thesticks

recently harvested straight carrots with soil

Not much activity in the garden this week with all the wind and rain. Mould is claiming more aubergine victims in the greenhouse although some still doing OK and harvested a couple. Butterbush squashes almost drowned in the rain - again, one half eaten by enourmous slug. In desparation resorted to pellets. Must get something more organic for next time. On positive side the brassicas I planted last week all look good and I harvested my first ever straight carrots. Tasty too. And tomatoes finally turning red outdoors and in greenhouse.

Tomatoes growing in containers

Harvested the last broad beans and cleared the bed. Brassicas planted yesterday survived the overnight storm but Gardeners Delight tomato plants, outdoors in containers, didn't fare so well. One has suffered a broken branch. It is heavily laden with green tomatoes but is now barely connected to the main stem. Left to see if it survives. If not I'll use the green tomatoes, maybe another pot of tomato marmalade as made today with last weeks plant collapse.

Recipe: 180g green cherry tomatoes, halved; thumb of root ginger peeled and chopped; coarsely grated rind one large lemon; juice from the lemon; 180g preserving sugar. Put tomatoes, lemon rind and ginger in pan and heat until tomatoes soft (add couple of spoons of lemon juice if necessary to prevent tomatoes sticking to pan); when tomatoes soft add remaining lemon juice and heat until boiling; gradually stir in the sugar until it has all dissolved; boil for further 10-15 minutes in meantime sterilise and heat storage jar; pour into storage jar and allow to cool and set.

Low level cloche

Brassica plants arrived. Set up the cloche for the new bed - 10 x 33cm rebar posts stapled to the wooden bed edging and 5 x 2.15m lengths of blue polyethylene piping. Planted forty plants (10 x cabbage, 10 x cauliflower, 10 x curly kale and 10 x broccoli) spaced as per the advice. Six of the broccoli needed to go into a 2nd bed. Then discovered insect mesh was too narrow (we had cut off strip to act as carrot-fly barrier earlier in the year) so adjusted the design. Instead of hoops, we constructed a flatter, lower structure by connecting the piping at a diagonal (as in picture). This will do while plants get established but also ordered more mesh for when plants are bigger. Fed greenhouse plants a day later than usual as I missed regular weekly feed yesterday (feeding Friday). 

More red tomatoes; some aubergines eaten by slugs or snails. If it's not the mould its the molluscs! Caught a slug eating half grown butternut squash. 

Delikates patty pan squash on plant

No more mouldy aubergines and several fruits developing well. Still only one or two ripe tomatoes a day and they are picked and eaten straight from the vine. More patty pan squash than we can eat and many butternut fruits now setting. Finished digging up the early potatoes and carrots, although no longer early. First batch of French beans almost ready to start harvesting. Early flowers on runner beans didn't produce much fruit but more of later flowers setting. Lack of pollination due to bad weather earlier? Onions and garlic have dried, so now need to string them up. Cabbages hearting up nicely but I missed a crop of broccoli spears which have started to flower.

Cucamelons on vine

Finished the modifications to the first compost bay and spent a couple of hours shredding material. Also finished the new bed, digging in the horse manure that was added last week. Winter brassica plants should be arriving this coming weekend. More tomatoes turning red and plenty of hot chillis and sweet peppers. Still removing aubergines showing signs of mould. Greenhouse much drier now so hoping I'm over the worst. Picked and ate a couple more cucamelons. They aren't fruiting very well. I followed advice I saw on a video and grew them through my tomato vines but now I realise they are too shaded and not getting enough sun.

Snail

Collected the shredder yesterday. Modified first compost bay with corrugated sheeting and wire mesh. Now ready to divide it into two sections once we have the materials. Tried the shredder. After a little adjustment it seems to do the job. Now afraid the money maker aubergines have a soft spot fungal problem. More have rotted. Almost certainly made worse by the conditions. Warm and damp. Not much I can do now. I stopped misting them but now the bugs are starting to multiple. On bright side, first red tomato - I ate it, delicious; and first strawberries, so much better than any from a supermarket - so delicious. Snails still trying to get into the brassicas.