What happened to last week? I’m sure the weeks are flying past quicker than I can count at the moment! Anyhow, welcome to my Six on Saturday.
First we have the allotment Cucamelon plant.
My ‘gardening assistant’ (dad) had told me there weren’t any Cucamelons growing yet… I think he must have missed all of these!
On to the strawberries in three different raised beds now, and first we have the top raised bed which has a few of my original Strawberry Something-or-other (there’s two or three left after the majority died), plus this year’s additions of Sweet Collossus, Florence and Beltran.
Moving on to the third raised bed, the Snow White plants are looking really healthy (and sending out runners)…
Just Add Cream shares this raised bed, and I’m going to have to sort out these runners, otherwise I’ll get in a muddle with which plant is which!
Moving on to the second raised bed, and Strawberry Something-or-other really isn’t happy – using the square foot gardening idea, I had 36 plants in here last year, and now I have about 5 or 6 plants…
Runner Beans tend to work really well on our allotment, providing we net the base to stop the Roe Deer nibbling the young plants. The bean plants don’t seem quite so leafy this year though, but maybe that’ll be a positive, as it should mean they aren’t heavy enough to bring the bamboo supports down!
Moving on to Raspberry Jungle, I did some thorough weeding in here this week. The grass might not have grown with all the blazing hot sunshine we’ve had, but the bindweed is proving to be even more of a pain than usual.
Wondering why I call it Raspberry Jungle? This is the “weeding view” of the raspberry patch…
They’re Autumn raspberries, but they grow semi-wild across part of the allotment site, so I’ve no idea what variety they are.
Something a little less wild-looking is my mini celery patch. It seems to have taken a little while to get going (I bought the plug-sized plants from Homebase earlier in the year), but hopefully now we’ve had some less-hot weather, they’ll grow quicker!
And if my Mum is reading this, yes I will try and get a better (straighter) edge to this bit before the grass grows too much!
And finally the blackberries have finished, but it proved that our new blackberry support was worth making – we had loads more fruit than in all the previous years combined!
I just need to check when to prune the branches back, and also get the new growth tied into the supports ready for next year!
Ok, I will admit this is kind of bending the Six on Saturday rules – rather than 6 things in the garden at the moment, I’ve gone for 6 stages of cucamelons seeing as it’s the first year I’ve tried growing them.
Unknown to us, the seedlings will go through periods of growth, then stop for a while.
Frustrated with the lack of growth from the seedlings, we decided to ‘cheat’ and buy a Cucamelon plant.
The ‘cheating Cucamelon’ was split – one plant from the pot went down to the allotment, and the other was put in a pot in the garden. The 6′ canes seemed excessive given the size of the plant initially, but it’s now taller than the canes!
A relative offered to tie the cucamelon to the canes, but with these long tendrils there’s no real need – I nudged the stem towards the cane and it just seemed to latch on easily.
We have flowers!
(followed by a “quick take a picture before they fall off” comment from a sceptical friend!)
….and quite a few cucamelons forming now as well! They’re not big enough to harvest yet, but it’ll be interesting to see what they’re like.
And of course now the ‘cheating Cucamelon’ is getting on so well, the seedling is growing strongly (although it’s got a long way to go before it reached the height of the ‘cheating Cucamelon’. This one will be put into a larger pot this week hopefully.(it had actually wrapped itself around the watering can…. that’ll teach me to not get the plant supports sorted out!)
Now the extra-hot weather has died down a little, it’s back to the allotment again for my Six on Saturday!
I don’t know if it’s just down to the weather, or that we’ve got the blackberry on a support this year so it’s not trailing the ground…. but whatever the reason, we have loads of fruit this year!
And so far, it looks like the deer have left it alone, so there’s no need to net it 🙂
This is the first year I’ve tried growing cucamelons – the seeds germinated, but seemed to stop growing so we invested in a plant from the garden centre….
We split that plant into two, so one piece is on the allotment and the other is in a pot in the garden. In the end, the seed-grown plants started growing again too (apparently that’s normal for them to pause growth if they’ve not got quite the right temperature or moisture).
One of the plants grown from seed has died, but we still have one seed-grown plant left too,so that will be heading to the allotment tomorrow to join this one!
I don’t know what happened with my “original” strawberry plants this year – I started out with about 40 plants across two raised beds….
….and now have about 10 left as the others have all died off. These were runners saved from previous years, so I wouldn’t have thought they would be ‘tired’ and in need of replacing just yet.
In contrast, my “fancy strawberry bed” is proving more successful – Just Add Cream (which is meant to produce more fruit and less runners) is sending out runners, and Snow White has runners which have already rooted! I’m hoping this will bode well for next summer!
The gooseberry bush is a great success this year – whatever ate the berries from it last year seems to have left it alone, as we’ve had plenty to pick.
Onto the peas and beans, and I think the peas have definitely gone over now….
….we did get plenty of peas from them though, so compared to other years I’d class that as a definite success!
The runner beans have taken off like rockets – I think I need to take a stool with me to the allotment next, to reach the tops of the canes in order to nip the growing tips off!
