Sunday, 8 June 2008

Still catching up ! 08.06.08

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, my weekly guide to growing your own veg.

Gardening continues at a pace, and plenty to share with you this week.

The week has seen a couple of the crops start to harvest, the haul including Broad Beans and yet more Rhubarb.

The Broad Beans are slowly starting to succumb to the dreaded blackfly, it seems there is no way to avoid the pests. At least this year we're managing to take a crop, rather than binning the whole lot. I've been gently cutting back and destroying the most infected shoots, and regular nightly watering will now ; hopefully, let the plants put all their energies into crop production. The taste of these beauties is truly outstanding, but also truly yummy. Stealing a phrase from young Oliver - they are delish!

Rhubarb - amazing stuff. It seems no matter how quick you break the stems off, they just regrow with yet more vigour. Secret squirrel yet again amazed me with a delish Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble, topped with a tin of Tesco's finest "Value" custard - scrummmmmeeeeee.

Elsewhere on the plot:
My biggest reward this year on the plot has so far been my onion plot.
With trepidation I planted out my onion sets ( Stuttgarter Giant & Red Karmen ) when i hoped it was the right time. Along with these i planted my Leeks, and just for a bit of an experiment - I also grew some Bedfordshire Champion onions from seed; which with a bit of advice on propagation from "Steve" seem to be doing blooming well.
Don't know why i never grew onions before? I know they are not much to look at, take up time in the ground etc., but their astounding growth rate seemingly makes up for all the negatives I can think of.
So go on, give em a try.
Looking forward to Red Onion soup !

Regular readers (no pun intended ! ) at Reads Retreat, will know i planted my Garlic Fokyhama bulbs about a month before Christmas.
Well; as if the onions weren't enough to gloat about, take a look at these beauties. I tell you, some of the stems at ground level must be over an inch thick.
Therefore, I'm hoping for some mammoth and succulent bulbs sometime soon, to grace our menu's at home.
I've just given these a feed of my homebrew ( nettle tea) as the leaf tops are starting to go yellow. I want to promote the greenness as long as possible before harvest, to get the best growth i can.
All i need do now, is work out when to harvest them !

Last summer I grew my runner beans on a conventional cane system. I got a great yield and overall was very happy. Except..... access. I really struggled to get to the beans and as a result, several tasty pods went to seed. That wasn't too bad though, I shifted some 300 seeds on ebay!
This year though, I thought i would try my luck growing the plants up wigwams, in the hope i will get the same good crops - but find it easier to get to the pods for picking. Time of course, will tell, so you'll have to watch this space to see how i get on.
This year im also growing climbing french beans (v. Blue Lake) and I'll keep you posted on how well they do.

There's a little sun trap on the corner of our patio, which has now become an extension of the plot.
I've got 2 courgette plants in this little tub, and I'm hopeful they will do well here.
One was a "plant by post" from Secret Squirrel, whilst the other was a gift from Mum - thanks mum.
Cant wait to see how these do, as already they are sporting good growth and are budding up nicely.

This is my potted up tomato (v. Tomazing ) that secret squirrel got for me.
It's doing ok and is now being fed on a regular basis with liquid fertilizer. The flower heads are starting to form, and almost daily i am pinching out side shoots.
I've got my gardeners delight toms in the raised beds, and despite the best efforts of the local slimey population, they too are growing on well.

Thats about it for now on the gardening front. Hope to get another update to you all soon.

Take care all and enjoy your gardens. Don't forget to let me know how you are getting on with your gardens ?


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