Thursday, 24 August 2017

Goodbye Grass - Going Wild

So, you have a central lawn with borders all around. What are you going to do?   Create a new bed and fill it with weeds!

Here's the new bed...

...and here's the weeds:

That is to say we have devoted a portion of our garden to meadow flowers so as to encourage bees butterflies and other pollinators.

Here's the reverse view:

It has taken a while but there is now a riot of insect activity where previously we had a uniformly green lawn.

Any regrets?  None at all.

Go Wild

Monday, 21 August 2017

Can You Have Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Last years carrots were rubbish. They didn't germinate, the weeds got on top of the second sowing which was too late.  I thought of giving up on growing carrots.  Instead this year I grew 4 times as many using fresh seed, fed the soil in advance, staggering the sowing, and lifting the protective net to weed and thin. Add to these factors the early dry spell and subsequent rainfall in June, July and August.  Result:  a bumper crop of cylindrical roots coming up clean without root fly tunnelling or forking.  I think I've cracked it.   For the first time after harvesting today I am having doubts that I may have overdone things.  But then you can't have too much of a good thing!

Good Thing

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Home Improvements

The elephant garlic has dried up enough to plait the "keepers".  I am happy to report an improvement on my usual laughable attempts to do so.  This is courtesy of an internet search for instructions. (How did we manage without it?)

My ordinary garlic got the same treatment.  From the picture you would think they were  the same size!  A side by side shot reveals all:

Only the best bulbs are plaited for storage. There are plenty not so perfect bulbs to keep us going for a month or two.

Soon it will be the onions turn.  It is looking like a large crop.  Fortunately they are much easier  to string, because unlike the plaited garlic they are hanging off a string!  

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Spot The Difference

I tried growing potatoes in a sack at home for the first time this year.  Just one sack and three Winston potatoes.  All I got was 8 potatoes - but 8 big potatoes. They crop weighed in at over 3Kg and the largest potato was 686 grams (over a pound and a half).

We only needed one for a meal for two. Next year I might not leave it so long before tipping them out.  2017 is proving to be the year of the massive tattie!

How to Dig Potatoes

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Mid Season Update

Owing to the return of the rain I am indoors this afternoon.  Here's this morning's haul, featuring the first runner beans:

I have already collected in the garlic (giant and normal) which is drying off under cover. It had started to go yellow and was exhibiting signs of rust which I didn't want to spread to the onions next door or the leeks beyond.  So in the picture below only the onions remain - next to the carrot nets.

The Jerusalem artichokes are putting on a massive display at the end!  Also shooting up are the sweetcorn:

From one end to the other things are pretty green.

Brassica Patch beyond Beans

Runner Beans in production mode.
I did also pick rhubarb and broad beans today but they were too bulky to balance on the harvest table and too commonplace to be noteworthy.  An embarrassment of riches (along with the potatoes and courgettes)!

Too Much?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Pumpkin Parade - Rampant Rhubarb

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh have gone pumpkin mad! They have planted too many cucurbits by half.  Above is the view in one direction, below the other.

This bed which has about 10 different varieties supplements a host of other mixed beds in their "Edible Garden Project" in the demonstration gardens.   I reckon they've overdone things and I am also gratified to find that if anything I am ahead of the curve with my own cucurbit patch where the Kabotchas and Sharks Fin Melon are already needing to be hacked back before they succeed in their bit to take over the entire plot.

And here are two beds of rhubarb to be found at Kellie Castle in Fife .

Each row is a different variety.  My mission was to track down the infamous green variety Linneas, which I did. It was a bit of a disappointment as by this time of year there is a slight reddening of stalks. But I have found a new green champions in "Early Champagne" and "Fife Green Jam"


Early Champagne - right label?

The Holy Grail of Green Rhubarb?

Kellie Castle Gardens in the Rain