Monday, 30 August 2010

Whatever happened to the plum tree?

Returning visitors may remember that back in October 2009 I bought a plum tree which I planned to grow in a large tub. I was planning on training it as a fan, but my new small garden couldn't accommodate that, so I ended up just pruning it back in May to keep it within the space available.

Although it survived the house move in tact, throughout the season it began to look more and more poorly. I wasn't expecting many fruit as it's a young tree, but the leaves began showing signs of stress, browning badly at the edges, and of the 5 or 6 fruit which did set, all but 2 fell off. I couldn't find any insects or bugs and it wasn't the dreaded silver leaf disease. I have come to the conclusion that, despite being in the shade for much of the day, I wasn't watering it sufficiently. Something for me to bear in mind next year.

Be that as it may, the remaining two plums have ripened up well and are ready to harvest. According to The Met, it's supposed to be sunny for the next 2 days so I am going to leave them for a couple more days before I pick and eat them. Looking forward to that.

Am still harvesting (and freezing) lots of runner beans although the dwarf French beans seemed to have given up the ghost. Still lots of Swiss Chard and the tomatoes are beginning to turn by one. Lots of mini pumpkins too but still only one marrow :( and a couple of my cabbages have been mercilessly attacked by something despite my other half having religiously inspected them every day and picked off cabbage white eggs, caterpillars and little snails.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

More tales from the shade

I planted two pots' worth of parsley right outside my kitchen door in the main garden bed. It's one of the shadiest parts of the garden and it only gets sun for an hour a day... possibly less. One of the pots I had bought earlier in the year from the supermarket: the type you're supposed to keep on an indoor windowsill. The other was a small pot in which I sowed some parsley seed back in early May.

By June Both were looking a bit tired so I just transplanted them to the only spare bit of open ground I had left. After 2-3 weeks they had both perked up and I have been harvesting lots of fresh parsley ever since. As you can see from the picture, both are still going strong and I anticipate harvesting for many weeks to come.

This is possibly the best parsley I've ever grown. And all just as an experiment. I also planted a similar supermarket basil plant in the same position which has survived and better still, sowed some coriander seeds (just out of view) a few weeks ago which have germinated and whch I should be able to start picking soon.

Another 10 out of 10 for my shady plot.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Bumper crops

At long last I have gluts of some veggies which is great considering how small my patch is. I've already given away some brocolli, baby pumpkin, chard and green beans to my sister-in-law (Vivienne) and still I have enough beans to start freezing them for winter use as well as eating them fresh. I'm going to have a go at freezing some chard too as there's so much of it.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Whatever happened to that Rhubarb plant?

I bought a rhubarb plant back in the autumn of 2009 which I wanted to grow in a large 30cm/12" pot. In one of the earlier posts this year (1st March), I wrote that it was beginning to show signs of life with a lovely fat bud just beginning to poke through the soil.

I'm not sure whether the house move in April had anything to do with it, but it didn't seem to be doing very well for quite some time. I had already decided that I wouldn't get to harvest anything this year however over the last 3 weeks it's gone berserk, so I've decided to cut, or rather I should say "pull" 3 luscious stems - you're not supposed to cut the stems but pull or twist them off. Also it's recommended to leave at least 2 stems on each plant when harvesting to ensure the crown can build up for next year's harvest.

I would also mention that the pot isn't in full sun as is recommended by many gardening literature. In fact, in my semi-shady garden, it probably only gets sun for a maximum 2-3 hours a day.

Believe it or not, just these 3 stems weigh 350g/12oz which is more than enough to make a rhubarb crumble to serve 2 people, so guess what we'll be having for dessert tonight.

WARNING -I know the leaves look fantastic, but they are poisonous and should NEVER be eaten.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A harvesting mistake?

In an earlier post I said I'd cut the first broccoli heads and that the plant would then shoot out more spears. I think I may have done that incorrectly.

I left one plant just as it was - no cutting at all (on the left in the picture)- just to see what happened and it would seem that there was no need for me to cut the others to bring on more spears as the one that's left is doing ok as it is and looks as though it's going to break into tenderstems by itself.

Oh well - at least I got to eat some early broccoli with the added bonus that I'll be getting more spears in the near future as can be seen from the picture on the right.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Coming soon . . .

Once again, I am over the moon at what my shady garden is allowing me to grow.

As the sunniest part only gets sun for a maximum of 3-4 hours, when I planted some cherry tomato plants I really wasn't expecting too much as these types of fruit bearing plants should really get sun for quite a few hours...or so we are led to believe.

I was beginning to think mine were very late and that the lack of sun was affecting their growth, but having checked back on when I sowed them, they are still within the 20 weeks from sowing to harvesting time and as you can see, they are well on their way to producing a reasonable crop.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the current dull weather is only temporary and that I'll get a good many more sunny days to help them ripen up properly during August.