Sunday, 11 December 2016

Jerusalem Artichokes

Today I dug up about half the Jerusalem artichokes,  some are huge and there are several pounds worth. Nice for a winter soup.  Easy to grow,  even in damp clay,  the only problem with them is they are thuggish and move to grow where they want to,  not necessarily where you want them.  I have already moved some to a new part of the plot,  so the rest have to come up.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Last big crop of the year

Today I picked the Spartan apples which was a decent crop from a young tree.  The last of the tomatoes  are off and the plants are now in the compost heap.  The pumpkins had a poor year due to very low summer temperatures but they did produce two fruits.  The autumn raspberries are still going strong,  there will be more if the weather stays as good as it is right now.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Autumn Doings 2016

As the season nears its end, there is still lots to do.  These cornflowers are coming to a close but still pretty.

The autumn raspberries have been magnificent, providing lots of fruit each week.
While the apple crop is poorer than normal due to the temperatures at pollination, the late summer increase in temperatures has encouraged the marrows and we have a heavy crop, more to come.

So thoughts turn to next year and this corner of the plot is top of the list.  This corner and the left side used to have raspberries, very old plants that I inherited.  They didn't produce much but I left them there for several years, until a shed was erected next door which took most of the light from this end of the plot.  Over 2-3 years a lot of the raspberries died, others grew away, towards the light and nettles took over.
So the only thing that can be done is to make the shaded area a compost/manure area.  This means digging up all the raspberries by hand.  Hard work, but as raspberries root themselves fairly near the surface they can be removed with time.

The plan is to move these artichokes up to the top corner, where the shade will not affect them too much as they will quickly grow above the wall and fence.  We will also remodel this whole area, making two beds with a grass path in between into one larger bed.  We will then move the two enclose beds you can see here down the slope, relaying the path behind at the same time.  The path was laid when the apple trees were small, it has slipped downhill a bit and is too close to the trees. 

Phase 1 is now complete, all the raspberries have been removed (the ones on the left are next door!) and you can see one remaining pile of stalks and roots in the centre of the picture.  All the compost bins have been moved to their final positions.  The two small ones at the top are standing above the water pipe  which enters at this point - not a good idea to grow plants over that!  The corner has been composted ready for the artichokes, so phase 2 is now the remodelling of the bed edges - the slabs on the left mark the edge of the old bed and these need to be moved as there is no light here, so we will make a new, broad path along the edge in front of the compost bins.  Lots still to do but good progress made.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Everlasting Flower

Does exactly what its name suggests,  lasts for ages in a vase.  Love these flowers.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Picking Peas in August

 This year's topsy-turvy weather has brought a first - picking peas in August.  Normally they would be finished by now, but surprisingly this year we picked the first courgettes before the peas.  They are still flowering so we will have more, but the crop will be nowhere as good as normal.
 Conversely, the outdoor tomatoes have done well, with lots of fruits maturing.  These are Totem, a reliable bush variety.
 An experiment for this year was this heritage variety - snowberry.  Small fruits on a cordon bush, which ripen to yellow, not red.  We have a few trusses maturing, they are very tasty.
 The garlic has been poor, but it did go in late. Usable but not as good as I would have liked.
While I was digging up some potatoes in a particularly weedy patch, I saw a flash of orange which turned out to be the belly of this newt.  It's been years since I've seen one, and he must have been hunting slugs among the potatoes. I released him nearby to carry on his good work!