Sunday, 21 September 2014


The cabbages are coming into their own

Believe it or not the cabbage on the right is a "white" cabbage whereas the one on the left is  the heart of green cabbage "Wheeler's Imperial"

The old onion patch was sown with green manure just a month ago and now looks like this:
and here's the proof:

This reminds me of the green water we saw last week in Bath's ancient baths:

While we were away the courgettes turned into marrows:

It must be something in the water!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

When You're Smiling...

The weather has turned and we are getting a last bite at summer. After going into shock in August some plants  are getting a welcome reprieve or a chance to ripen on the vine. 


Sungold has been a a favourite as it even succeeds in Scotland and is ultrasweet.

Sadly we have experienced some "grinning"  for a second year. The books suggest that such skin splitting is due to temperature variations.  And while recent days have been sunny night temperatures have been low.

The only other variety I have grown this year was sold as San Marzano -  I've recently concluded that I was sold a pup. These are not plum tomatoes by any stretch of the imagination. They're not bad, some are ripening now, as you can see, so soon we will see what sort of sauce they make. Some of them have split too.

Others plants benefiting from the respite

Sunflower "Little Dorrit"

Fig Leaf Melon
The warm spell has come too late for the cucumbers...

..but it is tailor made for Autumn Raspberry Joan J.

 Here's some other random pictures.

Our local mob of tree sparrows got a nasty shock the other day when this visitor turned up

 I've had some queries recently about my brick beds. Well they're still going. Here's the late sown salads.

Another subject that I haven't mentioned in a while is baking. Here's a Boston Cake - 7 Cinnamon Buns baked together. A surefire winner.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Beanage - Vivre le Difference?

I'm growing beans in Scotland.  Here's the current state of play: Dwarf Beans...

...and here's how they looked in June:

Early June

This picture shows my climbing beans (with the dwarf beans in the foreground)

and here's another angle. One end is not doing as well as the other. That's the French bean end which is so sparse. The healthy looking end is our stalwart runner beans Painted Lady.  These can be traced back to 1633 when they were imported from the Americas. The flowers are both red and white which purportedly give it the British name "York and Lancaster", being the opposing houses in the War of the Roses.  The only problem with this nomenclature is that the War of the Roses ended in  1488,  one hundred and forty five years earlier.  All the same they are the most resilient, reliable beans you can grow.   By contrast climbing French beans Blue Lake  and Cobra have not reacted well to the Caledonian climate.  Growth has been 'delicate' and pretty well static during the recent cold spell.  There have been some beans but not many, and a lot less than the runners. Their growing habit is also very erratic, wandering here and there In future I would make a point of tying each plant to its pole as they do wander. Having said that I'm not likely to repeat the experiment. On the plus side the beans we have had have been very tasty!

Another experiment has been dwarf French bean Mascotte.  These are very fine/thin, grow quickly and in abundance.  They all crop at once.  Successional sowing would be a good idea. And yes, with that proviso, I would grow these again.

Next to them is another stalwart: drying bean Canadian Wonder: I've arranges string to provide a bit more support as despite the close spacing (see below) some plants were flopping over. I hope that will do the trick.
Canadian Wonder now

Canadian Wonder in June

All in all it has been an interesting bean year.  The stalwarts have done better than the experiments.