And to finish, how about a mini game of “spot the creature in the compost bin”? This Slow Worm was pretending to be a stick, so I’ve added in an arrow to make it easier to spot!
They seem to like that particular compost bin – I’ve never spotted one in either of ourother bins.
Back to the allotment this week for my Six on Saturday, with some successes and some utter failures!
First up is a semi-success – I replanted a lot of my original strawberry plants, and unfortunately most haven’t survived. However, the new strawberry plants seem to be making up for it (Sweet Collossus and Just Add Cream have several runners).
If only I could stop whatever’s eating a hole in the net getting in and pinching the strawberries before I can pick them!
Next we have an annual semi-disaster, which resolves itself by the time these autumn fruiting raspberries are meant to bear fruit…
Yes, that’s raspberry beetle grubs yet again
But looking at the raspberry jungle, I’m hopeful that once we get past summer fruiting season, the autumn fruits will be grub-free!
Remember that mystery plant in my wild flower patch? I’m taking an educated guess that it’s some form of thistle!
The celery’s been planted out, and looks like it’ll grow well – maybe it’s a bit hot for that to grow too much this week
A complete disaster next, the Broad Beans had blackfly (Black Bean Aphid), Pea and Bean Weevil, Rust and Chocolate Spot… but that did give me a chance to write a blog post on it
And to finish on a success, this is just part of the blackberry bush.
I think I can safely say it approves of the support we made for it this year, as there’s shed loads of fruit forming!
We’ve grown Broad Beans on the allotment every year – I plant some seeds directly on the allotment in late October / early November, and the rest are sown in pots at home in late February, ready to be planted out in the spring.
Generally speaking, the second batch of beans gets caught with Black Bean Aphid (blackfly), whereas my first crop are fine. This year however, was a bit of a disaster…
According to my vegetable books, Broad Beans can suffer from four main problems:
Black Bean Aphid which suck the sap from the plant. Ants then gather to feed on the sugary residue, and also eat the larva of ladybirds, so there’s less predators for the aphids.
Broad Bean Rust certainly lives up to its name – there’s no mistaking this on the plant! This is caused by fungus, and apparently isn’t as damaging as chocolate spot, but can cause the plant to be left with no leaves. Leaving more space between plants is said to reduce the chance of rust by increasing the airflow, as is avoiding damp and humid sites. These broad beans are on an exposed north / northeast facing sloping site so I’m surprised they were so badly affected. However, the spores can survive over winter, so this could easily be the result of a previous year’s damp weather.
Finally, we have Chocolate Spot, which is also caused by a fungus, but this is worse in cool damp conditions.
Chocolate Spot not only can overwinter in the soil if infected plant matter was left to rot, but can also lurk in seeds – another good reason to not save seed from any plants which might have been affected!
Overall we have four out of four, and indeed a couple of plants have all four problems themselves. By the time the plants are at this stage, there’s no real hope for them, so today we’ll be pulling up all the affected plants and binning them. We have picked some broad beans from the decent plants, but Mum described them as “small” and “stunted” so I need to look closely at every plant and check if it has a problem or not, before deciding if it’s allowed to stay!
After clearing those Broad Beans, I’ll feed the ground to ensure there’s plenty of nutrients, and sow the Florence Fennel seeds I bought earlier in the year.
Next year we’ll take a break from growing Broad Beans so I’ll be browsing through the seed catalogues to try and pick something more suitable to grow.
Something a bit different for my Six on Saturday this week – we took a wander through a local Church’s ‘quiet garden’, so here’s six we spotted there (or at least there and on the walk back home!).
First up we have some sort of Iris…. I really wish they had some plant labels on these!
Next up is a Rosa Glauca (thanks Mum for identifying that one!), which I wouldn’t have recognised as a rose at all….
One plant I can definitely identify is this Oriental Poppy, which was surprisingly hard to get a photo with accurate colours – the strong sunlight made it a bit bright for the camera!
Daisy something-or-other (yes that is the technical name, honest!)… and can anyone identify the insect sitting on it?
Ok, this one is cheating slightly as it was in an unofficial ‘wildflower area’ (in reality, the only wild flower in a grassy area the council haven’t bothered mowing). According to my Mum’s wildflower book, this is Fox and Cubs which is a pretty odd name, but quite a nice looking plant!
And another ‘cheat’ to finish – on the walk back from the garden, we went the scenic route and came across a lot of flying insects on the wildflowers in the grass verge.
I haven’t a clue what plant this is, other than it being an umbellifer (the flowers / stems look like an upside-down umbrella)…
The weather doesn’t seem to be able to decide if it’s going to be warm & sunny, or fresher and drizzle, but so far today it looks sunny – let’s hope it stays that way! Welcome to my Six on Saturday!
First up, one of my “unknown” plants on the allotment. Several years ago I scattered wild flower seed (labelled “British Wildflower Mix”) in this patch, and this year we have this plant growing…. it’s quite tall, but shorter than the Teasel.
Some of the second early potatoes are in flower – the first earlies are growing quite well considering their lack of chitting progress, but I have a feeling some of the second earlies might be ready first!
Moving on to the herb patch, the sage is flowering away – I was considering cutting the flowers off, but after seeing just how many bees were collecting pollen, the flowers have had a reprieve!
