Thursday, 4 June 2009

Flowers and Fruit

It's amazing how quickly things grow at this time of year, even in one day.  There has been lots of progress since my last post on my vegetable garden, so here's a run down.  Above are some sage flowers - I have two herb beds and planted a row of sage last year.  I rather like the flowers, and have cut some off and put them in a vase.  Some I left, for the bees.
In the herb bed next door are these chives, you can see marjoram and fennel in the background.  I'm trying to grow a big clump of chives as you can use them instead of onions if they get big enough.
This is rocket, which was a salad plant until very recently.  I really like the cruciform shape of these flowers and have added them to the flower vase.  Some I left to make seed for next year - I'm a thrifty gardener and like to grow my own seed where possible.  The parsnip seed I grew last year has now germinated well, which is pleasing.
The broad beans are in full flower now, and the peas have just started.  Am looking forward to eating the first beans, which are now setting.
My plum tree is now covered in small green oval thingies - the first time it has flowered and set a good crop.  On the apple front, the other tree which has struggled to flower but did so this year does not seem to have set any fruit - a real disappointment.  I suspected a pollination problem so consulted my fruit book (Growing Fruit by Harry Baker, published by the Royal Horticultural Society and recommended for all UK fruit growers).  I was right - Blenheim Orange is a poor pollinator and needs two other fruit trees as companions.  I have two, but one of them is not compatible.  I did have another tree but it got canker a couple of years ago so I had to dig it up - this was a companion pollinator, but I forgot why I had bought it.  So this winter I will have to get another apple tree to ensure pollination next year.  Apple trees can be tricky.  Anyway, there are lots of apples on the other two trees, so all is not lost.

Many raspberries and strawberries are now set, the rhubarb is still going strong and there are faint tinges of red already on the redcurrants, so there is plenty to come.
Today I got back to a job I started a couple of months ago - building a path.  I had to abandon it for a while due to a water main leak a few metres away, which turned the ground into a bog.  So, the soil having dried and the planting all done, it was back to the bicep-building work.  It's about half done now, a patchwork quilt of bricks from my neighbour's house.  I make it a point of principle never to pay for any paving materials, but just scavenge where I can.  I really don't do it properly, no spirit level for me, just make the ground roughly level and plonk things down - life's too short to be a professional builder as well as everything else.  The plants on the left are courgettes, which are growing well now.

Today we picked lots (and lots) of lettuce, plus some spinach.  I am keeping a record of pickings and working out retail prices of our crops, so for May the value was £29.00 which is pretty good for a fairly quiet month in vegetable terms.  June will be a lot higher.

The wild rose on my plot has opened its first flowers, it has a weeping willow kind of shape and is really pretty when all the flowers are on it.
This is pink hawthorn which is now covering a number of the hawthorn trees nearby.
Finally, for the "ah" factor, here is a new foal I saw for the first time this afternoon.  It was hard to get a picture as his mum generally kept him away by putting herself between us and him, but eventually he got brave and came round for a look at us.
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