted by the hot sunshine. Nasty little things and not worth bothering to clean the shoots. Don't think I'd enjoy them wondering if I was going to bite into a bunch of crunchy aphids (although I always say you can't be an organic gardener and a vegetarian!). The blackflies suck the goodness from the plant, especially the small developing beans, so I've given them a good spray with dilute washing-up liquid. They certainly squirmed a bit so hopefully there will be less today.

The French beans have been eaten by something - rabbits, pheasants? but the Runner beans are doing well with plenty of bright red flowers. The lettuces and rainbow chard are still going strong.

The marrows and courgettes and squashes are all doing well now after a shaky start. One of the bought-in courgette plants is producing lots of yellow courgettes so looking forward to tasting them when they are big enough.

We've had to abandon the redcurrants this year - the pigeons have been eating them green. So we've netted one row of blackcurrants and the pigeons have moved on the the second row of blackcurrants. Yesterday 12 pigeons flew up as I walked up the path. The gooseberries are great. We had a gooseberry meringue pie at the weekend and looking forward to gooseberry fool / pie / ice-cream......