Just Add Cream is next – while those strawberries look small (in fact they’re smaller than the ones from my original plants), they’re said to be particularly tasty…. just need to wait a day or two for these to be ready & we’ll find out!
We’ve never had a particular success with growing peas before, but this year I planted some in a partly shaded area of the plot…
…I think we can safely say the peas approved of the partial shade!
An unusual photo to finish, but a classic one from an afternoon on the plot.
One bag of rubbish ready to carry home…. if only the wheelbarrow wasn’t currently out of action, it would be a lot easier to get it back home!
Where did May go?! The start of meteorological Summer and it’s grey & dreary out there…. I guess that’s about right for a British Summer’s day though. Welcome to my Floral Six on Saturday!
Another Morrison’s supermarket bargain buy, this Bromeliad was past its ‘sell-by’ date, but still has plenty of flowers to come by the looks of it.
I’ve bought lots of cacti over the years, most of which were sold as a Christmas Cactus. But looking at the leaves of most of my plants, and checking the RHS site and Wikipedia, it looks like these are actually Easter cacti (Hatiora gaertneri – although the cactus book I have lists it as Rhipsalidopsis) – the one solitary plant I have with pointy leaves and a different shaped flower (not currently in flower) is a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera Truncata).
Moving out into a relative’s garden, the roses are looking great despite the heavy rain we had this week – the bees certainly are appreciating the pollen.
And while the insects are having fun on the plants, the local Blue Tits are having a lovely time eating the insects!
While I was taking photos, the relative looked over my shoulder and pointed out her favourite view in the garden, saying “I like the colours”. So here’s the “purpley pinky plant” with another rose in the background!
And last but by no means least, we have the resident Mole, who is currently looking after a trough of pansies. We did think maybe they were planted a little deep to be able to see (as the trough is raised up quite a bit), but they’ve grown tall enough to let them look over the sides.
While everyone else seems to be watching the build up to the Royal Wedding, I’m planning what’s heading onto the allotment next, trying to work out a way of ‘bulking up’ the soil in a raised bed (the multi purpose compost I put in is just like dust!) and hoping that the runner beans will get on and grow faster! Welcome to my Six on Saturday!
We finally got the new blackcurrant in the ground – I treated it to a lot of homemade compost, so hopefully it’ll be more successful than the failed redcurrants were!
And here’s the original blackcurrant, in the hope the new one will thrive in the same way.
And speaking of fruit, the gooseberries are looking really good. Anyone know an idiot’s guide(!) of when they’d be ready to pick if they’re going to be cooked rather than eaten raw?
no idea what variety this one is, as it was a gift from a fellow allotmenteer!
The lemon thyme & oregano have been let loose in the flower section (mainly because my original herb section is now shaded by a neighbour’s shed)….
….but the rosemary seemed to like the shaded part of the garden, so that’s gone into the shady herb section in the hope it’ll approve.
….all I need is parsley, and I’ll be growing parsley sage, rosemary and thyme (and I bet you’re all humming Scarborough Fair now!)
Thanks to Granny’s Garden for the tips on how to resolve my dead-looking penstemon after the snow in early spring – it obviously approved of its severe ‘haircut’ as it’s growing new leaves like crazy.
And you couldn’t have a Six on Saturday without the customary strawberry flower photo….
Some of the new plants were flagging a little, so I think the soil in that raised bed is a little too free-draining compared to the others. These are in a different brand of multi-purpose compost (with some homemade compost, topsoil and grit sand mixed in as well), and we’re a bit more sorted with just how much water they need.
It’s a strange combination for my Six on Saturday this week – a mixture of harvest, flowers, tiny seedlings and a giant unknown “something-or-other”!
First up, cabbages! A relative assured us they were ready for picking….
but before you look at that photo and think “cor, that cabbage is huge!” that’s actually three together….
that is one single cabbage!
Next up is another mystery plant / weed…. I scattered wild flower seeds in this patch a few years ago, and that’s how we got the Teasel. But what on earth is the large bushy “thing” to the right of it?!
Despite our lack of confidence in these seeds germinating, the Cucamelons are starting to peek through the soil…. maybe it’s not warm enough for them to be growing quickly (they’re in an unheated plastic covered grow house thing), so I might bring one into a heated area just to see what happens….
The mint is taking over the universe…. well, the plot at least.
All this is mint that I dug out from the flower patch (I haven’t tackled the herb patch yet) – I think I need to replace the pots it was growing in, as it’s obviously managed to break through them!
My potato plants have browned on the ends – is this down to a lack of water, do you think?
And finally, strawberries!
We came across these at Homebase – the Snow White ones look really healthy & much more established than bare root runners I bought last autumn, so I decided to take the plunge to replace some of the ones that didn’t survive.
Most of those are now in my new plastic raised bed (Snow White is in a different raised bed, along with my other ‘unusual’ strawberries), complete with a new framework & net to keep the deer off the berries. And of course a rogue chive plant which I obviously missed when I moved it to a different raised bed a couple of months ago.
And the Just Add Cream are flowering like crazy, so I’m hopeful for a decent crop of strawberries from them!