Sunday, 18 September 2011

Some Successful Experiments!

After the difficult year we've had with the weather and temperatures, it's nice to see some of my experiments have paid off (and survived the recent hurricane left-overs).  On the left are some of our tomatoes, bush types which we tried for the first time on the basis that they fruit earlier than cordon types, which is now essential in our shorter growing season.  I tried two varieties, a small cherry and a larger type called Totem, and I think I'll stick with Totem next year, the cherries not being quite so successful.  Despite having only two weeks of summer weather, they are ripening though I had to scour the inside of the cloche for slugs this morning!

The peppers have also done well, though the small slugs are now starting to eat them so I picked them rather than watch them disappear.  Given better weather (i.e. actual summer temperatures) they should ripen to orange.  But I'm really pleased with them and will definitely try them again next year, though I will need bigger cloches for them and for the tomatoes.

I'm particularly proud of this garlic.  In recent years our garlic crop has been diminishing as our climate has cooled, our shortened growing season doesn't allow it to mature and we can't plant in autumn in our cold, wet soil.  So I decided a change of variety was in order and chose "Picardy Wight" from Thompson and Morgan.  This variety originated in northern France and presumably has been bred on in the Isle of Wight, a well-known garlic area in the UK, given its second name.  It can apparently be planted in autumn or spring.

I haven't counted the bulbs, but this crop grew from 6 bulbs (current price £4.49 for 3) and some of the bulbs are massive.  More importantly, it has actually matured properly (started Feb).  So I recommend this variety to those in northern climes, an excellent crop with good sized cloves, the kind you'd be happy to buy in a shop.

Still to come in the garden - more apples, carrots and marrows, maybe a few beetroot?
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