Sunday, 31 August 2008

Post-Olympics Gardening

It's a long time since my last post and I could say I haven't done much gardening because of the weather, but in truth I have spent a lot of time glued to the TV, watching the olympics. Between that and the necessity of working to earn a living, there hasn't been much time for the garden.

Well, it's the last day of August now and the "summer", such as it was, is feeling over now. While it wasn't as bad as last year, we have had a lot of rain and the consequences have been the loss of lettuces, herbs, parsnips, flowers and even some leeks to slugs. But the frogs and toads have had a great year - I've seen a couple of adult toads and one juvenile, plus yesterday I saw lots of baby froglets hopping around on my vegetable plot - I hope they will grow up to eat lots of pesky critters for me. Let's hope September is drier and sunnier - the flowers, tomatoes and pumpkins certainly need it.

Still, I have managed to harvest some herbs - I'm completely self-sufficient in mint, sage, and rosemary. No thyme this year as one bush died and the other needed serious pruning. Here is a picture of bunches of sage and mint drying on my curtain rail. These will last me to next summer.

Last week I planted out all the leeks, there were more than 100 so it took a couple of hours. I have lost a few small ones to the slugs since then, but with all the rain the bulk of them are doing well. I'm determined to get ahead for next year's season, so now I'm concentrating on weeding and tidying - got the strawberry bed straight and rediscovered paving under the grass. I'm hoping to get the summer pruning done if we get a few dry days in a row ... if! Then it's on to the flower beds and round the house.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Rain and more rain

Since my last post I have hardly got outside the door, due to the frequent and heavy rain here.  I have managed to pick some peas and beans, and harvested the first beetroots - I took a few out to leave more room for others.  Some weeding was accomplished, but it was disappointing to find some of the parsnips had died, presumably due to the excessive wet.

The strawberries have now finished, with over 13 pounds of fruit, which is a record.  I moved the plants last year, added a few new ones this spring and it seems to have paid off.  The cabbages, sprouts and broccoli are all growing well, and the first runner beans have set, so things are going well in the vegetable garden.

I have a backlog of pruning, weeding and tidying jobs to do, hopefully the rain will diminish this weekend and the weather will improve.  

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Harvest Time

At this time of the year the vegetable harvest is in full swing, so other work tends to take a back seat.  There's only one job physically harder than planting potatoes, and that's digging them up again.  As I type, the dull ache of well-used back muscles reminds me of this fact.

The second early potatoes produced a good crop, though with some slug and wireworm damage.  It looks like some slugs laid their eggs in the top row of potatoes, so there were lots of little holes in some potatoes.  Recent rainy weather washing away slug pellets (environmentally friendly ones) also resulted in the loss of a few small lettuces and flowers.  Still, the courgettes and pumpkins are coming on well.  All the tomatoes have been flowering this week, so that's good news.

While the first crop of broad beans is now done, the peas are in full swing and will be for another week or so.  Lots of weeding to do now, including reclaiming some "lost" ground where a full digging out is required.  The only big job left is to plant the leeks in the ground formerly occupied by potatoes - I think I'll leave that a week, or my back really will be protesting!